5 Reasons Why December is a Perfect Time to Sell a Home

Festive Christmas wreath decorated front door

Many people think the real estate market comes to a screeching halt in December, but it’s actually an excellent time to sell your home!

Here are 5 reasons to buy or sell a home during the holidays.

1. Serious Buyers:  Buyers who are house hunting during December are serious about finding a new home!  The amount of buyers looking during the holidays are lower, but those who are looking are ready and wanting to buy and they’re not messing around!

2. Low Supply:  There is a reduction in home inventory during the holiday season   which mean there is less competition.  When the new year rolls around the supply of homes will increase which means more competition, longer days on market and potentially less money for your home.

3. More time:  Although December can be a busy month full of holiday parties and shopping, it is also a time when buyers have less demanding work schedules. This gives a serious buyer time to look for a new home, especially if the buyers needs to find a new home in a short amount of time (see #5!)

4. Move in the Spring: Just because you sell in December doesn’t mean you need to pack up and move right away.  You can negotiate a longer closing period or an extended use and occupancy.

5. Capturing the Relocating Buyer: January is the beginning of a new year and new jobs in new cities for some.  When someone starts a new position out of state they need a home,  and they need it ASAP!  These buyers can’t wait until the spring market to buy, your house should be on the market to capture this unique buyer opportunity!

Buying a home is probably the most significant financial commitment you’ll ever make. Whether you’re a first time buyer or building your dream home, HUFF Realty will help you through the entire home buying experience!

 

 

 

 

Winter is coming: Time to highlight price improvements

winter

The fall shopping season is in full swing, but before you know it, the winter selling season will be here. With this in mind, many agents may start to think they’re in for a little bit of a lull, but that doesn’t have to be the case. New data confirms what many in the industry have long suspected: The best time to save on a home purchase is the late autumn and into winter, and that can help to facilitate more home sales even in these fallow months.

In nearly every major metro area of the U.S., home prices peak around June and July, and start to drop off once fall arrives, according to new research from NerdWallet. The average sales price fell nearly 3 percent in fall compared with summer, bringing more than $8,300 in savings to the average buyer. But the drops got even steeper in January and February, and agents can highlight this fact to buoy sales after the holiday season wraps up.

Why do some homebuyers wait?
In 48 of the 50 cities examined, sales prices hit their lowest point in January or February. The other two cities saw the lowest prices in March and April, still ahead of the traditional spring buying season. In general, the average savings available in the first two full months of winter was about 8.45 percent in comparison with summer highs, bringing even more savings to hopeful shoppers.

This fact means bargain hunters can get into the market when it’s not nearly as busy to potentially lock in a sterling deal. Agents who highlight this fact with concrete numbers may be in line to benefit most from the annual lull.

“I think there’s a certain amount of inertia that exists in the market because people have been told the best time to buy is when the most homes are on the market,” Jonathan Smoke, chief economist for Realtor.com, told NerdWallet. “When, actually, depending on what your goals and objectives are, the actual reverse could be true.”

Why it’s wise to buy in winter
Many families choose to buy even when prices are high simply because of convenience, according to Trulia. Many families have kids in school during winter, and home shopping might not be easy for them to squeeze in. Further, with summer shoppers, sellers who want to pursue real estate sales often have a hopeful deadline of the start of school. As such, many homes see their prices marked down in fall and winter simply because they’ve often been on the market for a few months, and sellers’ agents often take this time to reevaluate their positions as owners become more eager to sell their properties.

These kinds of soft deadlines can exist for buyers in fall as well. Many may want to be all moved in for the holiday season. That fact is just another reason why waiting until winter to buy typically affords such steep price improvements.

Brought to you by HMS Home Warranty.  HMS is an industry leader with over 30 years of creating success for clients and providing peace of mind for customers.  To learn more click www.hmsnational.com.

Minor Renovations to Recommend Ahead of a Sale

hammer

It’s important to let clients know when they’ve done enough home improvements for a sale, otherwise hopeful sellers might not know when to stop taking up minor home repairs.

