5 Reasons You Should Never Buy or Sell a Home Without a Real Estate Agent

You’re DIY’ing this real estate thing, and you think you’re doing pretty well—after all, any info you might need is at your fingertips online, right? That and your own judgment.

Oh, dear home buyer (or seller!)—we know you can do it on your own. But you really, really shouldn’t. This is likely the biggest financial decision of your entire life, and you need Real Estate Agent if you want to do it right.

Here’s why…

1. They have loads of expertise

Want to check the MLS for a 4B/2B with an EIK and a W/D? Real estate has its own language, full of acronyms and semi-arcane jargon, and your Real Estate Agent is trained to speak that language fluently.

Plus, buying or selling a home usually requires dozens of forms, reports, disclosures, and other technical documents. Real Estate Agents have the expertise to help you prepare a killer deal—while avoiding delays or costly mistakes that can seriously mess you up.

FREE DOWNLOAD: The Complete Home Buyer Guide

2. They have turbocharged searching power

The Internet is awesome. You can find almost anything—anything! And with online real estate listing sites such as yours truly, you can find up-to-date home listings on your own, any time you want. But guess what? Real Estate Agents have access to even more listings. Sometimes properties are available but not actively advertised. A Real Estate Agent can help you find those hidden gems.

Plus, a good local Real Estate Agent is going to know the search area way better than you ever could. Have your eye on a particular neighborhood, but it’s just out of your price range? Your Real Estate Agent is equipped to know the ins and outs of every neighborhood, so she can direct you toward a home in your price range that you may have overlooked.

3. They have bullish negotiating chops

Any time you buy or sell a home, you’re going to encounter negotiations—and as today’s housing market heats up, those negotiations are more likely than ever to get a little heated.

You can expect lots of competition, cutthroat tactics, all-cash offers, and bidding wars. Don’t you want a savvy and professional negotiator on your side to seal the best deal for you?

RELATED: Patrick Parker Realty’s Refined Negotiation Strategy

And it’s not just about how much money you end up spending or netting. A Real Estate Agent will help draw up a purchase agreement that allows enough time for inspections, contingencies, and anything else that’s crucial to your particular needs.

4. They’re connected to everyone

Real Estate Agents might not know everything, but they make it their mission to know just about everyone who can possibly help in the process of buying or selling a home. Mortgage brokers, real estate attorneys, home inspectors, home stagers, interior designers—the list goes on—and they’re all in your Real Estate Agent’s network. Use them.

FREE DOWNLOAD: The Complete Home Sellers Guide

5. They’re your sage parent/data analyst/therapist—all rolled into one

The thing about Real Estate Agents: They wear a lot of different hats. Sure, they’re salespeople, but they actually do a whole heck of a lot to earn their commission. They’re constantly driving around, checking out listings for you. They spend their own money on marketing your home (if you’re selling). They’re researching comps to make sure you’re getting the best deal.

And, of course, they’re working for you at nearly all hours of the day and night—whether you need more info on a home or just someone to talk to in order to feel at ease with the offer you just put in. This is the biggest financial (and possibly emotional) decision of your life, and guiding you through it isn’t a responsibility Real Estate Agents take lightly.

YOUR TURN

Did you try the DIY route and the go Agent? Tell us about your experience. Sound of on the Patrick Parker Realty Facebook Page, our Twitter or LinkedIn Feeds or on our Instagram account. And don’t forget to subscribe to our monthly HOME ADVICE email newsletter for articles like this delivered straight to your inbox. You may unsubscribe at any time.

Assessed Value vs. Market Value: What’s the Difference?

Homes don’t come with sticker prices set in stone. Rather they are moving targets – that’s what makes buying and selling real estate so fun! (Or frustrating, depending on your perspective.) And, as a buyer or seller, you will likely hear two “prices” thrown about: assessed value and market value. So what’s the difference?

While assessed value and market value may seem similar, these numbers can be different – typically assessed value is lower – and they’re used in distinct ways as well. So, let’s clear up any confusion so you can wield these terms to your advantage.

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What is Market Value?

The technical definition of market value is “the most probable price that a given property will bring in an open market transaction.” Or, in plain English, “It’s the price that a buyer is willing to pay for a home, and that a seller is willing to accept.”

Real estate agents are trained to pinpoint a home’s market value, which is done by looking at a variety of characteristics, including the following:

• External characteristics: Curb appeal, exterior condition of the home, lot size, home style, availability of public utilities.
• Internal characteristics: Size and number of rooms, construction and appliance quality and condition, heating systems, and energy efficiency.
• Comps or comparables: What similar homes in the same area have sold for recently.
• Supply and demand: The number of buyers and the number of sellers in your area.
• Location: How desirable is the neighborhood? Are the schools good? Is the crime rate low?

