Helpful Real Estate Information
Here are seven benefits to staging your home.
1. Professionally staged homes present and show better than competing houses for sale, including new construction homes and higher-priced houses.
2. Staged properties will sell faster when compared with houses that have not been staged. From the date of listing until the day of closing, home staging shortens this time frame, even in a slow real estate market.
3. Staged properties can increase the number of offers and the selling price in hot markets.
4. Buyers view professionally staged listings as "well-maintained".
5. Buyers' agents recognize that professionally staged listings are "move-in" ready and are inclined to show staged properties.
6. Photos of professionally staged listings look better on the MLS, as well as in print.
7. Professionally staged listings "Stand-Out" in prospective buyers' minds.
(source: Real Estate Staging Association)
July 29, 2020
Eight Common Home Buyer Mistakes and Tips to Avoid Them
The first mistake first-time home buyers often make is they start shopping for a house before actually getting pre-approved for a mortgage. This is a critical mistake because it is such a competitive market and houses go so quickly that if you haven’t gotten pre-approved ahead of time the house will actually be gone to another buyer before you are actually able to submit an offer on the house. You need to be able to show the seller that you can afford the house and that you have been approved for the dollar amount that you are making an offer for. So if you wait, you’ll lose it.
The tip to avoid this particular mistake is to get pre-approved by a mortgage broker ahead of time. They’re trained to be able to look at your income and your expenses and determine exactly what your top dollar is that you can get pre-approved for, as well as how much you can actually afford on a monthly basis. This will give you peace of mind when you are actually making that offer, that you can go in with confidence and you can actually give it your best offer that you possibly can if you really want that house.
The second mistake first-time home buyers often make is they use all of their savings to actually purchase the house. They don’t save any money at all in reserves. And all of a sudden, they have some kind of a family emergency or some kind of crisis that is going to require an outlay of money and they don’t have it available to them. That creates tremendous amounts of stress to be able to make that monthly mortgage payment and keep up on things when you have no cash reserves.
The tip to avoiding this particular mistake is to calculate ahead of time the closing costs and the down payment and how much money you are actually going to need to get into the house before you start making those monthly payments. Talk to your real estate broker about some of the first-time home buyer programs that are available. So, you want to make sure you have enough reserves and it is calculated through before you actually make that offer so that not only do you have that peace of mind that you can get into the house but that you can stay in the house.
The third mistake first-time home buyers often make is that they are not decisive. They wait and they’re hesitant and anxious about making that offer. So, they go home and sleep on it and then they get back to their real estate broker the next day and say, “Yes, we definitely want to go with it” and then it’s too late. Somebody else has already made an offer on the house and the house that they really, really want, that they have contemplated and thought about has now gone to somebody else.
The tip to avoiding this particular first-time home buyer mistake is to spend time ahead of time is to spend time evaluating what your wants are and your needs are. Take a close look at a lot of different homes and what they are actually selling for. Also take a close look in terms of how many days on market, how quickly do they come on to the market, and right back off into pending status. So, the solution to this is to spend time and know exactly what you want so that you can pull the trigger when you find it.
The fourth mistake first-time home buyers often make is that they avoid the drawbacks of a particular home or a neighborhood. They fall in love with the house so quickly that they really are blinded to some of the negatives of the neighborhood or the house itself.
The tip to avoiding this particular mistake is two-fold. One, I would encourage you to spend more time finding what’s appealing to you, what are the traffic patterns, how long does it take you to commute into work, what are the schools, restaurants… is this an area that you want to live in? Secondly, as you’re starting to look at houses make a little list of pros and cons of each particular house, things that you like and that you don’t like. That way maybe you fall in love with a house that has a lot of issues and things that are going to need to be addressed that maybe you don’t want in your very first house.
The fifth mistake that first-time home buyers often make is that they get their emotions involved and they get so excited about purchasing a house that they spend more than they should. They actually overpay for their house.
The tip to avoiding this particular home buyer mistake is to spend time consulting with your real estate broker. They’re the expert. They should know. They should be able to put together a comparative market analysis for you, so you see what other like-kind homes are actually selling for and have actually sold for.