The importance of an agent’s expertise here may be especially true when it comes to some of the bigger changes owners might think of making, according to Chase. While it’s almost always a good idea for owners to make sure they’ve fixed up some of the minor aspects of their home that can get a little worn out by years of use, agents would generally be wise to caution against major overhauls. Renovating bedrooms and stairways may sound nice, but the return on investment sellers will generally get might not always be there, especially if they choose to do the work themselves.

“Do as little as you can do for the most impact,” Peter Fressola, a real estate agent based in New Jersey, told Chase.

Some simple fixes
Often, a fresh coat of paint and a little sweat equity can make every renovation dollar stretch farther than homeowners might expect. For instance, repainting walls to muted, neutral colors might make them seem more attractive to a wider variety of buyers. This fact is also true of tearing up old, worn carpets and replacing them with hardwood floors, which agents know buyers love to see. The investment here is often minimal but can really help boost a sales price in short order, so advising clients to take them on is often a good idea.

Agents might also want to let owners know when their yards could use a bit of work. Spending some time brightening up a front yard with some flowering plants or making sure a lawn doesn’t have any dead patches can go a long way. After all, a front yard is a visitor’s first introduction to a home, so making it as bright and welcoming as possible is a great idea.

Often, these are things that agents might take for granted. But just because they know the basics here doesn’t mean owners do as well. Imparting a little bit of the expertise that comes from years in the business can send owners in the right direction.

Other minor improvements that pay off
Further fixes for homeowners to at least investigate in this regard include baseboards and molding, according to the Newnan Times-Herald. While these features might not initially stand out as something potential buyers will want to inspect, agents typically know full well many shoppers search a home up and down for any opportunity to negotiate. With this idea in mind, advising sellers that they might need to do a little more to make sure their properties are up to snuff will go a long way.

When facilitating real estate sales, one of an agent’s most important roles is that of an adviser. Many homeowners who choose to become sellers may not have a lot of experience in dealing with these issues, so an agent’s say-so will likely go a long way toward helping them make the best possible decisions throughout the process.

Brought to you by HMS Home Warranty.  HMS is an industry leader with over 30 years of creating success for clients and providing peace of mind for customers.  To learn more click www.hmsnational.com.

HUFF Realty’s Toy Drive For Shriners Hospitals

vox_pic

For 18 years, HUFF Realty has held a toy drive for Shriners Hospitals for Children. Each year, HUFF Realty agents and employees are able to provide both monetary and toy donations to this great cause.

HUFF Realty encourages members of the community to drop off donations at one of their local offices. Monetary and toy donations are accepted.

The Cincinnati Shriners Hospital is a 30-bed hospital dedicated to the treatment of pediatric burns as well as specializing in plastic and reconstructive conditions such as cleft lip and palate. All care is provided regardless of the families’ ability to pay.

toy-pic02

Upon admission, every child receives several toys that provide entertainment and comfort during their treatment.

Shriners Hospitals for Children is changing lives every day through innovative pediatric specialty care, world-class research and outstanding medical education. Their 22 facilities, located in the United States, Canada and Mexico, provide advanced care for children with orthopedic conditions, burns, spinal cord injuries, and cleft lip and palate. Shriners Hospitals for Children is a nonprofit organization and relies on the generosity of donors to continue improving the lives of children.

For a list of items needed and drop off locations visit http://www.huff.com/shriners-toy-drive.aspx.

 

Six Open House Questions To Be Prepared To Answer

Estate agent showing a family a house

Open houses might be fun for home shoppers, but to agents, they’re work.  Your feedback is the market research they need to do their jobs right.   If you know the questions open house agents are going to ask then you can be prepared with answers.  All you need is little preparation   Here is your cheat sheet to some of the questions you may face at an open house:

1.The question:  How long have you been looking?

Why they’re asking:  The agent is trying to determine how serious you are in buying a new home.   If you’ve only been looking for a few weeks, the agent will understand you are just getting your feet wet and trying to figure out what you are looking for in a new home.  If you have been on the home search for months, the agent will recognize you are a serious buyer and may dig in further to find out what you’re looking for.

How you should answer:  Be honest and specific.  This is harmless information.

2.The question:  Are you working with an agent exclusively?

