It is important to take the time to stage your home before putting it on the market, even if its just the 5 Golden Rules.
Home staging can be pricey depending on how large your home is and if you need to remove all items from the home. Home staging can be done on a budget. Homes that are occupied by Sellers, are on the market all the time. Sellers are living in their homes. Some have kids and pets. But, a good agent will set the expectation for the Buyer they bring through the home. But, a good agent will prepare the home to sell. And, if Professional Staging is not in the budget then there are many things you can do to your home to “stage” it with a few dollars or no money at all. The idea behind this is that you want that buyer to envision living in your home. However, we don’t want them to see how you “really”live….UNLESS, you are the person who lives like a magazine photo and I know many of you like this and I am jealous!!
Home staging on a budget can be things as easy as De-Cluttering. This is my #1 rule. De-clutter closets and book cases. Remove all the nick-knacks you have collected through the years. Remove all those awesome family photos & wedding pictures. Take all items off counters in Kitchen and Bathrooms. This is a great time to just start packing things away. For the bathroom, I recommend a cute little basket with all your necessities. When you leave for showings put that cute basket away. Same for closet. Box it up, especially closets packed with clothes. Pack away what you won’t wear. Big jackets in the Summer and Shorts and sundresses in the Winter can be packed away. To be honest, a garage full of nicely organized boxes or storage tubs is not a turnoff for Buyers. A, it shows you are getting ready to move and B, it can help show the size of the garage space. This article that RIS Media put out goes over the 5 Golden Rules. I agree with everyone of them. You are setting the “tone”for the potential Buyer who may or may not have similar taste, kids, animals, etc. If they do then you have no worries, but chances are they will not. So, make that 1st impression on a budget.
Fixer Upper Money Pit
Cosmetic or Bones? Fixer Upper can mean different things for many:
Want a fixer upper? I meet clients, often, looking to buy and “flip” or want a deal on a Fixer Upper. Looking for the deal of the year. I am not against this but it does take a level of sophistication to make this happen, successfully. First you need to determine a budget. Then what you would like to net from the deal? Be sure to have a buffer in the budget for those items that show up while you are doing the demo. A cosmetic fixer is pretty much going in and making the home look pretty. Update floors, bathrooms, paint inside and out. A “real” fixer upper is a “gut job.” You will need to be aware of what is or could be behind those walls, under the house and under those sinks. A good agent can help assist with this. But, keep in mind a lot of these types of homes have no reports on file and you, usually, need to make an offer BEFORE you get inspections. However, don’t get discouraged. Just use your resources so you know what you are getting into. An agent will run comps based off the home being improved at that time. We get a contractor in the home to give us a bid. Most contractors will leave a “buffer” or “pad the budget.” They, too, know that once they open up walls, etc, more problems or repairs could be exposed. When thinking about getting into the “flip” business, think about end result. Almost any buyer is going to get inspections completed and it will expose anything you try to hide, so don’t. If you purchase a Fixer Upper, then do just that….Fix it Up! And don’t go at it alone. A realtor is one of your good resources. They have the relationship with the listing agent and they can communicate the concerns. Don’t be afraid of purchasing a Fixer Upper, but be aware and informed. Call me to help you!
Sell now??? The infamous question.
I get this question everyday:
Should I sell my house in the Winter wait until Spring?
My answer is always different. Are you selling and buying a replacement home? Are you selling for hardship purposes. Are you selling for convenience of a new marriage or out of necessity like a divorce or death? Are you selling to improve cash flow?
So, too many variables to have just one answer. But, when you plan to sell because you are purchasing a replacement home, then the answer is YES, sell now. Remember, when you sell low, you buy low. And, when you sell high, you buy high.
Now, if you plan to sell because you are ready to dump this asset and you have another home to go to, then that answer may be No, let’s wait to see how the winter comps play out. If you try to get top dollar and have the time and resources to make it happen over a period of time, then your agent, ME, is there to assist in gathering data. Past sales, Active listings, days on market, amount of inventory similar to your place, and so on. So, should I sell in the Winter or wait for the Spring? CALL ME!!
