5 Simple Ways To Increase Your Property Value

Selling your home? Make improvements to your home to increase the likelihood that you will get a higher offer. Even small and inexpensive updates can make a difference. Do these projects before you put up your listing and schedule a staging.
(By CENTURY 21 on August 6th, 2014)

Property Value Image

Here are five simple ways to increase your property value when it’s time to sell:

1. Rethink your home’s layout: If you have three bedrooms and a home office, take out the office to make your house a four bedroom home. Removing bedrooms may decrease the value of your home. Turn it into an office, gym, or craft room then turn it back to a bedroom when you’re ready to sell. (Forbes)

2. Remove clutter: Making rooms look neat and clean is always a necessity, but take it one step further and remove the clutter and personal items from your rooms. Taking out photos, magazines, and little decorations will make the room look bigger and taking away personal items will help your buyers envision their lives there. (Forbes)

3. Front yard makeovers: The saying goes, “Don’t judge a book by its cover” but when it comes to real estate, that is hard to live by. The first impression of your home is the front yard so make sure it is neat and tidy. Plant some new flowers, mow the lawn, and touch up any exterior paint that might need some attention. (DIY Network)

4. Maintenance work: The last thing buyers want to see when they walk into your kitchen or bathroom is rusty, leaking pipes, or a faucet that looks like it has seen better days. Take a weekend and give attention to any little repairs around the house. It could be as easy as replacing old door knobs and faucets. Paint your home neutral colors to minimize the chance that your design aesthetic will clash with the aesthetic of your potential buyers. (This Old House)

5. Update appliances: The kitchen is a huge selling point for potential buyers. If your kitchen appliances are old and outdated buy newer versions. While you’re at it, take your kitchen from good to great without breaking the bank.

Complete these simple tasks before selling your home to increase the likelihood that you’ll get a higher offer.

- See more at: http://blog.century21.com/2014/08/5-simple-ways-to-increase-your-property-value/#sthash.1K2Ufjic.dpuf

Changes to the B of A Short Sale process

Considering a short sale as a Bank of America mortgage holder? Well make sure you hire an experienced, proven short-sale agent and that they are current on that lender’s process.

Below describes some new changes to B of A’s shot sale process imperative tot he successful completion of your short sale.

(Re-Printed from B of A email correspondence 07/31/2014)

Bank of America Help for Homeowners in Sacramento and Elk Groveac

Bank of America Help for Homeowners in Sacramento and Elk Groveac

The new Initiation Package assists a homeowner through the Short Sale process.  Starting mid-July, homeowners will receive a short sale Initiation Package upon initiating a short sale and not being reviewed for a home retention option. Included in the package is the Borrower Election Form that will now be required before proceeding with a short sale.The short sale transaction will no longer continue and no other homeowner documentation or offers will be reviewed until the signed Borrower Election Form is received and verified by the Short Sale Specialist. As a reminder, for your agent, a valid Third-Party Authorization Form is also required and must be verified in order to proceed with the transaction.

As a homeowner, thoroughly read this package including the Homeowner Checklist. This package contains a list of financial documents that may be required to complete a short sale. B of A’s ability to evaluate the homeowner for a short sale, as well as postpone collection and foreclosure efforts, depends on their receipt of all necessary documents. Upon initiation, a Short Sale Specialist will continue to contact your agent, to discuss the next steps in the short sale process.

Initiation Package Includes:

  1. Homeowner Checklist
  2. Information on Loan Assistance Programs
  3. Frequently Asked Questions
  4. Important Notice to Help You Avoid Foreclosure Scams
  5. Borrower Election Form – now required upon initiation
  6. Third-Party Authorization
  7. Request for Mortgage Assistance (RMA) form
  8. IRS Form 4506-T

Please note: initiating directly into a short sale, through Equator, is not an option for Federal Housing Administration (FHA) investor properties. Homeowners must always discuss their situation with their Customer Relationship Manager (CRM), who can help them identify if they qualify for an exception to proceed with a short sale without doing a full home retention review.


Short Sale Customer / Agent Care
1.866.880.1232

bankofamerica.com/shortsaleagent

If you have questions, first contact your short sale specialist (or closing officer) through Equator messaging. If there’s no response after two days, escalate to the team lead.

For urgent needs (such as a foreclosure postponement) or for escalation beyond the team lead, contact Short Sale Customer/Agent Care at 1.866.880.1232.

