Many people think that staging a home effectively is a matter of money, but there are easy ways to dress it up and make it shine that don’t come with a high cost. If you’re looking for some economical tips that will go a long way in making a positive impression, here are a few ways to get your home prepared.
Pack Away The Personal
There are certain unique features in any house that can have a positive impact on potential homebuyers, but personal items will actually make it harder for guests to imagine themselves in your home. For a cost-free save, ensure that you pack away personal mementos and pictures so that guests aren’t distracted by the details of your life.
Keep It Clutter Free
An untidy home will have an instantly negative impact on the perception of your visitors, so you may want to enlist the help of your entire family to clean it from top to bottom. Instead of keeping papers and magazines that have been sitting around for years, sift through any coffee table piles and bedroom corners and discard all the things that will catch the eye too easily.
Take Out The Toolbox
If you’ve been postponing a few minor fix-ups like a damaged shelf or a loose door, now is the time to head to the hardware store and get these jobs done. Potential homebuyers will be looking at every aspect of your home, and maintenance will figure heavily into how interested they are, so an inability to deal with the small details can cue them to a home they shouldn’t invest in.
Do A Deep Clean
Cleaning the house, especially a sizeable one, can be the bane of many a homeowner but there’s no other time that cleaning properly is more important than when you’re staging it. While a dirty, dusty house may mean your guests won’t pay attention to your home’s best features, a newly clean home will provide visitors with a blank canvas from which to draw their conclusions.
From major overhauls to unique decorations that draw the eye, there are many great ways to stage a home, but making the small fixes and doing a deep clean are easy to do and don’t require a lot of cash. If you’re preparing to put your home on the market, you may want to contact one of our local real estate professionals for more information.
The spring is the most popular time of the year when it comes to real estate, and it’s a good time for a few fix ups if you’re putting your home on the market. While you may have a lot of different things to do before you’re ready for your first showing, here are the four things to keep at the top of the list.
Complete The Forgotten-About Fixes
If you’ve lived in your home for a while, it’s entirely possible that there’s a damaged baseboard or broken door latch that you haven’t gotten around to fixing; however, these are the things that a potential buyer will quickly notice. Instead of leaving it to chance, make a note of the little fixes and complete them before you set a date for a showing.
Do A Spring Clean
Packing up all of your stuff for a big move can be quite a gargantuan task, but taking advantage of spring-cleaning to clear out some old stuff will make the selling process a lot smoother. Not only will this force you to look at your home with new eyes, it means there will be little less to organize and de-clutter when it comes to staging time.
Break Out The Paint Cans
It’s important to stay away from colors that are too bold, but taking your brush to the paint can bring a lot to what viewers will take away from your home. Instead of a dull coat or chip marks, potential homebuyers will see your home in its best light. As painting your home can be quite a sizeable task, make sure you take this on well in advance of putting your home up for sale.
Check Out The Exterior
There’s often enough cleaning to do inside the home that the exterior is forgotten about, but this is the first thing a new visitor to your property will see. Instead of sticking to the inside, make sure that your lawn is mowed, any flowers beds are well groomed, and make sure that nothing appears out of place or disheveled.
There’s a lot to be done before putting your home on the market, but by following these tips you’ll be well on your way to a positive home staging. If you’re almost ready to sell and are weighing your options, contact your trusted real estate professional for more information.
Last week’s economic news included the NAHB Housing Market Index, reports on housing starts, building reports and existing home sales. Minutes of the Federal Reserve’s last FOMC meeting were also released.
Homebuilder Confidence Unchanged, Housing Starts and Building Permits Increase
The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) reported that builder confidence held steady with a reading of 58 in May. Analysts projected a reading of 58 and April’s reading was also 58. Builder confidence in market conditions could be slowing due to concerns over acquiring skilled labor and a shortage of developed lots. Demand for homes remains high, but a slim inventory of available properties and builder emphasis on higher-priced homes contributed to sidelining moderate income and first-time buyers.
Commerce Department reports for April Housing Starts and Building Permits issued suggest that tight housing inventories may receive some relief. April housing starts rose from a revised March reading of 1.099 million to 1.170 million starts. Housing starts increased by 6.60 percent in April. Housing starts have slowed as compared to the year-over-year period from April 2015 to 2016; housing starts increased by 10 percent for the same year-over-year period in 2015. While any increase in home construction is welcome, some analysts said that they did not expect a huge increase in home construction in coming months.
Construction of multifamily housing units rose by 10.70 percent, while single-family home construction increased by 3.30 percent. Rising rents and millennials delaying home purchases were seen as fueling multifamily home construction. As homes become less affordable, would-be buyers are continuing to rent, which places higher demand on rental units.