During a distressed sale: divorce, death, financial issues, etc I will help you make the decision. It may be not a good time, but there may be other sources that you could explore in order to not sell during a slower time. Sometimes a refinance, equity line, AirBNB, long term rental, can all be resources to help the situation at hand. Again, call the expert who can connect you with the resources needed to help make this decision.
Mandy Corriea, Broker Associtate
Mandy’s Fall Market Prediction
Fall and the 4th quarter are upon us, now what is the Fall Prediction for our Market here in?
The market, nationally, differs from California and this differs from Sonoma County market. We had an, already, low inventory market trying to rebuild from the Big Recession that hit us hard. But, just when we started to see our area improve we had a catastrophic event: The 2017 Tubbs Fire. This wiped out a large amount of our homes which meant even lower inventory. This caused home prices to soar. I have seen a settle down of “those” prices. In fact, I am seeing home sit longer on the market. I would not say we are dropping in price, but we are getting back to “normal,” sort of. This Fall is still a good time to sell and a great time to buy! We are seeing a large group of home owners sell and leave the state, but another large group of Baby Boomers selling their homes in the Bay Area and moving to Sonoma County. This will help keep our prices stable. In turn, this will allow “our local” buyers an opportunity to afford a home.
Fall Market Prediction for me is that we will see the Millennial’s dominating the market, they are ready to buy! Inventory will improve slightly. Home prices are still headed up, a smidge. Mortgage rates will stay low.
It is tough to make a Fall Market Prediction in Real Estate. Most importantly, I base this off my experience, past and recent date and sales, and just being out there with Buyers & Sellers every day. As a result of this, I am your “Local” expert in Real Estate. So far, my predictions have been on point!
I am really noticing the attention Sonoma County is getting from residents from San Francisco and Silicon Valley. I relate this to our “affordable market” and the Technology Careers. Working remotely from home allows people to live further from their Employing Headquarters, in turn allows them to buy out of the area where it is less expensive. Our new Smart Train has made the commute to Marin county a lot easier and less frustrating.
Again, my Fall Market Prediction is Millennial’s Dominating the Market.
More Millennial’s, in San Francisco, are moving back home with parents….so…next move is some place where they can afford. We are just over that bridge and have good Public Transportation to get them to their weekly meetings.
Broker Associate W Real Estate
Travel Scams to Watch For
Here is a great article with a few travel scams to watch for. Now, some of these may not be the exact example, but the concept is there. Always be on guard for a travel scam, even when not traveling.
Common sense is so important when traveling. We all want to assume everyone is good in the world and unfortunately this is not the case. Prowlers use our trust & kindness as a weakness. Avoiding travel scams, when traveling, can save you some heartache, some money and get you back into your country.
Just like in college, always have a buddy. Be aware of your valuables and keep them close or not on you at all. Enjoy the friendliness of strangers but do not let your guard down or share personal info like where you are staying, or any names of family members, phone number, etc. Never give up your passport to rent a jet ski or boat. Never, let a stranger to close to you or your belongings- in a blink of an eye you could be pick pocketed. Therefore, consider making a game plan of how to be defensible without taking away the enjoyment of the trip. And if you travel with a partner you both can be good reminders of staying clear of travel scams. Remember, the world is full of kind people so don’t let these concerns scare you into traveling, just keep yourself aware of what is happening around you, Common Sense skills go a long way when avoiding scams. Be prepared, be alert!
Check out the link for some of the more popular Travel Scams happening around the world and ways to avoid them:
Mandy Corriea, W Real Estate
What is happening with the Windsor Real Estate Market?
Windsor….how does it hold up to the other cities it borders?
