7 Reasons Your House Isn’t Selling

FE_PR_091211money425x283US News recently offered some great advise on why our home may not be moving as quickly as you’d like it to despite a busy housing market this spring and summer.

Housing is back. The market is starting to hum again—even roar in some areas, with demand outstripping supply. A new report from the National Association of Realtors shows that sales of existing homes in February saw the most growth in more than three years. But a stronger market isn’t a guarantee that you can sell your house. There will always be reasons people won’t buy what you’re offering.

If you’ve been having bad luck on the market, you may want to cross the street, hold up a mirror and take a good, long look. According to numerous housing experts, the most common reasons your house isn’t selling are the following.

1. You’re pricing it too high. “Without question, the No. 1 reason a home doesn’t sell is price,” says Bill Golden, an independent, Atlanta-based Realtor who sells for ReMax and has been in the real estate market for 26 years. “Sellers have an emotional attachment to their homes and tend not to objective about the true value.”

2. Your house is kind of run-down. This doesn’t mean you need to renovate your kitchen or fix your leaky roof. Well, you do need to fix the leaky roof, but you don’t need to spend $40,000 on a new kitchen. “Sometimes it’s as easy as doing some fresh landscaping or a fresh coat of paint in certain areas,” says Golden.

And you may think your house is a fixer-upper, and that you’re likely to attract some handy do-it-yourselfers, but Alix Prince, a vice president and broker at Julia B. Fee Sotheby’s International Realty, in Rye, N.Y., is skeptical.

“Today’s buyers are busy,” she says. “They are looking for properties where they can ‘unpack’ without doing a lot in renovations or decorating. Properties that are in need of TLC are at a disadvantage since two-income families would prefer to spend their weekend relaxing rather than redecorating.”

3. Your house isn’t run-down, but it looks like it might be. “Any signs of water damage can be a huge turn-off to potential buyers. Take a water spot on the ceiling. The offending roof might have been fixed 15 years ago, but if the evidence is still there, buyers will assume there’s still a problem,” says Jessi Hall, a real estate writer for the Columbia, Mo.-based Veterans United Home Loans, which provides home loans to veterans. “Water damage makes buyers understandably jumpy, and can keep a home on the market indefinitely.”

4. There’s too much “you” in the house. It sounds cruel, but you want to sell your house to other people, who can imagine themselves living in your house. Simply put, you are not them.

“This is perhaps the most common problem of all,” says Joshua Mogal, founder of eco+historical homes, a San Francisco-based company that specializes in renovating historic homes using eco-friendly materials. “Buyers rarely have the same tastes as sellers.”

Jessica Edwards, a Coldwell Banker Real Estate consumer specialist and agent in Wilmington, N.C., agrees, saying, “If you love the beach and palm trees, putting a palm tree in every single room may not be fit for everyone.”

What to do? Mogal and Edwards recommend moving your stuff, or at least some of it, out of the house and painting the rooms neutral colors so the buyer’s imagination can start taking flight.

5. You are inflexible. No offense, but maybe you aren’t showing your house off enough? If you aren’t using a real estate agent and work away from your home, your time might be limited, of course. But you should try to make your house as accessible and available as possible for a Realtor and a potential homebuyer to easily drop by and take a tour (which means having the place clean, too).

“Having your home be shown only by appointment or only at designated times will severely cut down on the number of showings you get,” says Golden, “and if the house isn’t getting shown, it isn’t going to get sold.”

6. You aren’t advertising your home properly. If you aren’t a photographer or much of a writer, you may be giving your potential buyers an underwhelming idea of what it would be like to live where you live, according to Edwards. Conversely, she adds that you don’t want your photos and prose to blow away homebuyers too much, if your house can’t live up to what you’re posting online or in brochures.

“A description that doesn’t meet a homebuyer’s expectation when visiting the property in person may also contribute to a failed site,” Edwards says.

7. Your house is poorly located or poorly planned. As you suspect, there’s really not much you can do about either problem.

It’s just a reality that some homeowners have to deal with, says Mogal, who adds that one problem you may be able to fix relatively easy is if the lot has a major drawback. Maybe the yard is extremely small, or there’s an awkward hill that makes it challenging to mow a lawn. In that case, “great landscaping could be helpful,” says Mogal.

If you are having trouble selling your home, and you don’t think it’s due to any of the aforementioned reasons, Golden recommends bringing in a neutral, objective third party to take a look at your house and make suggestions.