Pre-owned Home Sales Rise in April
Sales of previously owned homes rose by 1.70 percent in April to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 5.45 million sales. Sales increased by 12.10 percent in the Midwest, where homes are most affordable, and fell by 1.70 percent in the West, where homes are most costly. This development suggests that rapidly rising home prices have or will soon reach maximum levels in high-cost areas. Home prices in many areas rose rapidly in preceding months as short inventory and high demand created bidding wars and keen competition for available homes. A lack of affordable single family homes has caused some buyers to buy condos while others have put buying on hold.
Mortgage Rates Rise, New Jobless Claims Fall
Mortgage rates rose for 30-year fixed rate mortgages rose by one basis point to 3.58 percent; the average rate for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage was unchanged at 2.82 percent and the average rate for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage rose by two basis points to 2.80 percent. Discount points were 0.60, 0.50 and 0.50 percent respectively. Analysts are watching the Fed closely for any indication that it will raise the target federal funds rate in June, although concerns over the possibility of Great Britain leaving the European Union could cause the Fed to hold off on raising the rate. If the Fed raises the target federal funds rate, loan rates for credit cards and mortgages would also increase.
New jobless claims fell last week to 278,000 new claims against expectations of 279,000 new claims and the prior week’s reading of 294,000 new claims. Analysts said that a telecommunications strike caused the prior week’s raise in claims as striking workers who are replaced during a strike are eligible for jobless benefits.
This week’s scheduled economic releases include new and pending home sales along with weekly reports on mortgage rates and new jobless claims.
From the cleaning to the organizing to the small fix-ups around the house, there can be a lot of minor details that go into staging a successful open house. However, there are a few essential items you should be sure not to forget about when you prep your home for an influx of potential buyers.
Choose The Right Time
If you happen to be selling your home in the busy season, it’s important to set your open house at a time that gives potential buyers room to breathe. While weekends are a popular time for open houses, you may want to choose a day or time that is a little different from other homes in your area. This means visitors to your home will be able to take their time and really see the details that make your home distinct and worth a second look.
The Exterior Speaks Volumes
With so much cleaning and so many small maintenance duties, it can be easy to forget about the first thing that guests will see when they show up at your doorstep, the exterior. However, this will provide the initial impression so you’ll want to ensure that it’s a positive one. Before organizing your open house, make sure the lawn is cleared and cut, the hedges are trimmed and your doorway is well maintained.
Make The Marketing Count
If you’ve primed your home for your open house, it’s important to ensure your marketing efforts are up to snuff and will get people through the door. While your real estate agent should feature your home and some professional photos on their website, you should also consider handing out flyers to your neighbors and advertising on social media to reach anyone who might be interested.
Engage All The Senses
It might sound strange, but a house that smells and sounds good in addition to a house that looks good can actually work wonders in swinging a buyer in the direction of your home. While having a clean, clutter-free place is ideal, you may want to consider baking beforehand or even leaving a little music on so people will feel relaxed and right at home.
There are a lot of little tricks that go into a successful open house and it’s important to utilize all of them to get the best results. If you’re putting your home on the market, contact your trusted local real estate professional for more information.
So you’ve been a homeowner for some time. You’ve been faithfully paying off your mortgage for years, and you have a fair bit of equity built up in your home – and that makes you proud. But now, you’re wondering what good equity is if you’re not using it.
How do you actually use home equity? And how do you leverage it to get a high return for low risk? Here are just a few options you may want to consider if you’re looking for something to do with your equity.
Use A Home Equity Loan Or HELOC To Pay Off High-Interest Debt
If you have a certain amount of money invested in your home, you can borrow against that investment by taking out a home equity loan or a Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC). A home equity loan is ideal for borrowing a large amount of money for a specific purpose, whereas a HELOC works much the same way a credit card does – you can use credit as needed, then pay back what you owe. And if you have a lot of high-interest debt, one of these vehicles could be a great way to pay off your creditors – while it may seem like borrowing from Peter to pay Paul, you actually save thousands of dollars in interest rates by paying off high-interest debt using a lower-interest HELOC or home equity loan.
Buy An Investment Property With A Home Equity Loan
If you’ve been looking to enter the real estate investment market but haven’t had the liquid funds for a deposit, leveraging your home equity in the form of a loan can get you into the landlord game quickly and easily. This is a smart move because while you are taking on more debt, you’re doing so in order to create a new income stream. Ideally, you’ll want to buy a duplex or a home with a granny suite so that you can maximize your investment by renting out more than one dwelling space.
Downsize To A Smaller House And Invest The Difference
Perhaps you’re living in a large house that has seen its value appreciate in recent years, and you’re looking to move in the near future. Selling your large home and moving into a smaller, less expensive home is a great way to simply turn your home’s equity into cash – cash that you can invest.
Leveraging your home equity can be a smart move if it’s done with a larger goal and a solid strategy in mind. But when done irresponsibly, taking equity out of your home can have severe consequences. Talk to your local real estate professional today to learn more about smart options for leveraging home equity.