Mistake number six that first-time home buyers often make is that don’t do a home inspection. In this competitive market, it can be very tempting to avoid doing a home inspection either for the sake of making a more of an attractive offer to the seller or maybe just to avoid some additional costs at closing. However, it’s very risky not to have a home inspection. Many times, people that haven’t had an inspection, they find out that there are safety concerns or that there are some latent defects in the house. And they get a month or two, or even a year or two into the house, living in the house, and they find out there are all these concerns and all these things could have been avoided by having a home inspection.
Tip: Your real estate broker should be able to provide you a list of highly qualified, licensed home inspectors to be able to come out and do the work for you.
Mistake number seven that first-time home buyers often make is underestimating the costs of repairs or a renovation. They are often, later after they’ve purchased the house very surprised at how much additional money it actually costs to get something fixed that they were not expecting. Tip: So, make sure that you are very thorough during that home inspection period… you get multiple estimates, people out to be able to take a look at it. Even if these are repairs you are planning on doing a year or two after you’ve moved into the house, you still want to make sure you know ahead of time what the cost is for repairing or renovating that particular item of the house.
The eighth and final mistake first-time home buyers often make is applying for credit during the home buying process. Sometimes they will go out and buy a new automobile or buy some new furniture for their new house on credit or just simply apply for a new credit score. All of those things can be very detrimental to getting you the house that you really want. It may make it that you can’t qualify for a loan at all or you might just be qualified for a whole lot less money then you were intending.
The tip to avoiding this particular mistake is don’t use your credit card during the home buying process. It is that simple. Wait until after you’ve actually closed on your house. You can certainly have all those things picked out. You can have your new car picked out, the furniture that you want, you can certainly go shopping. Just don’t use your credit card to purchase it.
Buying your first home as a first-time home buyer can be very exciting. Hopefully, these eight tips will be of benefit to you. If you have any questions at all, consult with a local real estate broker who can guide you through the process and help you avoid any of the pitfalls of buying your first home.
Also, if you have any additional questions about being a first-time home buyer or just real estate questions in general, feel free to follow me on Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram.
June 24, 2020
You have found your dream home and are excited about moving in. Before this happens, you’ll need to understand how to best protect yourself and your investment if anything were to go wrong. We've received questions on the difference between home insurance and home warranties. Here is a brief description of both. If you want more information, please don't hesitate to reach out to me.
June 11, 2020
Prepping Your Pets for the Big Move
Moving Day is coming and so it's time to get all your ducks in a row. As you make your checkoff list, your furry friends need to be considered. Not only can moving be stressful for us as people, but pets can also feel anxiety. Below are some tips to help your process go smoothly.
Simple Tips to Stage Your Home
Make it easier for buyers to imagine themselves making your house their home by removing personal memorabilia, knick-knacks, and photos. Instead replace them with simple décors, such as paintings, nature images, and plants.
Modern-day buyers are leaning toward modern, crisp, clean interiors over comfy, homey looks. When staging your home, keep a minimalist mindset, and incorporate bright colors.
It is obvious to say you should clean your home before viewing, but don’t forget to cover your bases by deep cleaning the small spots. Take time to scrub porous areas like grout that may hold on to stains and baseboards where small pet hairs and dust love to cling.
The first impression your home gives to potential buyers is its exterior. Ensure you have a freshly mowed lawn, neat hedges and shrubbery, bright flowers, and a clean driveway.
If you are lucky enough to have children, you will more than likely have a lot of plastic toys, books, and gadgets lying around. Make sure to hide those during photography and showings. Tuck them into the garage, unused attic space, or closets.
There is nothing worse than a potential new buyer tripping over furniture, rugs, toys, or chairs. If anything is blocking a door, rearrange the room to make it easier for the potential buyer to navigate.
April 29, 2020
MUST-HAVE TOOLS FOR HOMEOWNERS
When you own your home, things are going to break and, unless you want to spend your money on visits from a neighborhood handyman, you’re going to need to fix them yourself. Luckily, you don’t need an arsenal of tools to handle most home maintenance fixes. These five tools will cover most of your basic projects.
