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How to Stage a House for Free: 7 Ideas That Don’t Cost a Dime

January 17, 2019
asbe/iStock

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By: Whitney Coy, Realtor.com

One of the most common mistakes sellers make is assuming they need to sink a bunch of money into home staging. Some choose the expensive route—swapping out their furniture and art at the behest of a hired professional home stager—but that’s not the only way to impress potential buyers.

“Everyone needs to stage their home to sell it efficiently,” says Laura McHolm, co-founder of NorthStar Moving. “But you do not need to spend a lot of money to stage your home.”

Want to get your house in tiptop shape without spending a dime? Follow these home staging ideas that are 100% free.

1. Depersonalize

The first step to staging your home is getting rid of personal items such as photos, albums, handmade items, trophies, and mementos—even the kids’ artwork on the fridge.

“No family pictures,” says McHolm. “A buyer wants to be able to envision living in that house. It’s not your house anymore. It’s a house that will soon be their house. So get the ‘you’ out of your house.”

Removing your personal items isn’t easy—they’re the things that make your house feel like your home, but keep in mind that it’s only temporary. Pack them up and store them safely until you can find them all spots of honor in your new place.

2. Declutter

All that stuff littering the surfaces of your home has to go.

“Most surfaces should have between three to five items on them, because clutter is distracting both in photos and in person,” says property stylist Julie Chrissis, of Chrissis & Company Interiors. “You want buyers looking at the home, not the stuff.”

This means eliminating piles of mail and magazines, collections you have on display, knickknacks, and most other items that can easily be packed away.

3. Nix the extra storage

If you’ve been living in your current home for a while, you’ve probably come up with a lot of creative ways to store all of the items you’ve accumulated. But now that you’re hoping to sell, it’s time to get rid of them. Purge!

“Eliminate any plastic storage bins, over-door storage, above-cabinet storage, and extra racks in rooms,” says Chrissis. “This is important because buyers never want to think they will outgrow a home. A seller’s job is to show them there is plenty of storage space for them to grow into.”

Since all those stored items are already packed into bins and baskets, it should be simple enough to move them to a storage facility until you’ve moved.

4. Deep clean

Even if you consider yourself a neatnik, you’re probably going to need to do a little extra work to get your house ready for buyers.

“Take a critical eye to your home. Living somewhere daily reduces the things you notice that might be a problem, like dirty walls, scuffs and scrapes, leaks, or even odors you have become accustomed to,” says Marty Basher, home organization expert at ModularClosets.com. “Also, deep clean the kitchen and bathrooms. These areas of the home are generally the most cluttered and dirty. Both of those things will turn off willing buyers.”

It might help to ask a friend or family member to come by and help you find areas that need attention. Someone who doesn’t live in your house will be better able to look at your space through the eyes of a buyer.

5. Change the furniture layout

Maybe you’ve placed your couch at an odd angle to keep the sun out of your eyes during your midday nap, or your armchair is in the middle of the room so you can better see the TV. Those things are all fine for you—but not for buyers. Now it’s time to stage the room for optimal space and flow.

“Room layouts should be set up for photos first. It’s important that the photo not be of the back of a sofa, large chair, or other piece of furniture, as this makes the room look smaller because it blocks the view of part of the room,” says Chrissis. “The same goes for open houses and showings. If buyers see a room with furniture barriers, it makes the room seem smaller.”

6. Let there be light

Now that your home is clean and uncluttered, it’s time to brighten things up so buyers can actually see it.

“You want natural light and lamps with warm light—no swirly bulbs that look like office light,” says Chrissis. “We tell most of our clients to remove valances as they typically make a room darker and, in most markets, are a little out of fashion. Lamps are important, especially in winter months when there is less sun and sunset is earlier.”

7. Reduce your furniture

If your house is filled to the brim with furniture, it’s time to move some of it out.

“After the home is thoroughly cleaned out, keep only up-to-date furniture in excellent condition, and just a couple of accent pieces in each room,” suggests broker and interior designer Tory Keith of Natick, MA.

Not only does this go hand in hand with making things look less cluttered, but less furniture will also make the rooms look bigger.

Move unneeded pieces to the basement, garage, or a storage facility until you’re ready to move.

Consider me your #1 resource for all things Real Estate! Household changing? Getting married (or divorced)? Time for a change of scenery or job relocation? Want to invest? Just send me an email or call 619-888-2117 – I can help.