RELATED: WHAT’S MY HOME WORTH? GET A FREE COMPARABLE MARKET ANALYSIS

A home’s market value often is a good starting point for all kinds of things. For one, listing agents use market value to help sellers come up with a fair asking price for their home. And, since buyers shouldn’t just trust what sellers say their place is worth, their own agent can also estimate the home’s market value and come up with a different price that they think their clients should offer. No number is right or wrong; the ultimate deciding force is what price a buyer and seller are willing to shake hands on to close the deal.

What is Assessed Value?

When trying to understand the assessed value of a property, you must know who is doing the assessing and why the property is being assessed.

Municipalities, mostly counties, employ an assessor to place a value on a home in order to levy property taxes on it. To arrive at a value, the assessor (similar to a real estate agent) looks at what similar properties are selling for, the value of any recent improvements, any income you may be making from, say, renting out a room in the property, and other factors – like the replacement cost of the property if, God forbid, it burns down in a fire (which sounds dark, but assessors are thorough professionals who consider every possibility).

In the end, the assessor comes up with a value of your home. Then, he multiplies that number by an “assessment rate,” a uniform percentage that each tax jurisdiction sets that is typically 80% to 90%. So if, say, the market value of your home is $400,000 and your local assessment rate is 80%, then the assessed value of your home is $320,000.

That $320,000 is then used by your local government to calculate your property taxes. The higher your home’s assessed value, the more you’ll pay in taxes. You can check with your local tax assessor for a more exact figure for your home, or search by state, county, and ZIP code on publicrecords.netronline.com.

What Assessed and Market Values Mean to You?

While a home’s market value can rise and fall precipitously based on local conditions, assessed values are typically more immune to fluctuations. (Some states prohibit the assessed value from rising more than 3% a year even if market value increases.)

But the bottom line is, don’t get bent out of shape if you hear your assessed value isn’t as high as you’d hoped. Assessed value is used mostly for property tax purposes. Home buyers and sellers, on the other hand, look more to market value instead.

However, assessed value can come up when you buy or sell a home because this number, unlike the more subjective market value, is public knowledge contained in property records. So, rising assessed values bode well when home sellers try to justify their sale price to a buyer: “Hey, the assessed value is $310,000, and I’m only asking $320,000.” Likewise, buyers can use assessed value to justify a lower price: “Hey, the assessed value is $260,000, and you’re asking for $300,000. What gives?”

But the thing to remember with both assessed and market value is that at the end of the day, the price of a home is all in the eye of the beholder. The only number that matters is what a buyer and seller can agree sounds right, so don’t take any number you see too seriously.

YOUR TURN

What has your experience been with market value vs assessed value when selling or buying your home? Sound off on the Patrick Parker Realty Facebook Page or on our Twitter or LinkedIn feeds. And don’t forget to subscribe to our monthly HOME ADVICEtm email newsletter for articles like this delivered straight to your inbox. You may unsubscribe at any time. 

6 Bad Habits to Avoid If You Hope to Sell Your Home in 2017

Everyone has a few flaws. But if you plan to sell your New Jersey home in 2017, these foibles can literally cost you—we’re talking tens of thousands of dollars. What’s more, many homeowners may not even be aware that certain actions can hurt their odds of selling their home (that is, until it sits on the market with no takers).

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To help clue you in, here’s a list of regrettable blunders to kick to the curb starting now, even if you plan to put your home on the market next year:

Bad Habit No. 1: Overimproving your home
Dying to install new kitchen cabinets or retile your master bath? Home sellers often assume any upgrades they make to their home will pay them back in full once they sell, but that’s rarely the case. On average you will recoup just about 64% of the money you spend on renovations once you sell—and certain improvements can actually work against you if they’re unusual or undesirable in your market.

For instance, as much as you may be dying for a bidet in your bathroom, many others may not. Likewise, even if you consider a new swimming pool a plus, many homeowners don’t want the hassle of maintaining it (or the dangers if they have young kids).

Do this instead: Check out blog post on Home Improvements that offer the Biggest Return on Investment to see which upgrades provide the best value – and ask your Agent for advice on which amenities are hot (or not) on the Jersey Shore.

Bad Habit No. 2: Renovating without permits
We know it’s a pain to apply for permits before you knock down that wall or add a deck, but this corner-cutting will come back and bite you when you decide to sell. Without proper permits, buyers may worry whether the work done on your place is up to code—and as a result refrain from making an offer.

Do this instead: Don’t be a scofflaw; pull necessary permits. Usually, building permits are required for any renovation that involves opening/building walls, electrical, and plumbing changes.

Bad Habit No. 3: Limiting showing hours
Sure, no one wants to leave their home at dinnertime. But buyers are busy juggling work, family, and looking for a new home. If you limit showings to a few hours on weekends, you might miss a potential sale.