“There are things such as a bad odor in the home, a dog or cat smell, or mildew, or tidiness of the home” that can affect how a potential buyer is going to view your property, says Golden.

Even little fixes, he says, like keeping the blinds open to let in more light or adjusting the temperature so it’s less cold or warm can make a buyer more optimistic that they could have a future where you live. If you don’t or can’t do that, you might as well pull up a chair and get comfortable. You aren’t going anywhere.

 

Source: http://money.usnews.com/money/personal-finance/articles/2013/03/26/7-reasons-your-house-isnt-selling

Rising Interest Rates and the Local Housing Market

Petersen Partners’s very own John Morris was recently featured in an NBC Nightly News story about the impact of rising interest rates on potential home buyers. Watch the segment here to see how rising interest rates and an over 12% increase in home values is making it harder for home buyers to find the home of their dreams. Could interest rates be hurting the local housing market’s recovery?

Rising Rates

http://www.nbcnews.com/id/3032619/#52538959

 

Design the Driveway of Your Dreams

Bob Vila is the home improvement expert widely known as host of TV’s This Old House, Bob Vila’s Home Again, and Bob Vila. Today, Bob continues his mission to help people upgrade their homes and improve their lives with advice online at BobVila.com. Driveway 1Check out his tips for a dream driveway.

The driveway does more than lead your car from the garage to the curb and back again. Whether it’s a straight shot paved with asphalt or a curved course laid in brick, a visitor’s positive first impression of your home depends on smart driveway design.

Plan ahead

Unlike some other “curb appeal” elements — outdoor lighting, for instance — the driveway is a long-term investment that deserves careful consideration and thoughtful planning. Soil type, drainage and local climate must all be taken into account, no matter what type of driveway you plan to install — be it brick, gravel, pea stone or concrete pavers.

Maintenance matters

It may be tempting to choose a driveway material on the basis of aesthetics alone, or with your eye only on the price tag. But since you’ll be living with your decision for years, it’s wise to compare different materials’ maintenance requirements. For example, asphalt, poured concrete and concrete pavers must be resealed every couple of years to protect the driveway’s color and finish. The look of gravel driveways, by comparison, remains consistent over time, though every five years or so their stones must be replenished. My advice, in short: Before deciding on a driveway material, ask yourself how much effort — and how much money — you feel comfortable committing to its upkeep.

Pavers and permeability

More and more popular are paver driveways. These carry a relatively high upfront cost of installation, but maintenance demands and costs are relatively low. Composed of interlocking cement pavers, a driveway of this type typically performs better than asphalt or concrete under cold and wet conditions. Even if pavers shift, crack or chip, they’re easy and inexpensive to replace. But don’t count out asphalt and concrete, both of which have seen advancements in recent years. Nowadays you can get versions of these materials that are permeable and less vulnerable to cracking in areas with tough winters.

Stormwater management

No matter what material you choose, minimizing your driveway’s area and designing it thoughtfully can help control issues of pollution, erosion and flash flooding. Crown the surface and plant rain gardens in low areas to catch and filter water runoff. Avoid draining gutters into your driveway and to keep your basement dry, be sure to slope any paved areas away from the house.

Brick is beautiful but expensive, so many homeowners don’t consider it. Of all those mentioned here, however, a brick driveway is the option most likely to improve a home’s resale value. So when designing your new driveway, consider not only immediate factors — looks and cost — but also lasting concerns, such as maintenance, the environment and the question of when or if you’ll move.

 

Source: http://www.nwherald.com/2013/03/29/design-the-driveway-of-your-dreams/ast6nv7/

 

Realtors Association Offers Selling Advice

25f703f9-f764-5322-9c2b-97a5ad682ac5Many homeowners consider putting their homes on the market as spring approaches. It’s a good idea to take a look at the house through a different perspective, according to Coulby Dunn, president of the Pike/Wayne Association of Realtors®.

“I advise sellers to walk through their property as though they were buyers,” said Dunn. “Start at the curb and look at the house because that’s where many potential buyers make their first decision,” he said.

Bette McTamney, president of the Pennsylvania Association of Realtors®, agrees, “Exterior curb appeal hits potential buyers first, so consider painting the front door, clean the light fixtures and wash the windows. Bright sunshine in a home really shows off the property.”