1. Cordless drill - A cordless drill is a must-have for installing cabinets, drawer pulls, hinges, picture frames, shelves and hooks, and more. Whether it’s for do-it-yourself projects or repairs, you’ll use your cordless drill just about every month
2. Shop-vac - No matter how careful you are, spills and accidents will happen and there are some tasks that just can’t be handled with paper towels or a standard vacuum, like pet messes or broken glass.
3. Loppers - Even the minimum amount of care for your landscaping will require some loppers to remove damaged branches, vines, thick weeds, and any other unruly plants in your yard.
4. Flashlight - You’re going to want something a little more powerful than your iPhone flashlight when you’re in the crawlspace
5. Drain cleaners - Shower and bathroom sink drains are susceptible to clogs because of the daily buildup of hair and whisker clippings. You can use chemical clog removers like Drano, but they’re expensive and the lingering chemical scent is unpleasant. Instead, buy some plastic drain cleaners that can reach into the drain to pull out the clog of hair and gunk. You can purchase them on Amazon or at a local hardware store for a low price.
April 22, 2020
THE BENEFITS OF A CMA
A CMA is an extremely helpful tool I use to determine what the market is saying. What is a CMA, you ask? A CMA stands for Comparative Market Analysis. It is a side-by-side comparison report of homes currently for sale and homes that have sold in the same neighborhood or area as yours. I will typically include new listings (for sale), pending sales (under contract), closed sales (properties sold), and expired listings (failed to sell).
CMAs can wildly vary depending on the knowledge, skill level, and experience of the agent inputting the search parameters, as well as the data fields that are chosen. This is a delicate and critical job that will help you achieve maximum success. Online sources can sometimes spit out un-scrubbed and unverified information so they are not always recommended.
The following factors are used for putting together your CMA.
Location - Comparable active, pending, or sold listings from your neighborhood or surrounding area. A report of every house sold on your street or nearby will be pulled so that specific trending data can be reviewed.
Size - Generally speaking, comparable properties within 10% of the square footage is used.
Age - If available, properties of the same year will be used. If not, properties within just a few years will be utilized.
Other details - There are other parameters that will be considered to determine the most accurate results. These include bedrooms, bathrooms, garage spaces, living areas, how many stories are in the home, lot square footage, and more.
After all the data is compiled and aggregated, each comparable property is painstakingly gone through, photographs and property descriptions are assessed and sometimes active listings are even visited. Once all the data is comprehensively analyzed, the critical step of setting the value of your home is set and a comprehensive report is created for you.
Because I have lived in this area for over 35 years, I have had the opportunity to become intimately familiar with our local neighborhoods and know the trends of the real estate market. If you would like a CMA done on your home, please don't hesitate to call and I would be happy to serve you.
April 15, 2020
So, what should you expect if you are going out to view a house?
1) All viewings are by appointment only and so your real estate agent will need to arrange a specific time for you to see the home. In the past, vacant homes could be seen without an appointment. This is no longer the case.
2) Two people are allowed in the home at a time. This means that the real estate broker and one other person are allowed on the property at a time. If there is more than one person who would like to view the home, the real estate agent will have to show them separately.
3) While in the house both the agent and the client shall follow social guidelines established by the CDC by remaining at least 6 feet apart.
Here at Eagle Rise we are committed to remaining safe and smart during this time. I will be wearing a mask and gloves and maintaining at least 6 feet away during any showings. Also, after the showing is done, hand sanitizer will be provided if you'd like to use it. I am also committed to serving you in the best way I possibly can.
April 8, 2020
CURRENT REAL ESTATE THOUGHTS
Residential Real Estate is currently undergoing disruption and uncertainty just as the spring market was beginning to take off. Guidelines affecting how real estate brokers conduct business has evolved. It is expected that all sales numbers will decline in April and May as a direct result of the governor’s “Stay Home” order that became effective on March 26th.