Do this instead: Stay flexible and cooperate with buyer’s agents who want to show your house, even if it’s inconvenient.
Plus, limiting showing times gives buyers the impression that the you may be a “difficult” seller. That can turn them off even more.

Bad Habit No. 4. Overlooking curb appeal
Even if you lavish tons of attention on prepping the inside of your home for buyers, it’s easy to overlook the outside. But keep in mind, your curb appeal is the very first impression buyers have of your home, so it pays to put some elbow grease into prettying up the exterior, too.

RELATED: The Importance of Curb Appeal When Selling Your New Jersey Home

Do this instead: Make sure your paint job is pristine and your lawn is tidy and mowed. Also replace dead shrubs, prune trees, put out some potted plants, mulch garden beds, and freshen mailboxes.

Bad Habit No. 5: Relying heavily on open houses
Open houses were a great way to sell a house in, like, 1975. These days, the vast majority of houses are sold through the Internet.

Do this instead: While you can and should hold open houses, don’t depend on them too much. Look for Agents who mine for buyers by using the Internet and Social Media.

RELATED: The Custom Marketing Plan to Sell Your Home

Bad Habit No. 6: Not following your Agent’s advice
Sure, you no doubt know more about your home than anyone else. But your Real Estate Agent knows more about how to sell it. And your Agent may make some suggestions you might not like to hear, like that you need a new paint job or that the asking price you had in mind needs to be lowered a bit. It’s tempting to take offense or just ignore this advice, but if you do, you could risk seeing your house sit on the market and grow stale.

RELATED: The Importance of Properly Pricing Your Home

Do this instead: Listen to your Agent. That doesn’t mean blindly following all advice. But when it comes to pricing, consider the comps your agent presents, not your gut feeling or wishful thinking. Agents buy and sell hundreds of houses in their career; you’ll probably buy and sell a handful in your lifetime. You’re paying for their experience, so follow their advice.

YOUR TURN

Want advice about selling your home? Contact us today for a free consultation or visit us on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn. And don’t forget to subscribe to our monthly HOME ADVICE™ email newsletter for articles and tips like these delivered straight to your inbox.

Zillow’s 6 Housing Market Predictions for 2017

Well, as many had been wishing for, 2016 is officially behind us. And as the year came to a close, predictions for the 2017 housing market came pouring in.

housing-market-2017-new-jersey

It’s hard to say what the new year will bring with the newly-elected President-elect Donald Trump. Zillow points out in its predictions how some of his policies could affect housing next year.

Here are Zillow’s six predictions for 2017:

1. Cities will focus on denser development of smaller homes close to public transit and urban centers.

2. More millennials will become homeowners, driving up the homeownership rate. Millennials are also more racially diverse, so more homeowners will be people of color, reflecting the changing demographics of the United States.

3. Rental affordability will improve as incomes rise and growth in rents slows.

4. Buyers of new homes will have to spend more as builders cover the cost of rising construction wages, driven even higher in 2017 by continued labor shortages (this could be worsened by tougher immigration policies under President-elect Trump).

5. The percentage of people who drive to work will rise for the first time in a decade as homeowners move further into the suburbs seeking affordable housing – putting them further from adequate public transit options.

6. Home values will grow 3.6 percent in 2017, according to more than 100 economic and housing experts surveyed in the latest Zillow Home Price Expectations Survey. National home values have risen 4.8 percent so far in 2016.

Other predictions for next year include this one from Redfin, predicting the fastest real estate market ever, this one from Kroll Bond Rating Agency, this one from Realtor.com and this one from Bank of America.

Like Patrick Parker Realty on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn. And don’t forget to subscribe to the monthly Patrick Parker Realty HOME ADVICE eNewsletter for articles like this one delivered straight to your inbox.

6 Reasons To Sell Your Home In 2017

Planning to sell in the new year? Get a head start by listing early.

sell-my-home-monmouth-county

Being early has its benefits: “The early bird catches the worm” or “Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.” You get the idea. So if you’re thinking about listing your home for sale in Monmouth County or on the Jersey Shore in 2017 — or if you already know you will — why not do so early, as in January or February? By getting in on the real estate market at the beginning of the year, you could benefit in some unexpected ways. Here are six of them.

1. There’s low inventory

When inventory’s low, it’s usually a great time to put your house on the market. Your new listing could cause buyers to pounce when there’s little competition, especially if your home is in a desirable neighborhood. Research conducted by Trulia revealed that 2016 was the year of low inventory.