Home Stagers concur that sellers don’t get a second chance for a first impression. Barb Schwarz, the Creator of the Home Staging®, said, “You consider this your home but to sell it, it has to become a house and a product. Your house must be as presentable and fresh as possible because that’s what the buyer is going to expect. Buyers are very discerning today and they want the very best.”

De-cluttering is key to making the inside of the house appealing, said Dunn. “Find a local storage unit and pack up many of your belongings,” he said. “Go through your closets and reduce what’s in them. You’ll start your own packing process and make the house look more attractive.”

Schwarz added, “Buyers only know what they see, not the way it’s going to be. So pack up your favorite doll or tea cup collections. Make sure the house looks clean, uncluttered and smells fresh. The impression they have when they first open the front door sets the tone of the rest of the showing.”

“If you want top dollar for your house, you need to put some extra effort into cleaning it,” McTamney concurs. “Everyone is getting ready to list their home; you want your home to show at its best.”

Dunn said, “It’s important to freshen up the entryway of a home. Every nick or hand print on the wall sticks out to a potential buyer.”

“Buyers want the house to be extremely clean,” Schwarz said. “They will notice dirty light switches, faucets and sinks. It’s important for your house to be extremely clean so the potential buyers don’t make harsh judgments.”

Updating the walls and flooring to be more neutral tones allows buyers to envision themselves in your house. Schwarz recommends small pops of moveable color, such as a brightly colored pillow, artwork or bedspread will bring warmth into the room but will make it easy for the buyer to picture himself in the living space.

“Sellers need to remember that longevity on the market means one thing… a reduction in price,” Schwarz said. “Making a few changes before the house is listed helps the moment the Realtor® begins to market the property.”

A Realtor® is instrumental in helping the transaction go smoothly, according to Dunn. “Realtors® are trained to properly price your house, market your property, negotiate for you and get the best price for your home.”

For more information on how to prepare to list a home, contact our team of Realtors at 678-439-6699 or visit us online at www.PetersenPartners.com.

 

Source: http://www.neagle.com/article/20130323/NEWS/130329925

Painting Tips of the Pros

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A successful do-it-yourself painting project takes more than the right tools and a steady hand. Follow these tips and tricks from American Home Shield to make your walls look like they were painted by a pro.

 

Preparation.

  • Take your time. That’s what the professionals do. Remember that proper prepping and cleanup can take longer than the actual painting.
  • Use rubber-backed drop cloths to cover your floors. Old bed sheets and canvas cloths don’t give complete protection.
  • Store all hardware from outlets and switch plates in a baggie, and label with masking tape.
  • When filling cracks in the baseboard with caulk, cut the tip of the tube smaller than you think it should be. Too much caulk can make a mess.
  • Invest in high-quality woven roller covers. The cheap ones will leave fuzz on your wall and need to be replaced more frequently.
  • To make a perfectly straight line with tape, invest in a tape machine.
  • For an extra-professional touch, smooth down drywall – no matter what shape it’s in – with a drywall pole sander. If your walls are plaster, gently sand the necessary areas with a dry sanding sponge.
  • Don’t forgo primer. A good primer will seal stains, establish an even base and ensure that the topcoat goes on smoothly.

Painting.

  • Don’t open your paint can with a screwdriver, as it can damage the lid. Instead, use a lid opener. Many hardware stores will give these away for free when you purchase paint.
  • Always stir the paint with a long wooden stick (usually available at the store for free) until all the sediment on the bottom has been mixed in.
  • Use a nail to tap four small, evenly spaced holes in the lip well of a paint can. This will allow extra paint that’s trapped in the rim to drip down.
  • Don’t submerge a brush into the paint more than one-third of the way, or you’ll clog the base of the bristles, making clean up more difficult.
  • Apply a coat of paint to the backside of the light switch plate in the room. After it dries, jot down all the project details – date, paint brand, name, number of gallons required,number of coats applied and any other relevant information.

Clean up.

  • Don’t waste time cleaning if you’re going to be painting the next day. Place rollers and brushes in Ziploc or plastic bags and store them in the fridge. Make sure you allow them to return to room temperature before reusing.
  • If the store didn’t do this for you, dab some paint on the lid to help you identify the color later. Write the name and number of the paint on the lid with a permanent marker.
  • Use a screwdriver wrapped in an old t-shirt or rag to wipe the rim of the paint can clean.
  • To avoid damaging the lid, don’t seal the can with a hammer. Use a rubber mallet instead.
  • Store cans upside down to create a tight seal around the lid. Because latex paints are water-based, keep them where they won’t freeze.