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Buying a Home? 7 Unsettling Emotions You’ll Feel Before the Deal is Done

January 10, 2019

 

 

Article from: ClientDirect

Buying a home may be a financial transaction, but it’s a highly emotional one, too. And while there are highs—like the moments you know you’ve found The One or you get the keys to your new home—you may also go through periods of high anxiety or hopelessness before you close the deal.Ask any homeowner about their experiences buying a home, and you’ll hear a similar refrain: Purchasing property is utterly nerve-racking. With so many moving pieces, buying a home can feel like a high-stakes juggling act—only you don’t have time to practice.

Here are seven things only home buyers understand.

1. Online photos can be deceiving

Odds are good you’ll be spending a huge chunk of time looking at properties online, but listing photos can be misleading. Professional photographers and listing agents alike are capable of disguising flaws of all shapes and sizes. The only way to truly know what a house looks like is to see it in person.

2. Open houses are fun—until they’re not

Going to open houses gives you the opportunity to see properties without having to deal with the hassle of coordinating showings. However, it’s easy to get worn out. If you’re serious about buying a home, you’re attending open houses every weekend—which can get quite cumbersome, especially if you’d prefer to be out brunching with friends or attending Junior’s soccer matches. The important thing to remember is that your house hunt won’t last forever, in spite of how it may feel in the thick of things.

3. Buying a home can feel like a never-ending slog

Finding a great home—one that meets your needs and (hopefully) checks off a lot of your “wants”—takes time. With all of my past clients, I showed each of them at least five properties before we made an offer on a home. (One buyer looked at probably close to 30 homes before we found The One.)

The lesson: You have to be patient, because it could take a while for you to find a house that you love.

4. Anxiously waiting to hear back on an offer

No one likes playing the waiting game after submitting an offer on a home but, unfortunately, this is simply part of the home-buying process. Whether or not you’re going up against other offers, the seller needs time to review each bid carefully. Furthermore, each state has its own legal contract that home buyers must use when making an offer on a property, and some jurisdictions require you to submit a mound of paperwork.

Once you’ve submitted an offer, though, the best thing you can do is wait. To minimize the pain though, I typically recommend home buyers attach an addendum stating that their offer expires in 24 hours. I do this for two reasons: It prevents the seller from being able to use your offer to shop around for a better one, and it gives you an exit strategy if you decide you want to walk away and look for another home.

5. Disclosures and home inspections? Terrifying

Unless you’re buying a brand-new house, the seller is required to provide you with property disclosures about the home’s condition. These documents can be a bit unsettling, as can a home inspection.

But don’t fret: These documents err on the side of too much detail, and often make a problem seem far worse than it really is. Make sure to talk them over with your real estate agent so you know what the repair work will truly entail.

6. The disappointment of not getting everything you want

If you’re buying a house, you’d better be prepared to negotiate. When you submit a lowball offer on a property, you should expect the seller to make a counteroffer. Both parties may have to make concessions in order to agree on a sales price.

A request for home repairs is another big point of contention. Home inspectors are trained to find every single flaw with a house, no matter how big or small. If the inspection reveals a major issue (e.g., a cracked foundation), that should absolutely be something you discuss with the sellers to see who will pay for repairs. However, you shouldn’t nickel-and-dime the sellers by asking them to fix every minor thing that’s wrong with the house; if you do, the deal could fall through.

Note: I always recommend including a home inspection contingency when making an offer on a property, unless the house is a short sale or it’s being sold as is, in which case you don’t typically have room to ask for repairs. A typical home inspection costs $300 to $500.

7. Getting a hand cramp at closing from signing all those forms

At settlement, home buyers sign a lot of paperwork to make the sale official—meaning your hand will definitely be sore by the time you’re finished writing your John Hancock on the last document. But trust me, it’s all par for the course—and well worth it, as I’ve seen time and again home buyers’ eyes light up once they’re handed the keys.

Consider me your #1 resource for all things Real Estate! Household changing? Getting married (or divorced)? Time for a change of scenery or job relocation? Want to invest? Just send me an email or call 619-888-2117 – I can help.

3675 8th Avenue – William S. Hebbard Original Home is a Golden Opportunity

December 21, 2018

This William S. Hebbard original is a golden opportunity! Located in the heart of Hillcrest, the Blankenburg Residence is rich with the craftsmanship of a master architect (recognized perhaps most for his work with Irving Gill on the Marston House) & the provenance of generations of the fascinating family that made it their home. Over $300K was spent in work on the property in the last 5 years
and new owners can continue the process to polish this gem & make it their own.

3675 8th Ave :: San Diego, CA 92103 :: $965,000
4 Bed – 2 Bath – EstSF : 2,660

Click to View Photos

 

 

 

Interested in this wonderful property on 8th Avenue, Hillcrest? Just send me an email or call 619-888-2117. I‘d be happy to tell you more about the property. 