Visit the Agent Resource Center at bankofamerica.com/sh

Buyers: How High Should You Go? Creating the perfect real estate purchase offer

How Much is Too Much?

How Much is Too Much?

Deciding how much to offer a seller for a home you’d love to own is rarely easy. Ideally, your offer price should not be above what you think the property is worth or what you can afford, but tempting enough to the seller that he can’t refuse to accept.

Arriving at that perfect offer price is harder in some markets than others, and it depends on a lot of factors that are beyond your control. For example, in buyers’ markets where there is a lot of inventory, you may find more realistic sellers who understand that they need to be flexible if they want to sell. In sellers’ markets where there are more buyers than sellers, you may have no choice but to offer more than the asking price if you hope to be the successful bidder.

The first step to arriving at an effective offer price is to find out how much properties similar to the one you’re interested in have been selling for recently. Look at the relationship between the list and sale prices of each listing. Did they sell for more or less than the asking price? How long did it take them to sell? Your real estate agent can provide you with this information. Ask for a Comparative or Competitive Market Analysis (CMA) for the listing in question.

Then ask your agent to talk to the listing agent and find out how much attention the listing is receiving. Are there any other buyers serious about writing offers? If so, you’ll have to offer more than you will if there is no other serious interest.

How much you need to offer to pique the seller’s interest will depend a lot on how long the listing has been on the market. A seller may snub a less-than-asking-price offer if the listing is new on the market. However, if the listing is weeks old and there are plenty of new listings coming on the market each week, you may be successful with an offer for less than asking.

How much a seller will negotiate usually depends on several factors: how long the property has been on the market, whether the seller is motivated (that is, he really needs rather than just wants to sell) and how realistic the seller is about the current value of his home.

HOUSE HUNTING TIP: You can save yourself a lot of time and aggravation by asking your agent to have a heart-to-heart talk with the listing agent before you make an offer, particularly if you intend to offer significantly less than the list price. If the seller is adamant about his price, and there are plenty of other similar listings on the market, devote your energies to a seller who is willing to sell at market value.

Some buyers wonder if they should pay over asking in a strong market that could lose steam over the next year as interest rates rise. That depends on how the listing is priced. If it’s priced below market value, it could attract multiple offers. If the property will suit your long-term needs, it may be reasonable to pay more than the list price as long as it’s not more than you can afford now and for the long term. You won’t lose money unless you have to sell during a down market.

Don’t be afraid to negotiate if you’re not in competition. Some motivated sellers still can’t resist trying for a higher price. Several rounds of counteroffers back and forth could bring about a successful conclusion.

THE CLOSING: But, promise yourself to walk away if the seller doesn’t see the light.

 

(Article courtesy of “ClientDirect – by By Dian Hymer)

WHAT’S YOUR STYLE? A Guide to America’s Most Common Home Styles

What's Your Style? This modern home is usually accompanied by minimalist interior design. Is that your style?

What’s Your Style? This modern home is usually accompanied by minimalist interior design. Is that your style?

Styles of houses vary across the country. From the New England Cape Cod to the Victorians of San Francisco, the choices are almost endless. Knowing which style you prefer is one of the basic elements in your hunt for the perfect home.

Following is a quick guide to help you recognize and use the professional terms for many of the most prevalent house styles:

Ranch Style

Ranch Style

Ranch: These long, low houses rank among the most popular types in the country. The ranch, which developed from early homes in the West and Southwest, is one-story with a low pitched room. The raised ranch, which is also common is the U.S.. has two levels, each accessible from the home’s entry foyer, which features staircases to both upper and lower levels.

Cape Cod

Cape Cod

Cape Cod: This compact story-and-a-half house is small and symmetrical with a central entrance and a step, gable roof. Brick, wood or aluminum siding are the materials most commonly seen.

Georgian Style

Georgian Style

Georgian: Popular in New England, the Georgian has a very formal appearance with tow or three stories and classic lines. Usually built of red brick, the rectangular house has thin columns alongside the entry, and multi-paned windows above the door and throughout the house. Two large chimneys rise high above the roof at each end.

Tudor

Tudor

Tudor: Modeled after the English country cottage. Tudor styling features trademark dark-wood timbering set against light-colored stucco that highlights the top half of the house and frames the numerous windows. The bottom half of the house is often made of brick.