Our market has been very interesting, especially with the late winter we had. I put a listing on at the beginning of the year and got some real good action, but it all came to a halt when we got our first rain…uh….storm. We had so much rain we flooded in a lot of areas around us. And with rain comes house problems: roof leaks, blown down fences, leaking windows, etc. No one was looking at houses. We had a couple of open houses and we basically had neighbors stopping by. But, then we got some great weather….for about a week! Next storm came rolling in, and another and another. Spring Break got our market moving again, along with the Sun!! Sold that home within a week. People were motivated to get out of their homes and start the search. Also, spring break, gets those motivated to Sell knowing school gets out in less than 2 months! Families like to sell homes and moving during the summer so their is no disruption with school. This trend I have seen in my 19 years in the business and it still holds strong today. SO…how are we doing? Well, we are doing great. Average days on market is less than 30 days, since May 1. And if your home is “turn key” reading to just unpack your belongings, those are on market even shorter. I have, also, seen homes going quick with entertaining backyards: lights, grass, fire pits, out door stoves, established flowers & trees. Welcome to 95492, where the medium price range goes quick. If you are looking to Sell, it’s not too late to put your home on market. If you are looking to buy, be sure you are pre-approved and ready to ponce as soon as that house hits the market!! Not much time to “think about it.” My take is that even with all the inventory out there, we still just don’t have enough Medium Priced homes for the active buyers out there. -Mandy Corriea, W Real Estate
Thank you for the advice but I need to talk to the Professional:
Outdated Advice may be given to you by family and friends. Let me give you advice with today’s market trends.
You are ready to buy or sell your first home and your friends and family, who have been through the process have all this advice for you….But, most of it MAY BE Outdated Advice.
Market’s change so often, especially here in Sonoma County. We have had some chain of events that have kept us very volatile. Low inventory, high rates and then a ton of over priced inventory after fires. Now inventory is picking up but then we had a very long, wet Winter/Spring that slowed that process….and now, School it out!! One of the busiest open house weekends I have seen in awhile. And, still, more homes coming to market. However, I am still seeing deals being made and homes falling out of escrow. Rates play a big part in the process and I have seen those go up and down often this season. I always tell my friends and family: “You won’t know when the housing market has hit bottom until it has passed us.” Don’t settle for Out Dated Advice when making one of the toughest decisions in life.
I am Your Professional Advice Giver When it Comes to Buying & Selling Homes. Mandy’s Happenings in Real Estate
Not all Home Improvements are Created Equal
This list I agree with, but I would add an updated kitchen and bathrooms really seal the deal. One thing I recommend is having the work done by a professional, or in a professional manner. Buyers and their inspectors can see through any fluff. Don’t put lipstick on the pig. Make sure when you remodel or replace/repair that you do not cut corners. Be prepared when creating your budget that you have a cushion for those unseen problems hiding behind those walls. And, if you are fortunate enough to not find any issues when remodeling, then you get to use the “cushion fund” for more improvements! Good “bones” in a home is way more attractive then a janky flip home any day!
If you are not in a position to remodel a home to improve the ROI, then I suggest going through the home and making sure the home is in tip top shape. Perform maintenance on furnace, clean out dryer vents & gutters, check for leaks under the house, etc. These are all items that a home inspection report can address. For a fee of around $450 you can get a report on your home as a guide to help with those repairs. It is worth it so you know of any active issues that you can take care of or watch to prevent a bigger issue. When it is time to sell your home you will be prepared to price it with the lack of improvements. But can be confident the homes “bones” are in tact. No hidden surprises for you or your pocket book.
I would combine the Survey Fee and Application fee and round up to about $900 for admin/lender fee. There could be added costs if you choose to impound your taxes & insurance. Lenders require a few months of each to set that account up. I say budget about $8,000-$10,000 in closing costs depending on price of home. There are some great programs that can help with down payment and closing costs. Let me get you in touch with those lenders. With rents as high as they have been, you might be better off Owning…I know you will!!