Following statewide orders, the market virtually froze for a few days but began picking up after real estate guidelines were adjusted to support social distancing. For a period of time, real estate was not considered an essential service.
April and May will likely be transition months before the market begins to return to a more typical activity level. Currently, properties are being shown by appointment only to continue to avoid large gatherings.
The good news is it is a great time for both home buyers and sellers! Buyers enjoy access to extremely low-interest rates to stretch their purchasing power and the motivated sellers have a pool of buyers. With a shortage of inventory in many price ranges, the focus remains on each new listing.
If you are looking to buy or sell, please reach out. I’ll educate and guide you through the process!
Brian Davis, Managing Broker of Eagle Rise Real Estate, LLC
April 1, 2020
One of the most tedious and disheartening aspects of selling a home is dealing with the home inspection and working through the requested repairs. Think of how much sellers could eliminate or at least diminish that stressful part of a home sale beforehand.
March 27, 2020
Brian Davis, Managing Broker of Eagle Rise Real Estate, LLC
March 17, 2020
Feeling stir-crazy from being at home? Right now is a very unique time. Many of us are self-quarantining or working from home because of COVID-19. The weather report shows that we should be in store for some good weather in the next week so it might be an opportune chance for you to get the outside of your home either ready for selling or for outdoor living this summer. Working in the yard is also a great way to get outdoors and still maintain the social distancing that is being encouraged. Some of you have your kids home and this is a fantastic way for them to get their energy out while helping get the yard spruced up. It might not be easy or feasible to go to a nursery or a home improvement store right now to pick up plants, flowers and mulch, however, there are things you can do without having to leave your home.
March 10, 2020
PREPARING FOR OUTDOOR LIVING
Monday was beautiful and gives us a glimpse of what is to come. Days of outdoor living are just around the corner. Whether you are intending on listing your home or just planning on hanging out with your family and friends, an old dingy deck is not very appealing. Lucky for you, refreshing it doesn't have to be difficult or expensive. Try your hand at the makeover ideas below.
Restore Your Decking - Depending on the shape it is in, sometimes all your deck needs is a little love. If it's still fairly new, your deck might just need a deep cleaning and a new coat of sealant. There is a multitude of deck finishing and cleaning solutions on the market to choose from to achieve this. However, if it's more worn down, the rejuvenation process may be a bit longer, including searching for larger repairs, tightening any hardware, giving it a good cleaning, applying stain, sealant, and paint.
Add Lighting - Ambient lighting can completely transform your outside space into a relaxing, cozy oasis. Consider adding solar lights that don't require a plug-in or battery replacement. The lights turn automatically on when the sun sets, making your deck come alive. Of course, sometimes this doesn't work as well with some of our cloudy days. Instead, you can consider string lights, rope lights, mason jar lamps, or small twinkle lights. There are many, many options depending on the style and mood you'd like to set.
Build a Privacy Screen - Privacy screens come in all styles, shapes, and sizes. Consider purchasing and installing bamboo fencing or lattice panels for a quick and easy solution. Or, if you are feeling a little more adventurous, you can build a wooden frame and grow climbing plants or vines or stretch outdoor fabric in between. Whichever route you end up choosing, make sure you get the most out of your efforts by evaluating all lines sight before building.
Outdoor Fixtures - Depending on the condition of your outdoor furniture will determine what route to take. Sometimes all your outdoor furniture needs is a good cleaning. A hose and a rub down will make it look new. A little touch-up paint can also go a long way. Whether your cushions are worn out or if you just need a fresh look, exchanging out your cushions can give your deck area a whole, new inviting appearance. Want a cozy place for when it gets cooler? Add a stand-alone gas fire pit. There are some very economical ones available now!
Whatever you decide to do, enjoy the process, and then kick back and enjoy your outdoor living space!
March 3, 2020
OPEN OR CLOSED FLOOR PLAN?