Queen Anne Victorian

Queen Anne Victorian

Queen Anne/Victorian: Developed from styles originated in Great Britain, these homes are usually two-story frame with large rooms, high ceilings and porches along the front and sometimes sides of the house. Peaked roofs and ornamental wood trim, many times referred to as “gingerbread,” decorate these elaborate homes.

Pueblo Santa Fe Style

Pueblo Santa Fe Style

Pueblo/Santa Fe Style – Popular in the Southwest, these homes are either frame or adobe brick with a stucco exterior. The flat rood has protruding, rounded beams called vigas. One or two story, the homes feature covered/enclosed patios and an abundance of tile.

Dutch Colonial

Dutch Colonial

Dutch Colonial – the Dutch Colonial has two or two-and-one-half stories covered by a gambrel roof (having two lopes on each side, with the lower slope steeper than the upper, flatter slope) and eaves that flare outward. This style is traditionally make of brick or shingles.

New England Colonial

New England Colonial

New England Colonial – This two-and-one-half story early American style is box like with a gable roof. The traditional material is narrow clapboard siding and a shingle roof. The small-pane, double-hung windows usually have working wood shutters.

Southern Colonial

Southern Colonial

Southern Colonial: this large, two-to-three-story frame house is world famous for its large front columns and wide porches.

Split Level Home

Split Level Home

Split-levels: Split-level houses have one living level about half a floor above the other living level. When this type of home is built on three different levels, it is called a tri-level.

 

 

These are just a few of the many styles of homes available across the country – some are more prominent in different areas than others. Knowing home style terms will help you zero in on the type of house that will fill your needs and suit your taste.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About Century 21 Real Estate LLC – Century 21 Real Estate LLC (century21.com) is the franchisor of the world’s largest residential real estate sales organization, providing comprehensive training and marketing support for the CENTURY 21 System. The System is comprised of approximately 7,100 independently owned and operated franchised broker offices in 74 countries and territories worldwide with more than 100,000 sales professionals. Century 21 Real Estate LLC is a subsidiary of Realogy Holdings Corp. (NYSE: RLGY), a global leader in real estate franchising and provider of real estate brokerage, relocation and settlement services.

©2013 Century 21 Real Estate LLC. All Rights Reserved CENTURY 21® and the CENTURY 21 Logo are Registered Trademarks Owned By Century 21 Real Estate LLC. Century 21 Real Estate LLC fully supports the principles of the Fair Housing Act and the Equal Opportunity Act. Each CENTURY 21 Office is Independently Owned and Operated.

The 8 Top Seller Mistakes of The Summer & How to Correct Them

"Did I Do that?"

“Did I Do that?”

(re-print, Trulia 6/24/14, Michael Corbett)

With the positive momentum in the market, more home owners are ready to put their homes on the market and make a sale. But beware—when prices are up and inventory is down, more sellers become overconfident and careless with their sale.

Here are eight of the top ways sellers sabotage their own home sale, and tips to save the day.

1. Refusing to Make Obvious Repairs Prior to Sale.
Agents tell sellers this everyday, all day: “You will lose money if you don’t take care of repairs before the house goes on the market.” Showing a house when there are leaking faucets, cracks in the walls, water stains on the ceiling, and a busted hot water heater are all ways to turn off potential buyers.

What Sellers Need to Hear: “Shelling out the money may seem like an extravagant expense—especially if you don’t think that the repair will add much to the value of your home. Trust me—time and time buyers over estimate the cost of a repair, so they are going to try to get what they think the repair will cost, and that’s going to cost you more in big credits or discounts!”

2. Ignoring the Backyard
Everybody knows that fantastic front curb appeal sells homes, but many sellers forget what’s out back. In the summer and fall months, everyone’s attention turns to the outside spaces, where they dream of warm summer nights and outdoor entertaining.

What Sellers Need to Hear: “If you don’t maximize and capitalize on your backyard, you are missing a huge component of your warm weather living spaces. That back yard patio is not just for storage of old bikes and broken patio furniture that should have been thrown out years ago. In a buyer’s eyes, it can be the most important ‘room’ in the house. You need to stage your backyard and outdoor entertaining areas as beautifully as you would the interior of your home. Green grass, flowers and trimmed trees should be the same standard as your curb-appealed front.”

3. Hiding Problem Issues From the Buyers
Far too many agents have watched too many home sellers pay out big bucks because they didn’t “reveal it all.”