2. There’s more urgency

There are plenty of reasons people need to get in a home fast. Many companies transfer employees at the start of a year, for one. Whatever the reason, if you encounter a homebuyer in the dead of winter, they probably need to buy sooner rather than later. And unless you’re in a hot climate, January and February are not the months most people want to be out hitting the streets to browse. Winter buyers often have a sense of urgency — when they find what they’re looking for, they’ll make an offer.

RELATED: Why Winter is A Great Time to Sell Your Home

3. Spring starts early in warm markets

If your home is in a warm climate, you could really benefit by listing your home for sale in early spring. “Traditionally, our real estate website has at least double the number of visitors starting the day after Christmas,” says Patrick Parker, Broker/Owner of Patrick Parker Realty.

“While homebuyers may not be personally visiting houses as quickly, they will be looking online. We advise that listing a home earlier helps a home stand out in the market.”

Also, when the weather outside is frightful, retirees and people in the market for a second home seek a more temperate climate.

4. There’s early movement for lower price points

The lower-price-point markets move a little earlier. If you’re a first-time homebuyer and are currently saving in preparation to buy, you might have earmarked that tax refund coming to you for the purpose.

RELATED: 7 Ways to Get A Deal During Real Estate’s Off-Season

“When these potential buyers get a refund on their taxes, they’ll sometimes use that as a down payment to roll into a purchase,” says Parker. The sooner you turn in your tax return, the sooner you’ll get your refund, usually in fewer than 21 days.

5. There’s a new administration

Speculation and uncertainty abound whenever a new administration takes the helm. If you think the Trump administration will make it tougher for people to buy a home, you might want to sell early in the year.

It is common for people to worry when reforms laid out by the new Republican platform could potentially force buyers to fork over larger down payments. This could be a challenge for many home sellers as the pool of eligible homebuyers begins to shrink. Of course, speculation is just that. But if you believe this to be true, it makes sense to sell your home now.

6. There’s a potential interest rate hike coming

Some people are concerned about rising interest rates this year. If homebuyers think rates will rise, they might buy sooner rather than later.

The interest rates have been very low for a long time, as they begin to tick up, you will start to see consumers’ buying power drop because of the cost to cover mortgage payments. It is all an unknown, but there is some thought that rates could continue to rise in 2017 like they have been doing slightly at the end of 2016.

YOUR TURN

What tips for selling your home in early 2017 do you have? Share your suggestions on the Patrick Parker Realty Facebook Page or on our Twitter or LinkedIn feed. And don’t forget to subscribe to our monthly email newsletter for articles like this delivered straight to your inbox.

How Do You Find a Real Estate Agent?

There are NO standards for Real Estate Agents. GOOGLE every Agent considered and verify everything they say

Hiring a Real Estate Agent is a job interview – someone is going to be responsible for one of the largest transactions in your life. Incredibly, studies consistently show that the majority of buyers and sellers fail to treat Agent selection seriously.

In a field with few to no established performance standards, ridiculous self-aggrandizement and bogus production reporting, how are the qualified and high producing Agents found? In about 15 minutes with Google search and seven direct questions.

Before anything, GOOGLE every New Jersey Real Estate Agent that you are considering. Real Estate has exploded with the internet; any productive Agent understands and embraces this. Examine reviews, their website, articles, social media…they will be your representative. After that, a few simple and very direct questions will narrow the pool. It’s possible Uncle Jack or Aunt Cathy won’t make the cut.

1. Are you a full-time Agent?
This question must be asked because so many Agents are not, Real Estate is a second, third or fourth job. It is impossible to effectively work part time; the speed of transactions, increased legal requirements and fluid market mandate full attention. Society has been conditioned to expect answers quickly, at all times. Agents that can’t or won’t pay attention cost clients money and opportunity.

2. How long have you been actively selling Real Estate and for whom?
Two years of full time work or about 20 personal transactions is a recommended minimum. The skills required for contracts, data collection, negotiation etc., cannot be taught in a class room. Many “discount” firms exist often housing Agents that want to hang their license at a place that doesn’t charge full fees. Research into the firm is as important as that for the Agent.

3. What are your personal production levels over the last three years?
If an Agent can’t live off their earnings, they are not producers. A full-time Agent should have at least 10-12 transactions per year personally completed, not as part of a team, an office or some other entity. Some Agents tie into office or team production – focus on their production only and be certain to verify this.

4. Verify the figure you are provided and request a copy of their report.
Personal stats must be for the Agent only – not a team or office. Request a copy of their personal production; this can be pulled off the MLS or from their Brokerage firm.

5. Is your managing Broker on site at your office and responsible for it?
Many discount firms have “Broker pools” – not specific managing Brokers that guide Agents. When things go bad and that Agent is clueless, will the Broker step up?

6. Please provide five references over the last year that I can call.
This will verify experience with past clients and by keeping the date within a year; it will demonstrate experience in the current market. Call the references and ask questions.