Open Floor Plan
*Spaces Appear Larger *Less private
*Better Natural Light *Potentially higher energy costs
*Easier Accessibility *Potentially Noisy
*Possible Better Resale Value *Smells may Travel and Linger
*Line of Sight *Design needs to be cohesive throughout
*Room for plenty of furniture entire large space
Closed Floor Plan
*More walls to decorate *Less Natural Light
*More Privacy *Rooms May Feel Cramped
*Better Sound Control *No Line of Sight
*Messes are Contained *Less Accessible
*Individual Style & Theme per *Possible Lower Resale Value
*Potentially lower energy bills
FIRST IMPRESSION COUNTS – MAKE IT A POSITIVE ONE
First impressions are very important when selling your home. It is estimated that more than half of all houses are sold before buyers even get out of their cars. When your buyer drives up to the house you have for sale, you want it to be as attractive as possible for them, drawing them in and causing them to want to see more. Now that we have a reprieve from the rain and the sun is out, it is a lot easier to think about the outside of our homes making sure it has plenty of curb appeal.
It is first important to stand back from your home and take an objective look. Sometimes it is difficult for sellers to do this. We either get used to our surroundings or get emotionally attached to our own style. By stepping back and distancing oneself emotionally, it enables one to do a more thorough and critical look. Looking at your home through the “buyer’s eyes” can help you prepare your home to sell for the best price in the least amount of time. If it helps, get a friend to come out and help. I also would be glad to assist you.
Second, make a “to-do” list focusing on that first impression aspect. Some of the things to look for are as follows:
*Walkways – Clean walkways that are coming up to the house. A clean walkway invites buyers to come in. Making sure the sidewalks in front of your home are clean is important too.
*Lawns – A mowed, edged yard is attractive and inviting.
*Flower beds – Mulch, colorful flowers, and weed-free beds are attractive to the buyer’s eye.
*Front door/ welcome mat – The front door is one of the first things prospective buyers see. If it shows signs of wear – clean it, stain it, or paint it.
*Trash and Debris – A clean yard shows buyers that your house has been taken care of.
For a more complete list, please feel free to contact me at 425-442-1298 or email me at email@example.com.
TIPS FOR GETTING YOUR HOME READY TO SELL
Spring is in the air. The sun broke through and shone nice and bright this last Monday giving us a hint of what is to come. Although rain is in the forecast for a while longer, we know that those warm days are coming. With spring comes an uptick in the Real Estate Market. Statistically speaking more homes are listed in April than any other month. If you are a buyer, this is great news because there are more choices out there. If you are one of those many homeowners that are planning on selling, it is a cue to get your home ready so that it is in great condition to get the highest price.
Although there are many things to do to get your home ready to sell, I have three basic tips to prep your home. Starting with these three things will get you well on your way to getting your home ready.
When you think about the idea of decluttering, think of maximum floor space and maximum counter space (this includes tabletops, desks, etc.). As you look around at the floors and flat spaces, identify those items that don't belong and make these areas are as clean as possible. Sometimes it is hard to look at our own areas objectively. If this is the case, find a friend you trust who will help you look at your space honestly. I can also help you with this. The more uncluttered and unencumbered floor space the buyer can see, the larger and more inviting your home will feel.
A good deep clean is an absolute necessity after you have removed the clutter. This involves cleaning your home both inside and out. The floors, walls, baseboards, doors, and all surfaces in your home should be thoroughly cleaned. If possible, the outside of your home and the driveways, and walkways should be power washed. When it comes to cleaning, I recommend that you either form a cleaning crew (you and three or more friends) or better yet, simply hire a cleaning service. This will save you a lot of time and emotional stress if it’s in the budget.
Once your home is decluttered and clean, it’s time to paint! Take a good look at each of the walls, baseboards, doors, windowsills, and ceilings around your home. In some cases, they will just need to be touched up here and there; other areas will need to be entirely repainted. Be objective and make a list. Then decide whether you will or will not do the work yourself or hire someone. Painting is relatively inexpensive. It is probably the least expensive way to make a dramatic improvement to your home.
February 4, 2020
Tips for Mentally Preparing for Selling Your Home
It is said that one of the top five stressors in life is moving. Being aware of this is a good start but implementing some strategies ahead of time can alleviate and circumvent a lot of the pressure that might come along in the process. Here are five strategies to practice that are recommended.