The National Association of Home Builders reported that home builder confidence in the U.S. housing market conditions held steady for the fourth consecutive month in May. Builder confidence stayed at a reading of 58, which was the number expected by analysts and was also the reading for April. Analysts said that the consistency in readings signified expansion in housing markets. Any reading over 50 indicates that more builders than not are confident about market conditions.
Components of the NAHB Housing Market Index include readings on builder confidence in current market conditions which held steady at 63 and builder confidence in market conditions over the next six months, which gained three points to a reading of 54. Builder confidence in foot traffic for new home developments was unchanged at a reading of 44.
NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz said that the higher reading for future sales indicates growing builder confidence in housing market conditions. In recent months, housing markets have been fueled by low mortgage rates and high demand, but supplies of available homes are dwindling. Housing industry analysts have identified building new homes as a major solution for the shortage of homes for sale.
Analysts note that while new homes represent a small part of the residential real estate market, each new home constructed contributes an average of three jobs for a year and yields an average of $90,000 in tax revenue for each home built. Builders repeatedly cite a lack of workers and buildable lots as a concern for building more homes. An NAHB analysis of the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ report on Job Openings and Labor Turnover indicated that there were 210,000 unfilled construction jobs in March, which was the highest reading since May 2007.
Regional surveys of home builder sentiment were mixed. The reading for the Northeast fell by 3 points to 41 while readings for the Midwest and South rose by one point each with readings of 58 and 59 respectively. The reading for the West was unchanged at 67.
Low Mortgage Rates: Will the Fed Raise Rates in June?
In other housing related news, analysts’ predictions are mixed regarding whether or not the Federal Reserve will raise its target funds rate next month when the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meets. Uncertainties over the United Kingdom’s upcoming vote about leaving the European Union and mixed economic data appear likely to nix a rate increase, but improving labor markets could be a plus for a fed rate increase. Raising the federal funds rate would cause mortgage rates to rise and is considered a further concern for the gap between growing wages and rapidly rising home prices.
The rush of excitement that comes with finding the home you’ve been looking for is ideal, but just because it seems like the perfect place, it doesn’t mean there aren’t other factors to consider. Instead of getting hit with buyer’s remorse, here are some tips so that your home purchase doesn’t become something you’ll regret.
Forget About The Competition
If you’re contemplating a house and happen to be dragged into a bidding war, it’s important to take a step back and determine if it’s really the right home for you. It can be easy to get carried away and up your offer, but make sure you determine what the home is really worth to you.
Take A Second Look
If you’ve been to a lot of home viewings and have finally found a place you feel good about, it can be easy to overlook the minor details. Instead of trusting your memory, make sure you visit the home a couple of times before putting in an offer so you’ll be aware of any major flaws you might have missed the first time around.
Visit The Neighborhood
The instant appeal of a home that seems perfect for your family can be unexpected, but it’s worth considering the neighborhood you’re going to be living in to ensure it’s livable. A home is one thing, but local amenities and an area your family feels comfortable will come to be equally important.
Avoid A Fixer-Upper
The kind of home you can fix up might make for a fun project for the DIY person, but biting off more than you can chew in an effort to save can be a mistake. A few small renovations may not be a big issue, but a home that needs a lot of changes will likely end up being more of a burden once the deal is sealed.
Stick To Your Purchase Price
Many people get so overwhelmed when they find a unique place to settle that their price point flies out the window. However, instead of making allowances for a purchase price you can’t really swing, keep what’s affordable in mind and be sure you don’t veer too far above it.
It can be exciting to find the kind of home you’re looking for in a center you love, but it’s important to pay a price that’s affordable and get the home you really want. If you’re currently looking for real estate options in your area, contact your local real estate professional for more information.
Last week’s economic news included reports on retail sales and consumer sentiment along with weekly releases on new jobless claims and mortgage rates.
Retail sales jumped 1.30 percent in April as compared to the March reading of 0.30 percent. Retail sales excluding the automotive sector rose from 0.40 percent growth in March to 0.80 percent growth in April. Both retail sales reports exceeded expectations. Growth in consumer spending suggests higher confidence in economic conditions and may lead potential homebuyers to consider buying rather than renting their homes.
Consumer sentiment jumped in May to a reading of 95.8 as compared to an expected reading of 89.5 and April’s reading of 89.0. This reading further supports easing of consumer concerns over current economic conditions and could bode well for housing markets as the peak sales season continues. May’s reading was the highest in nearly a year according to the University of Michigan, which conducts the Consumer Sentiment Survey.
Mortgage Rates Fall, New Jobless Claims Rise
Housing markets received a boost as average mortgage rates reported by Freddie Mac fell. The rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage fell by four basis points to 3.57 percent; the rate for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage was five points lower at 2.81 percent. The average rate for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage was two basis points lower at 2.78 percent. Discount points averaged 0.50 percent for all three types of mortgages.