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Also understand the difference between Real Estate Agent references and testimonials vs. reviews. References and testimonials you receive from your prospective next Agent will always present that Agent in the most positive light. Unsolicited reviews, however, are more honest. Websites like Zillow and Trulia are great resources for Jersey Shore Real Estate Agent reviews.

7. Please provide a copy of your resume.
Every Agent likely has an alphabet of nonsensical designations; most are obtained by writing a check. Many Real Estate designations were invented during the crash as a way of generating income for various associations – don’t fall for the nonsense.

These are reasonable, direct questions; others can be added as needed. This type of pre-screening should be completed ahead of any listing appointments or before meaningful meetings begin. Obviously, there are a plethora of additional, more specific questions depending on the circumstances, but a few minutes spent ahead of time will save time and money down the road.

Selection of a Real Estate Agent is arguably the single most important decision a buyer or seller makes. Until consumers demand high standards, the problem of inept and incompetent Real Estate Agents will remain.

YOUR TURN

How did you successfully interview your last Agent? Or, did you fall just short of all due diligence an end up in a nightmare scenario? Sound of on the Patrick Parker Realty Facebook Page, on our Twitter or LinkedIn feeds, and don’t forget to subscribe to our monthly email newsletter for articles like this one delivered straight to your inbox.

8 Surprising Factors That Can Affect Your Home’s Value

 

home-value-monmouth-countyBesides the obvious factors, there are some quirky elements that can affect your home’s value. Find out what they are.

Surprise! You might know more about real estate than you think. For example, you know that square footage, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, lot size, and location determine home value: A 4,000-square-foot, five-bed, five-bath beachfront in Bradley Beach, NJ, will almost always be worth more than a 2,000-square-foot, two-bed, two-bath home on a quarter-acre lot 20 miles inland.

But those obvious factors aren’t everything you need to calculate your home’s property value estimate. Other, less obvious features can negatively or positively come into play — features you might not have considered.

Here are eight frequently overlooked (and not always fixable) things that, for better or for worse, can impact the value of your home:

1. The Name of Your Street (really!)
People typically prefer the street they live on to have a name versus a number. It’s true nationwide (with the exceptions of New York, NY, and Atlanta, GA, where there is no difference, and Denver, CO, where numbers are favored). According to a study by Trulia, “street” is the least expensive address suffix by price per square foot, and “boulevard” is the most expensive.

RELATED: Get a Complimentary Home Value Analysis

2. Your House Number
Ever heard of house numerology? This is the practice of assigning a single-digit number to your home based on its address. Let’s say your address is 1219 Main Street. Add 1 + 2 + 1 + 9 to get 13. Then add 1 + 3. Your house would be 4: good for investments and security but bad for adventure and excitement. While this type of house numerology may be passed off as a superstition, buyers who subscribe to this theory may overlook potential homes because of their numerology calculations. However, whether or not you’re into numerology, house numbers do matter. If your address is 13 (a universally unlucky number), you might choose to price your home slightly less than your neighbor at number 12 did.

3. Sketchy neighbors
The closer you live to your neighbor, the more important it will be for your tastes, habits, and personalities to jive with theirs. In a condo, the last thing a potential buyer wants is to purchase a unit where the neighbors above are noisy or inconsiderate. Owners of single-family homes can thank fastidious neighbors with good taste to increase the values of all nearby homes. But, of course, the opposite is also true: as is the case with a homeowner who had great difficulty selling their home because their next-door neighbor constructed a giant memorial dedicated to Michael Jackson on the front lawn.

4. Mature trees
Tree-huggers and environmentalists unite! It’s common practice for developers to cut down most of (or all!) the trees on a property to build homes. But mature trees almost always enhance property values. Still don’t believe it? Check out the National Tree Benefit Calculator to see the full benefits of planting specific types of trees. If you have the space, make a trip to your local nursery to discuss the best tree options for your home.

5. Crown Molding
If you’ve worked hard to select just the right neutral and serene paint color scheme that will probably attract the most buyers, you’re doing yourself a disservice if you neglect one important element: crown molding. “People love crown moldings,” says Patrick Parker, broker and owner of record of Patrick Parker Realty. “Of course, everyone loves high ceilings too,” he says. Although you can’t do anything about how high your ceilings are, you can put in crown moldings — even with lower ceilings. Just make sure they work with the scale of the room, and don’t veer too far into the trend zone.

6. Yankees Memorabilia
Yankee fans, relax. We’re not picking on just you. Although this anecdote from New Jersey happens to be about the New York baseball team, you could insert any team here. We’ve seen a home wall papered in Yankee memorabilia, even a family room adjourned with baseball themed carpeting. The verdict? Many people were turned off, especially Red Sox fans. If you don’t want to alienate a potential buyer, you might want to stash the fan gear away while your home is on the market.