Why they’re asking:  This question sets the tone of the conversation.  If you are represented by an agent, they open house agent cannot try to represent you.  Many agents doing business in the same area know each other so don’t be caught off guard if the agent asks who your agent is.  The agent will likely call your agent to get your feedback on the home.

How you should answer:  If you are working with an agent, say so!  If you are asked to sign in with your name, give your agent’s contact information rather than your info. That’s all the agent needs to follow up.

3.The question:  How does this house compare to other’s you’ve seen?

Why they’re asking:  Now that the agent knows you have been looking at other homes, they want to know how their listing compares to others on the market.  What better feedback than from a home buyer who has toured other homes nearby.

How you should answer:  Be honest and point out the differences (good and bad) between comparable homes.  If you recently toured a similar home in the neighborhood with a remodeled kitchen but this kitchen could use some updating let the agent know.  This feedback is valuable to the agent and the homeowner to understand if the home has been on the market longer than others in the neighborhood.

4.The question:  Are you specifically looking in this neighborhood?

Why they’re asking:  The agent would like to know how focused you are.  If you are serious about the neighborhood but not interested in making an offer on his/her listing, you’ve caught her attention.  What is it about this listing that isn’t appealing?  The house style?  The particular street it sits on?  Or is it all about the price?

How you should answer: Once again, be honest.  If you’re focused on the neighborhood, it’s OK to say so. If you have just started looking and aren’t quite ready to pull the trigger, it’s OK to say so.  Any feedback the agent receives is valuable and will help in deciding if there are adjustments that need to be made in marketing the home if buyers aren’t making offers.

5.The question:  What do you think of the price?

Why they’re asking:  This won’t be the first question to be asked but it’s the most important one.  The agent wants a thoughtful answer.

How you should answer:  If you don’t feel like you have seen enough homes or don’t know enough about the market to give an educated answer, then explain this the agent.  In general, the agent isn’t looking for a specific dollar amount but would like to know if the home is “priced competitively” or “priced to high.”

6.The question: Are you considering making an offer on this home?

Why they’re asking:  The agent is trying to do their job so don’t take offense!

How you should answer:  As a buyer, you hold the power.  Letting the agent know you are planning on writing an offer is good news to the agent.  It also may help you if the home is in high demand.  The agent will wait for all offers to be submitted in a multiple offer situation so this allows you time to contact your agent and your offer submitted.  If you’re not planning on making an offer, it’s fine to say that, too.

Buying a home is probably the most significant financial commitment you’ll ever make. Whether you’re a first time buyer or building your dream home, HUFF Realty will help you through the entire home buying experience.

Source:  www.realtor.com

 

Open House: with the best of traditional and digital marketing

open-house-blog

The way people like to shop for homes, has changed a lot in the past few years. Today’s buyers prefer things their counterparts even five years ago did not, and therefore it’s important to be mindful of changing methods and trends. While the general idea for a lot of open house preparation remains the same as it ever was, a number of aspects may need to shift just a little bit to accommodate current buyers’ preferences.

Today, the most successful real estate agents are able to combine old-fashioned industry know-how with cutting-edge ideas about how to attract interest, according to Bankrate. The tried-and-true methods for distributing information about an open house or a property itself can still apply, but it’s equally important to make sure to put everything online. Finding the right balance between traditional and online advertising options, depending upon the local market and its demographics, is vital. However, abandoning some traditional aspects can be a misstep as well.

What does that mean?
The vast majority of home searches start online, so agents should do the same, prioritizing a good website listing and social media presence over print ads.

However, old-school directional signs, with arrows guiding prospects to the open house, are still a smart move.

Traditionally, open houses take place on Sundays between one and four in the afternoon. Some experts are now suggesting weeknight evening ‘happy hour showings’ or Saturday showings. Even minor tweaks, such as changing the timing by moving back even an hour or two from standard open house times can open the door to a larger group of prospective buyers.

