Friday, March 18, 2016
Remember the old adage, “location, location, location?” Believe it or not, this rings as true today as it ever did in choosing a home or business location.
While the metrics that qualify location vary among home and business owners, be assured that an “A” location will take care of you every day of ownership whether you are an owner or tenant. Similarly, a lesser location will nag at you every day.
The agents of Coldwell Banker Shook and Coldwell Banker Commercial Shook are experts in matching desired criteria with the right locations. They listen carefully, ask the right questions and don’t cut corners in serving their clients to the fullest.
Contact a Shook agent today for the best help with your next real estate transaction!
Wednesday, January 21, 2015
Thinking of buying or selling in 2015? Here is a great article by BankRate.com. Check it out!
Another year of strong economic growth, improved employment and pent-up housing demand bodes well for most sellers in 2015, particularly in the Farm Belt and in energy-producing states such as Texas, North Dakota, Louisiana, Montana and Wyoming, and urban areas like Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Denver and Boston.
In fact, the National Association of Home Builders, or NAHB, predicts that the 2015 single-family home sector will outperform a strong 2014. There are cautions: Moody's predicts mortgage rates will rise from about 4 percent now to 6 percent by 2017.
The recovery has yet to arrive in many states, reinforcing the notion that real estate growth is regional. No one can accurately predict when this real estate uptick will end or how hard, or soft, a landing it will make. In the meantime, let proven fundamentals, applied with a few modern wrinkles, rule the day. Here are 10 tips for 2015 to help the real estate process.
1. Do sweat the small (cheap) stuff, sellers
Little touches go a long way in the buyer's eye, starting logically with the entry. Trim bushes, wash walkways and change out trampled welcome mats. Inside, de-stink with candles and counter sprays, de-jam closets and de-clutter rooms, focusing keenly on kitchen counters. Hide scrub brushes and other fantasy-killing labor tools. Dust, wax, scrub toilets, wash windows, test and clean lights, put out fresh towels, winnow family mementos, harness or hide that avalanche of toys, remove prescription drugs from medicine cabinets and police the yard for "pet bombs." It's time well-spent.
2. Take note(s), buyers
In a whirlwind house-hunting tour of several properties, buyers benefit by keeping a pro-and-con checklist of each home they visit. Otherwise, the features of several homes tend to blend together in a tired brain by day's end. Creating a rating scale of 1 to 10 also helps, as does carrying a checklist of specific features that you seek in an ideal home.
3. Sell by season
Though spring is optimal, home selling is a year-round sport. Use seasonal accents to make buyers linger longer.
Winter: Unfurl throw rugs and spotlight functional fireplaces. Near holidays, add touches like wreaths and pine-cone centerpieces. Display photos of your home a season ahead, particularly in winter, so buyers can see the house ensconced by greenery.
Spring: Fresh-cut flowers and candles bring spring scents indoors. For that new-start look, do extra spring cleaning and use brightly colored linens, spreads and pillows. Add little pops of color to the entry and landscape.
Summer: Highlight patios and other outdoor areas. Swap out dark towels and curtains for light colors. Put out a seasonal fruit basket or add hanging flowers. Keep the house cool but not cold.
Fall: Display pumpkins by the door and vases of fall foliage or tricolored corn inside. Use seasonal scents such as baked apple. Keep those leaves at bay.
4. Drill deeply
Buyers are regularly advised to scope out the block at varying hours, but why not drill down further to see if your potential new neighborhood is fading or flourishing?
- Bad signs: A major local employer is struggling or moving away; adjacent neighborhoods are progressively turning into rentals; and a few too many for-sale homes are lingering on the market. Nearby commercial spaces remain persistently vacant.
- Good signs: Schools are in high demand and well-rated. Young families and artsy types are moving in. Older couples are "aging in place" and nearby commercial properties are getting redeveloped and quickly leased. For-sale homes are generating multiple offers.
5. 'Big data' is everywhere, so tap in
While local knowledge and old-school networking will always be valuable, the latest technology lets agents offer much more. Some agencies offer "livability" ratings by ranking and contrasting neighborhoods by air quality, traffic choke points and specific data on a home's energy efficiency. In 2013, the National Association of Realtors introduced its Predictive Analytics group. Banks already use "big data" to gauge the worth of foreclosures and short sales, and mobile apps now offer it for consumer and agent use. Ask agents if they offer this and other edgy technology such as high-definition aerial footage shot by drones. Should your grandiose home merit that, go big!