7. Starbucks
And Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods. If you have any of those establishments close by, typically within a mile, up goes your property’s value. “Homes near Trader Joe’s have increased in value by an average of 40% since purchased,” says Chris Leavitt former star of the TV series Million Dollar Listing. “Nearby Starbucks and Whole Foods Markets also enjoyed double-digit gains on home value.”

8. A Death on the Property
In some states sellers must disclose whether there was a death on the property, which can be a deal breaker for some buyers. On average, once buyers find out there has been a death on the property, two out of five lose interest.

RELATED: Seller Disclosure in New Jersey

There’s even a name for a home someone died in: stigmatized. It refers to a home that has been the site of a murder, suicide, or paranormal activity or haunting. But even if your state doesn’t have a death disclosure requirement, certainly if someone asks, you should fess up. It’s the right thing to do.

YOUR TURN

Have you discovered an unusual factor while calculating your home’s property value? Share it with us on the Patrick Parker Realty Facebook Page, Twitter feed or LinkedIn profile. And don’t forget to subscribe to the monthly Patrick Parker Realty email newsletter for articles like this one delivered straight to your inbox.

Tips on Taking Quality Pictures for Your Home Listing

Chances are the first impression a potential buyer will have of a home will be from its online pictures.

Pictures for Your Home Listing

95% of homebuyers begin their search online.
A lack of or poorly taken pictures could keep a potential buyer from going to visit a listing. Listings with no pictures can expect significantly fewer online visits regardless of price, location and other important factors.

At a minimum photos should include an exterior of the property, the living area, all bedrooms and the master bathroom. More pictures can often be better. Some listing sites allow a user to sort by number of pictures. So capturing the most of a property can be a great competitive advantage to a seller.

Tips for Great Pictures:

1. Here comes the sun! Shoot exteriors on a sunny day and interiors with plenty of lights on.

2. Tidy up. Picking up clothes, cutting the lawn and other simple house maintenance will go a long way towards showing a home at its best.

3. Stay out of the picture! Nothing will distract someone viewing a listing like seeing the photographer in a mirror or window reflection.

4. Empty or unclutter closet space. Storage is a very important home buying feature. Closets packed to capacity will look significantly smaller. Take some time to clear closet space.

5. Quality matters. Crooked, pixelated or otherwise poor quality photos will turn off potential buyers no matter how great a house is staged. Wide angle lenses, tripods and proper lighting all greatly improve picture quality.

6. Step away from the iPhone! Did you know that listings with professional photos sell for more money? Not only that, but they sell quicker.  That means that listing photos are a critical factor — it will determine the selling price of a home, how quickly it sells and whether it sells at all. Your Real Estate Expert has a network of professional photographers they will use to take high-impact photos for your home listing… just another reason to list with an Agent.

RELATED: Why You’ll Make More on Your Home Sale with A Real Estate Agent

Do you have advice on the impact of quality pictures for  your home listing? Share your stories on the Patrick Parker Realty Facebook Page, Twitter Feed or on LinkedIn.  Plus don’t forget to subscribe to the monthly Patrick Parker Realty email newsletter  for articles like this one delivered straight to your inbox.

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4 Common (but Terrible) Reasons for Overpricing Your Home

We know, we know—you love your house. The kitchen is the perfect size, your weekly summer barbecues give your neighbors patio envy, and your ’70s-style conversation pit is totally coming back into vogue—as you knew it would.

You’ve seen the comps for your neighborhood, but you just know your home is worth more, so you’re going to list it at a higher price.

HAVEN’T SEEN YOUR COMPS? Request A Free Comparable Market Analysis

This is one of a few reasons why sellers overprice their home, and none are smart. If you price your home too high, it’ll take longer to sell, raising doubts in buyers’ minds about whether there’s something wrong with it, and you’ll probably have to drop the price eventually anyway.

So don’t fall for any of these five common justifications sellers use to inflate the price of their beloved property:

1. You have the Midas touch in decor (you think)
The reason that interiors are often painted white or neutral colors before a sale is that that allows potential buyers to envision what colors would make it their home. Your colorful touches might not be for everyone, and can actually devalue your house.

RELATED: To Sell Your Home Think Like A Buyer

Recently an Agent listed a home for a client whose bathrooms were all sorts of strange colors—olive-green toilets, a purple bathtub, and a pink sink. Agents need to be honest with you at all costs – pun intended. But when it was recommended to the seller a price that factored in the cost of necessary updates, things got a little heated.

The owner was upset and argued that the colorful fixtures added value, because people are tired of the all-white, stale hospital look.