What Sellers Need to Hear: “Disclose! Disclose! Disclose! Once you have an accepted offer, sellers are required to fill out disclosure statements. If you did renovations to the house without a permit over the years, disclose. If there was a roof leak that damaged the attic two years ago, disclose. If the electrical blows every time you run the dishwasher and the microwave at the same time, disclose. You know the history of the home better than anyone, and we need to work together so that we know how to address any potential issues. The buyers will find out eventually. And if you knowingly have kept things from them, it sets the tone for an ugly and difficult closing. Not to mention that you are setting yourself up for the liability.”

4. Getting Egotistical When Negotiating
Every agent has had that seller who just simply cannot fathom that a buyer would even think to make such a low offer, but the truth is that most of the time, the buyer doesn’t mean to offend the seller. Heck, the buyer may even know that the home is outside of their price range, but they may just love it so much that they couldn’t resist making an offer. Too many sellers take negotiations personally and lose out on creating a win-win deal.

What Sellers Need to Hear: “Real estate transactions are business deals. Plain and simple. There is no room for ego here. If an offer comes in low, the mistake is to be insulted and not counter back. Always counter back and keep deals in play. Keep your ego out of the equation and put your head back into it. Remember your end goal: getting your house sold and having a smooth and successful closing.”

5. Using Lousy Photos (and Not Helping their Agent Get Great Ones)
Ninety percent of all home shoppers start their home search online, and nothing can tank a home sale like terrible listing photos. But sometimes sellers don’t understand the importance of fantastic listing pictures—and that can mean that agents need to resort to grabbing a few fast photos on a cell phone or on a rainy day. After all, the only thing worst than terrible listing photos are listings with no photos at all.

What Sellers Need to Hear: “Think back to when you were originally looking for a home. Even if you were house hunting when online wasn’t a huge thing, you probably remember that seeing a home told you more about it than any text ever could. Even in a sellers market, great photos can help draw in the best buyers—the ones who will be willing to make a big offer on this property.”

6. Holding On to Clutter and Junk
For as long as buying and selling a home has been a “thing” (so a very long time) there have been sellers that say, “Oh the house looks fine. Buyer’s will see right past all my boxes and collections of plaster cookie jars and shelves overflowing with nick-knacks.” Big mistake. Huge.

What Sellers Need to Hear: “It may sound like a good idea, but it’s not a smart approach. Believe me, I have seen homes come on the market that could have sold much faster, had the home owners spent just one weekend depersonalizing and removing all the extra things inside the home. Clutter makes your home seem smaller, ultimately eating equity and killing deals. Take inventory of all your possessions and think to yourself: should I save it, store it, sell it, or chuck it? It may seem like a solid amount of work, but one weekend of work could mean thousands of dollars come closing.”

7. Selling A House Via “For Sale by Owner” (FSBO)
When the market is hot, many people think that selling their home on their own is easily doable. “Who wouldn’t want to save on commission?” think many sellers. Despite the lure of not having to pay an agent a commission, sellers need the expertise and know-how of a professional, who can help navigate the stacks of paperwork, provide priceless neighborhood knowledge—and negotiate on the seller’s behalf.

What Sellers Need to Hear: “The numbers don’t lie: the typical FSBO home sold for $174,900, compared to $215,000 for agent-assisted home sales. There may be more to a home sale than you realize. Let me walk you through what type of service I can provide you with.”

8. Overpricing the Home
For agents, this is the one major seller mistake that we see the most frequently. It is a misstep that seems to rear its head whenever the market seems like it’s heating up.

What Sellers Need to Hear: “Yes, the market is hot. But not hot enough that you can push the envelope and price it for way more that the comps will support. Overpricing your home is dangerous —and you can end up burned in this ‘hot market.’ You run the risk that your home will sit on the market for weeks and months and become the stale listing that every home seller wants to avoid. Know the competition and set the right price—never overprice too high in hopes that someone will unknowingly overpay. Let me walk you through the data.”

There they are — the biggest selling mistakes of the season.

3 “Kee” tips on how to save really quickly for a downpayment!

small ways

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What would you change?

What would you change to make this kitchen show better? In an effort to help sellers understand the importance of staging (or cleaning) your home before listing, I like to let you tell them, instead of me… it might go down easier coming from you.

Found this image in a current listing on MLS. Been on the market 31 days…hmmm.
http://ow.ly/i/5Nv4u