6. Transparency equals trust
Buyers will certainly enlist inspectors to twice-over your home, Mr. Seller. So instead of inviting disappointment, delay and distrust, go transparent with your own presale inspection. It's far better to know now about issues with the plumbing, HVAC (heating, ventilating and air conditioning), foundation, electrical systems and roof. Provide the buyer a copy of the inspection along with repair receipts, and explain if or how you've adjusted your price accordingly. Buyers appreciate candor.
7. Math versus ego
Too often, buyers get caught up in win-at-all-costs negotiation. They'll stubbornly let as little as a few grand lock them out of the right house. At an interest rate of 4.5 percent, the difference between paying $200,000 and $195,000 -- assuming 1.25 percent property tax and 15 percent down -- is only about $25 per month on a 30-year mortgage, or about the cost of lunch for two at a fast-casual eatery, before the tip. Don't let that ruin your chances at your dream home.
8. Retain mineral rights
With so many giant natural-gas fields (shales) in play across the U.S. and new ones pending, homeowners should exercise "seller's market" clout to retain mineral rights. While that intent needn't even be mentioned in the sales contract in some states, it's always safest to note it, provided the buyer doesn't protest. Avoid that scenario by conveying those rights to a trustworthy relative or to an energy company buying them before putting the house on the block. "Mineral rights? Oh, so sorry, I no longer own them."
9. Buying? Then cool it for a while
Refrain from making big capital purchases like a new car, opening new credit cards or amassing big chunks of other new debt before buying a home. These raise your debt-to-income ratio, which lenders examine to determine the mortgage amount you can afford. Also avoid moving large sums of money around, changing banks, changing jobs and becoming self-employed before buying a home.
10. The price is right
Trite, you say? Perhaps. But accurate home pricing from the outset never goes out of style because it sells homes. Some agents advise sellers to overprice because inventory is low. Others say go below market to spur a bidding war. Don't get caught up in pricing games.
Activity in the first month of a listing is always the best, so don't risk wasting it. Price too high, and scare off many buyers and agents. Price too low, and risk leaving dollars on the table. Hiring the right agent based on recommendations, response time, in-person interviews, track record and data support will yield that pricing expert you need.
Wednesday, January 14, 2015
What better way to kick-off 2015 than with some great tips via Realtor.com Here are some great tips on staging your home when you have children.
Selling a home while you’re still living in it isn’t easy, but selling a home when you still live in it and have kids is infinitely harder. From the ongoing hunt for stray toys to buyers who turn their noses up at your daughter’s princess pink bedroom walls, you’ll have a lot on your plate—but you can still make sure you get great offers when selling with kids. To get the most offers (and the best deal), you’ll have to present your home as a blank canvas anyone could love and not just a home fit for kids.
Here’s how to pull it off.
Stage for Everyone
While some buyers will likely have children of their own—or plan to have children—potential buyers who don’t will have a hard time picturing themselves in a house full of children’s belongings.
To make your home appeal to the widest range of buyers possible, you’ll need to minimize your children’s presence throughout the house:
Put toys in toy boxes. If you’re using clear boxes, put those in the closet out of sight.
Remove children’s artwork from refrigerators and walls. Store in a safe place until you’re done showing the home.
Store backpacks, coats and children’s shoes in the hallway closet or in a mudroom cupboard.
Check under the bed and other favorite hiding spots for stray toys.
Most buyers look for multi-purpose rooms they can tailor to fit their own lifestyle. If you have a room in your home—a game room, den or office—currently configured as a playroom, be sure to stage the area before you start showing the house to potential buyers.
Remove any toys, video game systems or play sets from the room.
Place common use furniture like a sofa or small desk in the room to help fill the space.
Keep decorations to a minimum to highlight the size of the room.
Clean any marker, paint or other stains from the flooring or walls.
By creating a minimalist open space, buyers can picture their own belongings in the room.
Prep the Bedrooms
Children’s bedrooms can be a hard sell to all buyers. To make bedrooms appear to have universal appeal, you’ll have to do some staging.
If you’ve used kid-themed wallpaper, paint colors like pink and baby blue or painted a mural on a wall in your child’s bedroom, it might be a good idea to repaint the room to a neutral color scheme.
Store stuffed animals, dolls and other toys normally kept out in the bedroom in a closet while you’re showing your property.
Remove any small décor touches like a pirate-themed light switch or princess ceiling fan pull.
Keeping Your Kids Sane
Many kids struggle with the idea of moving in general and won’t love the idea of packing up their stuff early. To make the transition easier on your kids, let them pick out their favorite toys, books and stuffed animals. Store those items in an easily accessible box you can take out after every showing.
By having their favorite stuff around every night, they’ll feel more comfortable during this period of flux.