So we tried the seller’s way first, listing it for his desired price. It didn’t sell, and buyers gave feedback that the home was overpriced. After weeks on the market, the seller finally agreed to lower the price. It sold within 2 weeks.

2. You’re nitpicking comps
Comps (or comparable market analysis) are valuable reference points that allow you to compare your home to similar nearby homes in order to price it right. But some sellers place too much value on ultimately negligible differences between their home and the comps.

Recently an Agent received the following feedback from a seller; “My home has a 60-gallon hot water heater; every other home has 40. My deck is 60 feet larger. My den has real barn wood paneling.”

While small features like this might be worth pointing out to potential buyers, they are not going to make or break a deal – and trying to price your home based on the size of your deck is a setup for disappointment. Plus, you might not see the flaws in your home – your deck might be big, but it might also need work.

We don’t want to be a downer; by nature, we see life through rose-colored glasses. Sadly, it can cost you when it comes to selling your home.

RELATED: Request A Free Comparable Market Analysis

3. You’re too focused on your ROI
A house is an investment, and everyone wants a return on their investment. Couple that with emotional attachment, and you’re primed to mark up your home’s value.

We often find Sellers think that their house is worth what they want or need to sell it for, but the harsh reality is that a home is worth whatever a buyer is ready, willing, and able to pay for it.

FREE DOWNLOAD: Your Ultimate Home Sellers Guide

Even in a seller’s market, there’s no guarantee that you’ll make money on your house. And just because you need $500,000 to buy that house in Shark River Hills doesn’t mean you can sell your house for the same amount.

4. You’re imagining you’ll haggle
Perhaps the most common reason people overprice their home is because they’re looking to negotiate.

On paper, it sounds like something you’d see on “Pawn Stars.” You offer up a vintage silver tea set at an inflated price. Rick Harrison offers you 25% of that, but he eventually goes up to 30%.

OK, maybe “Pawn Stars” is a bad example, but you get the idea: You price your house 10% higher, fully expecting a buyer to try to lowball you, netting you the price you wanted all along while the buyer walks away thinking he got a bargain.

It doesn’t work like that in real estate.

It’s much better to price it right and create such interest and demand where buyers are chasing you, versus you chasing the market backward [and] searching for the demand.

sell-your-home-for-top-dollar-new-jersey

RELATED: The Importance of Proper Pricing

So don’t be afraid to price your home fairly, or price it based on your Agent’s advice. This is what will attract buyers and boost the price to where it should be.

Ultimately, everything sells when it’s priced right.

FREE DOWNLOAD: Your Ultimate Home Sellers Guide

YOUR TURN

Did you recently sell your home? What experience did you have when it came to proper pricing? Are you currently selling? What are your proper pricing observations?

Sound of on our Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn pages and don’t forget to subscribe to the Patrick Parker Realty monthly Newsletter for articles like this delivered straight to your inbox.

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Five Renovations that Increase the Value of Your Home

According to HGTV, “Home improvement projects cost about 20 to 25 cents on the dollar. The other 75 to 80 cents spent go directly back into the home through increased value.”

There are some projects, however, that deliver the greatest return on investment.

Here are five renovations that add the greatest value to your home:

add-value-to-your-home-home-improvement

Kitchen
Because the kitchen is still considered the heart of the home, it’s the primary area where people seek value in a remodel. When a buyer is walking through a prospective home, the kitchen is generally the first destination on their agenda because families still spend a lot of their time there. A variety of renovation opportunities can increase the home’s value, with projects that work for any budget.

The easiest and most apparent upgrades in kitchens are for countertops and appliances; buyers almost always expect granite countertops in today’s housing market, and there are a number of alternatives to granite slab, such as granite tiles or soapstone, if slab simply isn’t an option. Likewise, stainless-steel appliances add instant value because they won’t ever go out of style due to the neutral nature of their finished look.

A larger project to consider is custom-built, solid-wood cabinetry. If the current cabinets in your kitchen are outdated and made from materials such as melamine, buyers will likely see a project they will need to take on in the future. Determine your budget and decide if extra features, such as glass cut-outs and soft-close hinges, are necessary for your renovation.

In addition, if you have a half or whole wall that breaks up the continuity of the floor plan, consider removing it to open up the space to the living area. Open floor plans are always in style, and they can make the space appear bigger.

kitchen-remodel

Bathroom
The second most important area for buyers is the bathrooms. Bathrooms are often an obvious target for renovations because they provide value easily without requiring extensive costs. Simply cleaning the space or updating it with a fresh coat of semi-gloss paint and some new grout can make a difference, so there you really have no reason not to consider customizing it.