1) Be positive
This can be a tough one, especially if you are in a position where you have to move out of necessity. Make a conscious decision to have a thankful attitude. Read inspirational books, attend church and prayer meetings, and help those less fortunate than you. When those negative thoughts come creeping in (or screaming in!) dispel them immediately and replace them with positive thoughts. Mindset is huge in the moving process!
2) Get a coach
Find a mentor or a close, personal friend. Spend a few minutes a week discussing your thoughts and feelings. In my real estate practice, I can help coach you throughout the process.
3) Visualize the final outcome
If you are moving by choice, spend some time seeing yourself in your next home. (After the dust settles!) This gives you a goal to work towards. If you are moving out of necessity, realize that there is a light at the end of the tunnel and see yourself in that better life. (living within your financial means, future opportunities, etc.)
4) Prayer and meditation
Studies have found that prayer and meditation are very beneficial when facing a stressful decision. Try spending 15 to 20 minutes in prayer and/or meditation each day. You can pray with a friend.
Getting your thoughts out of your head and down on paper is a very freeing exercise. Others may find it easier to record their thoughts using a smart phone app or another device. Even if you simply voice your thoughts (speaking them aloud), it will help. Ask yourself questions like “what do I enjoy or not enjoy about this process?” or ”what do I expect for the future in what I am doing now?”
Townhouse vs. Condo: Which Should You Buy?
January 22, 2020
What to Repair Before You List
When you’re getting ready to list your home, it’s of utmost importance to ensure you are showing it in the best light. Taking time to highlight its strengths and fix up some of its possible weaknesses can make a big difference in how fast it sells. Here are our top five recommended repairs to make before selling your home.
Giving your home a fresh coat of paint is one of the most cost-effective ways to spruce it up. Generally, this can be a do-it-yourself project. Make sure to cover any walls that have scratches and chips and consider updating any accent walls with a more neutral coat.
2. Repair Floors
Hardwood floors are a very desirable feature in a home, so you want to ensure they look their best by fixing scratches or dull areas. If your carpet is worn or stained, consider replacing them. Also, don’t forget the tile in your kitchen or bathrooms. Re-grouting can go a long way in making dingy tile look brand new!
3. Refresh the Landscaping
Show buyers your home is the full package by dressing up the outside as well as the inside. Clean walkways and driveways, plant seasonal flowers and plants, trim hedges and trees, install outdoor décor pieces and fill in mulch and gravel.
4. Fix your Fixtures
Leaky faucet? Rusted drains? Loose drawer handle? Making these small fixes can make a big difference to potential buyers with detailed-oriented minds.
5. Improve your Kitchen
An outdated kitchen can be a real eyesore in a home. Updating cabinetry, repairing, or replacing countertops, and installing new faucets and sinks may be worth the investment.
January 15, 2020
Your Guide to the Home Appraisal
You’ve found your dream home and now it’s time to cross all your T's and dot all your I's before it’s all your own. And one of the first items on your closing checklist - the home appraisal. So, what exactly is that?
The home appraisal is essentially a value assessment of the home and property. It is conducted by a certified third party and is used to determine whether the home is priced appropriately.
During a home appraisal, the appraiser conducts a complete visual inspection of the interior and exterior of the home. He or she factors in a variety of things, including the home’s floor plan functionality, condition, location, school district, fixtures, lot size, and more. An upward adjustment is generally made if the home has a deck, a view, or a large yard. The appraiser will also compare the home to several similar homes that were sold within the last six months in the area.
The final report must include a street map showing the property and the ones compared, photographs of the interior and exterior, an explanation on how the square footage was calculated, market sales data, public land records, and more.
After it is complete, the lender uses the information found to ensure that the property is worth the amount they are investing in. This is a safe-guard for the lender as the home acts as collateral for the mortgage. If the buyer defaults on the mortgage and goes into foreclosure, the lender generally sells the home to recover the money borrowed.