Pet Safety Tips as You Deck the Halls

December 13, 2018

Time to deck the halls for the holidays but remember to keep pet safety in mind, so the most wonderful time of the year doesn’t go to the dogs, or rather the vet. 

Holiday decorations can pose safety hazards for your cat or dog so County Animal Services has nine tips on how to protect your pets so you can keep the happy in your holidays.

  • Keep pets away from mistletoe, holly or poinsettias. They are toxic to animals.
  • Chocolate can be toxic, so keep stockings out of reach and any chocolate cookies you might leave out for Santa.
  • Anchor your Christmas tree so pets can’t tip it over. If you’ve used anything but tap water for the base of the tree, make sure they can’t drink it.
  • Cats love to play with tinsel and curling ribbon but then they’ll try to eat it. Prevent a trip to the vet and keep both tinsel and curling ribbon away from cats or don’t use it at all.
  • Hide electrical cords from your pets and make sure they can’t play with or knock over any candles.
  • Set aside a quiet room. Many dogs and cats get overwhelmed with all the hustle and bustle of the holidays. A quiet room allows them to escape and sleep undisturbed.
  • Ringing in the New Year? Your dog needs a quiet, secure place on New Year’s Eve. The loud booms from fireworks can scare dogs. Some will do anything to escape the noise; they’ll run for miles and become lost. Create a safe place where they can hide out from the explosive sounds of the New Year and make sure your dog is wearing identification, just in case.
  • Microchip both dogs and cats. They might slip out the door unnoticed while you’re busy greeting holiday visitors. If someone finds your lost pet or pets, a vet’s office or shelter can scan for a microchip and you’ll quickly be reunited. Animal Services offers microchipping Tuesday through Sunday. The fee is $10 and includes national registration.
  • Use your computer or smartphone and sign up for Finding Rover. This free service uses facial recognition to identify dogs and cats. If your pet gets lost, Finding Rover has the photo on file for anyone who may find him.
By Tracy DeFore, County of San Diego Communications Office
 

Consider me your #1 resource for all things Real Estate! Household changing? Getting married (or divorced)? Time for a change of scenery or job relocation? Want to invest? Just send me an email or call 619-888-2117 – I can help.

The Essentials

December 6, 2018

Consider me your #1 resource for all things Real Estate! Household changing? Getting married (or divorced)? Time for a change of scenery or job relocation? Want to invest? Just send me an email or call 619-888-2117 – I can help.

 

Real Estate At A Glance :: November 2018

November 29, 2018

Local Market Update - San Diego County - Real Estate
Real estate is about location, location, location . . .  If you have questions about the market in your specific area, please contact me via email or call 619-888-2117.

 

If the last few months are an indication of the temperature of housing markets across the country, a period of relative calm can be expected during the last three months of the year. A trend of market balance is emerging as we approach the end of 2018. Prices are still rising in most areas, and the number of homes for sale is still low, but there is a general shrinking of year-over-year percentage change gaps in sales, inventory and prices.

Stock markets experienced an October setback, but that does not necessarily translate to a decline in the real estate market. The national unemployment rate has been below 4.0 percent for three straight months and during five of the last six months. This is exceptional news for industries related to real estate. Meanwhile, homebuilder confidence remains positive, homeownership rates have increased in the key under-35 buyer group and prices, though still rising, have widely reduced the march toward record highs.

NOTE:  This month, I am providing you with the Local Market Update from October 2018 (latest data) and the November 28th San Diego Union Tribune article on the local real estate market (see below). 

 

 

A Coronado home in mid-November. (K.C. Alfred / San Diego Union-Tribune)

 

 

A ‘swing toward buyers’? San Diego resale home prices slow

By Phillip Molnar,  San Diego Union Tribune – November 27, 2018

Existing home prices in September for the San Diego metropolitan area increased 4 percent in a year, the lowest in the West, said the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Indices released Tuesday.

Among the 20 areas covered by the index, San Diego’s increase was the fourth lowest and below the national increase of 5.5 percent. The last time San Diego’s annual growth was lower was August 2012.

Price increases throughout the nation have slowed in recent months, with analysts mainly attributing declines to rising mortgage interest rates. Sixteen of the 20 areas studied showed smaller annual price gains.

The indices evaluate home prices by more than just price, tracking repeat sales of identical single-family houses as they turn over through the years. It is a favorite of economists, who use it to get a more complete view of the market instead of just the median home price.

Cheryl Young, senior economist at Trulia, said San Diego had been increasing above the national average for years and outpacing wages. She said it would have been tough to maintain that price growth and it’s important to remember the region’s costs are still above much of the nation.