For more involved renovations, buyers want to see updated vanities, tile or stone features and flooring, and floating glass or walk-in showers if the space can accommodate them. Be sure to keep at least one bathtub in the house; families with children require them for bath time. If a shower–bath combo fixture is the only thing that fits, accent it with unique shower curtains that fit the style of the home.

bathroom-remodel

Flooring
The floors of a house are another area that catch the buyers’ eye because they take up most of the space. Outdated tiles or dingy carpeting, wood that needs refinishing, or noticeable vinyl flooring are likely to be noticed – and red-flagged in a buyer’s mind – as something they’ll have to update after purchasing the home. Simple updates to important rooms can make a big difference in creating a sense of value.

Depending on your budget and style, you can choose from multiple ways to renovate floors. If wood flooring is the best fit for an area, options range from new or refurbished solid wood to engineered hardwood, which looks similar to solid wood but holds up better with time. The same goes for carpet, the pricing for which varies depending on the materials and thickness of padding you choose.

TIP: If you already have solid wood floors but they’re scratched or look lackluster, try refinishing them before you consider a total replacement.

The Bones
If the structural components of your home aren’t in good condition, your value will plummet. An appraiser will mark off major value points if anything is out of order, and buyers are likely to be scared off by a house that isn’t in certified working order. It’s a potential hazard to their health and safety, and the renovation project will be their responsibility after they purchase the home. In addition, if the inspector marks these areas on their checklist, you may have to fix the issues before the buyer agrees to close or risk legally disclosing the issues publicly in the future.

RELATED: The Benefits of An Advance Home Inspection

Because it’s still a buyer’s market, anything that’s not in the best isn’t likely to garner the same attention. For resale purposes, it’s critical that you have everything in working order. Realistically, everything already should be; you shouldn’t be living somewhere with faulty structuring, and neither should a future owner.

RELATED: To Sell Your Home Think Like A Buyer

TIP: If you find issues with the home and have to replace structural pieces, consider going with an eco-friendly option; buyers are becoming conscious of the trend, and it saves money and reduces waste in the long run. Check out New Home Source’s review of green building features to determine which ones will add the most value to your home.

Curb Appeal
A real estate book is always judged by its cover; before a buyer can see any of the high-value upgrades you’ve made to the interior of your home, they have to like its exterior. If the outside space isn’t updated and clean, potential buyers may not ever step inside. Simply put, if it looks like you don’t care about the outside of the home, it’s going to seem like you don’t care about the inside, either.

Updating your home’s curb appeal can as simple as cleaning things up a bit and keeping vegetation from getting overgrown and unkempt, or it can be as large and dramatic as replacing the lawn and xeriscaping with native, drought-ready plants.

Your home’s exterior is equally as important as your yard; fresh paint and clean windows can go a long way, and installing a new statement door is a guaranteed booster. If the outside looks organized and taken care of, buyers will have a sense of care and value – even if you invested minimal amounts of time and money.

If you have the space for a deck or porch, adding one is almost a guarantee that you will get your money back in the form of increased value. It’s important to have some sort of shaded structure that protects the front door – especially in areas with heavy weather and sun – so adding anything to a bare front will help. Manicured backyards are always a plus for buyers, even if they won’t use them. Regardless of your climate or the style of your home, decks and porches are features worth adding.

Runner Up
Realtors are often split on lighting renovation projects in terms of their added value; some say buyers love seeing built-in recess lighting and updated fixtures, but others claim that doing anything more than adding a dimmer to current lights is a wasted effort because buyers will probably customize the features anyway.

RELATED: Add Security and Serenity with the Outdoor Lighting Ideas

Time Sensitive
In the current real estate market, open floor plans are hot; if you want to sell soon, look for areas in your home where you can remove walls that aren’t load-bearing or take out clunky kitchen islands that don’t add to the room’s appeal. Buyers want a wide-open floor plan, and doing some of the work yourself isn’t likely to set you back too much.

Additional Tip for Today’s Sellers
Do your best to keep the value of the home in the same range as the other homes in the neighborhood; at first glance, it might seem like a good thing to out-value surrounding homes, but buyers are often wary of a house that’s too valuable to match its surroundings because it seems out of place.

FREE DOWNLOAD: How to Put Your Home on The Market and Attract Buyers Today

If the resell value is the only reason you’re renovating, it’s a good idea to conform to certain guidelines for each area of your home. If the changes are just for you and you’re only thinking about your selling ability in the future, have some fun and do it your way. Styles will always change, and if you love the updates now, they won’t represent wasted effort.

RELATED: Get A Complimentary Home Market Analysis

YOUR TURN

Did you recently sell? What improvements to your home did you find yield the best return on investment?

Sound off on the Patrick Parker Realty Facebook Page, or on our Twitter or LinkedIn feeds.

And don’t forget to subscribe to the monthly Patrick Parker Realty email newsletter for articles like these delivered straight to your inbox!

 

 

Photos source: HGTV

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