In spite of good economic news, lower mortgage rates and higher consumer sentiment, new jobless claims jumped to a 14-month high of 294,000 new claims from the prior week’s reading of 274,000 new claims and expectations of 270,000 new claims. Analysts said this increase could indicate softening of labor markets. Putting last week’s urge in claims in perspective, new claims remained below the benchmark reading of 300,000 new claims for 62 consecutive weeks, which is the longest period since 1973.
Labor laws in New York State likely influenced the jump in claims as certain school workers are allowed to file for unemployment benefits during spring break. A strike by some telecommunications workers likely contributed to the abrupt rise in new jobless claims. Analysts noted that New York allows striking employees replaced by their employers while on strike to collect unemployment benefits, and that new claims were near historically low levels in all other states.
This week’s scheduled economic reports include the National Association of Home Builders Housing Market Index and Commerce Department reports on housing starts and building permits issued. Monthly reports on inflation are also expected.The National Association of Realtors® will release its report on existing home sales. Weekly reports on new jobless claims and mortgage rates will also be released.
Whether you’re moving into your first apartment or preparing to purchase a second home, Ikea is a favorite for those trying to economically fill up the extra space in their home. While Ikea may have plenty of inexpensive options that you might not think can be dressed up, there are actually a lot of simple pieces that you can add to for a stylish, DIY look that will take no time at all.
Cue The Cocktails
The popularity of the bar cart has seen a resurgence, but many of these decorative pieces can be quite pricey for the person who isn’t sure they want to commit to the cost. Instead of shelling out of for this overpriced piece, purchase the BYGEL utility cart from Ikea for less than $50 dollars and spray paint it in the color of your choice. While this will serve as a basic bar cart, it will easily look the part with some glasses, liquor bottles and an ice bucket.
Bring On The Board Games
With its four square legs and flattop, the LACK table is one of the plainest items in IKEA, but this inexpensive table can be fixed up as part of a fun activity with your kids. Once you’ve purchased your own brightly colored table, pick up some paint and using stencils paint the family’s favorite board game right onto its surface. Whether it happens to be backgammon, chess or Monopoly, this will add a lot of personality to the family room.
Create Your Own Sitting Table
The EXBY ALEX shelf is a relatively simple shelving unit that attaches to a wall for extra storage space, but it can also serve as a perfect starting point for an item that’s completely different. Instead of attaching this shelf to the wall, add a set of legs so the unit will serve as a cabinet without any need for wall mounting. While this will still serve as an understated piece, it can say a lot more about your room than the average wall cabinet.
Many people head to IKEA for the economical furniture options, but it’s also a great place for coming up with your own home DIY projects that are sure to make for a unique look. If you’re planning on purchasing a home and are looking for interesting furniture to fill it with, you may want to contact your trusted local real estate professional for more information.
Making renovations that are energy efficient is not just a great way to reduce energy output, but it’s also an effective way of decreasing monthly utility costs. It serves as a one-time investment that will save money in the long run.
However, renovations are costly and not everybody has the extra finances required to make energy efficient changes. This is where the VA’s energy efficient mortgage (or EEM) program comes into play.
The program is designed to allow veterans to apply for a new mortgage or refinance an existing one with extra funds to renovate the home to be up to energy efficient standards.
The Three Tiers Under The VA’s Energy Efficient Mortgage Program
The VA has three tiers for the cost of renovations to be done under the EEM program. The lowest, and easiest to be accepted for, is for improvements that will total under $3,000. A list of costs or a contractor’s quote may be required in the application process.
The second tier is for renovations that will cost between $3,001 and $6,000. This will require the homeowner or homebuyer to get a Home Energy Rating System report to detail how efficient a home is currently and what can be done to decrease its HERS rating.
The final tier is for any improvements to the home that will cost over $6,000. This is the most difficult tier to receive acceptance for as both the Department of Veterans Affairs and the private lender will need to approve the renovations.
Types Of Improvements Under The EEM Program
The program covers a variety of renovations for the home. These include: new insulation to walls, floors and ceilings, solar powered heating and cooling systems, thermal doors, thermal windows and new caulking and weather stripping.
There are also items that will not be covered by the program, including new roofing, vinyl siding and air conditioning units.
Using The EEM Program To Receive A Larger Loan
Any veteran or currently active military member looking to buy a brand new home can still benefit greatly from the energy efficient mortgage program. If a new home undergoes a HERS report and passes as being energy efficient, this can be applied to a VA mortgage to receive as much as $6,000 extra on the loan.
Speak with your local mortgage professional to go into more detail on the intricacies of refinancing under the EEM program and whether or not your home will qualify.