“Prices are still really high,” she said of the San Diego market. “It is healthier when you have price growth that is more manageable. When you look at 4 percent year-over-year price growth, that’s more in line with wage growth.”

Young said in addition to rising mortgage rates, she thought buyers were also sensing weakness in the market and possibly holding off on jumping on anything — like they were a few months ago.

The median price of a resale single-family home in San Diego County was $615,000 in September, CoreLogic said. At the end of September last year, the interest rate for a 30-year, fixed-rate loan was 3.97 percent, said Mortgage News Daily. It was 4.78 percent at the end of this September.

That means the monthly cost for a resale home has increased in a year by $294 a month.

Las Vegas had the highest annual price gains in the nation at 13.5 percent. It was followed by San Francisco at 9.9 percent and Seattle at 8.4 percent. The lowest price gains were New York City at 2.6 percent and Washington, D.C., at 2.9 percent.

Los Angeles metro area annual home prices increased 5.5 percent, also a reduction from major price gains in the past few years.

Aaron Terrazas, senior economist at Zillow, wrote in an email that the home market was becoming more balanced among buyers and sellers.

“There are already signs the market is beginning to swing toward buyers,” he wrote. “Inventory is up after almost four years of uninterrupted declines, especially in formerly red-hot and pricey West Coast markets, and price cuts are becoming more frequent.”

Trulia research showed the San Diego metropolitan area had the most price reductions — 20.5 percent — of the 100 biggest metro areas in the United States so far this year (as of October). It tied with Tampa, which also saw 20.5 percent of homes with a price cut.

* * *

S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Indices for September 2018

Yearly increases by city

Las Vegas — 13.5 percent

San Francisco — 9.9 percent

Seattle — 8.4 percent

Denver — 7.3 percent

Phoenix — 7.2 percent

Tampa — 6.7 percent

Detroit — 6.3 percent

Minneapolis — 6 percent

Atlanta — 5.7 percent

Los Angeles — 5.5 percent

Charlotte — 5.2 percent

Cleveland — 5.2 percent

Portland — 5.1 percent

Boston — 5 percent

Miami — 4.6 percent

Dallas — 4.3 percent

San Diego — 4 percent

Chicago — 3 percent

Washington, D.C. — 2.9 percent

New York — 2.6 percent

National — 5.5 percent

 

How to Sell Your Home During the Holidays

November 27, 2018

 

 

Wondering how to sell your home during the holidays? While putting your home on the market between winter celebrations, school vacations, and looming family visits might seem like miserable timing, sellers could actually benefit by using this period strategically to show and sell their place.

Here’s why: Many home sellers take a holiday hiatus until the New Year—and that could mean that your house may suddenly become a hot commodity. Plus, if buyers are truly squeezing in home showings between shopping trips and holiday recitals, you know they must be serious.

So if you’re ready to put up a “For Sale” sign under the cheery glow of your holiday lights, go right ahead! Here’s some advice on how to sell your home during the holidays.

Deck your halls…

A little mistletoe will likely help rather than hurt… but don’t go overboard.

Throw a party

Yes, you have a to-do list that stretches from here until Valentine’s Day. But consider squeezing in the time to host a holiday party anyway. This can be a great way to showcase your house to friends, family, and neighbors. Chances are that at least one person at the party is looking for a new home, or knows someone who is.

Preheat your oven

It’s wonderful for potential buyers to walk into a home that smells of fresh-baked cookies, sweets, and holiday cakes. You can sweeten them up a tad more by leaving a plate of treats out for them to enjoy.

Don’t encourage thieves

Although most people are wishing peace on Earth and goodwill, not everybody will take that message to heart. So, play it safe and don’t leave gifts (particularly expensive ones) under a holiday tree during a showing. Consider leaving empty decorative boxes instead.

Let your house shine

The days have never been darker or shorter, so to ensure your house gives off a warm, comfy vibe replace some of your lights with brighter bulbs to add more light for evening showings.

Give a little

As in, give a little more time than you might if you were selling at a different, less frenetic time of year. Be prepared to let people into your home even when it’s not convenient for you. Everyone doesn’t celebrate the same holidays, so you may be asked to show on days you normally wouldn’t want to.

Use bad weather in your favor

If it’s raining, have umbrellas handy for people to look at outside areas. (shoe covers by the front door are a nice touch).

Pour yourself a glass of eggnog and relax

 

Consider me your #1 resource for all things Real Estate! Household changing? Looking to buy a home during the holidays? Getting married (or divorced)? Time for a change of scenery or job relocation? Want to invest? Just send me an email or call 619-888-2117 – I can help.

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