Making a website shine
Traditionally many buyers take photos around an open house. Investing in professional photography can go a long way to getting a property sold.  The photos not only entice prospects, but also help remind interested buyers about the features of the home after the initial showing. Consequently, it might be smart for agents do the same beforehand and put them on a website with an easy-to-remember URL, according to Fit Small Business. That way, when would-be buyers hit multiple open houses in one day, they’re not looking back a few days later and asking themselves, “Oh, I love this living room, but which house was it in?”

By giving shoppers the ability to look at a house again with a website that’s easy-to-find and navigate, agents can facilitate real estate sales for their clients without drastically changing the way they’ve done things for years. Often, all it takes is a little extra effort online to go from a good open house to a great one.

Brought to you by HMS Home Warranty.  HMS is an industry leader with over 30 years of creating success for clients and providing peace of mind for customers.  To learn more click www.hmsnational.com.

10 Tips for Choosing a Reliable Home Inspector

thinkstockphotos-501533193

A home inspection can prevent a lot of headaches for both buyers and sellers.

If you are buying a home, an inspection could reveal problems you never would’ve noticed. An inspection can require the seller to fix what needs fixing before you by the home. There may be issues found that make you decide not to buy.  The home inspection is a crucial part of the home buying process!

Here are 10 tips for choosing a reliable inspector.

1.Get a reference from your real estate agent.

One of the best resources for picking a good home inspector should be your real estate agent.  If your agent has been in the busy for any length of time, they have probably encountered quite a few home inspectors.  They will be able to give you advice on who does a thorough job and who does not.

2.Look for a company that is bonded and insured.

The type of work inspectors do puts them at certain amount of risk – while climbing in attics and wandering through basements and crawl spaces accidents can occur.  Reputable home inspectors carry insurance for this reason which eliminates the risk of the homeowner from being sued if injury does occur during an inspection.

3. Verify the inspection company only does inspections – not home repairs and renovations.

This information is important as companies who do offer repair and renovation services have a conflict of interest. They are likely to see problems where there aren’t any.  Choose a home inspection company that’s focused solely on inspections.  Bring in a contractor after the inspection is over if you are interested in the cost of repairs or renovations.

4. Find out what the inspection includes and how long it takes.

Knowing what an inspector will look at will allow you to shop around and compare services.  Some inspectors may focus on one area such as the structure itself and nothing else.  A good inspector will go over every little detail of your home including:

  • The heating and air conditioning systems.
  • The basement and foundation.
  • The roof and attic.
  • The electrical system.
  • The structural condition.
  • Evidence of water penetration or grading issues.
  • Pests such as bugs and wildlife.
  • Environmental issues such as mold, radon, asbestos, and lead paint.
  • Appliances and other general components of the home.

The time given for the inspection is also a good indicator of how thorough the inspection will be.  Generally, an inspection should take 2-3 hours to complete, but if you are buying a larger home, a fixer-upper, or an older home, the inspection should take longer.

5. Get references.

Selecting an inspector is as important as choosing the right real estate agent to work with. Asking for references allows you to reach out to previous clients and ask how their experience was when working with the inspector.  Did the inspector seem knowledgeable? Was the report comprehensive and relatively easy to understand?  Keep in mind, you will be given the contact information of their most satisfied customers so it is helpful to get multiple references.

6. Verify that you can accompany the inspector.

Going through the inspection will allow you to gain valuable insight into the state of your new home.  The home inspector can explain the different things he or she is looking for and will allow you to take notes of any areas that may give you trouble in the future – even if it isn’t an issue at the time of the inspection.

7. Request a sample inspection report.

Inspection reports come in many different formats, from walls of text to colorful reports with photographs.  Ask to see a sample report to see if the format works for you.  Sometimes it is easier to discern problems with pictures accompanied by a description to see what the inspector is referencing.

It is also important to choose an inspector who can deliver a completed report with plenty of time to review – most inspectors will have the report ready within 24 hours of the inspection.

8. Compare the cost of hiring different companies.

When shopping around for home inspection companies, make sure you have a detailed description of what each company does during the inspection in order to make a fair comparison.

On average, a general home inspection can cost between $400 to $800 depending on where you live.  You should expect to may more if you are testing radon, mold, lead and water.

9. What’s the inspectors background?

You want to work with an inspector who knows what’s inside the walls of your home and understands the basics of local building codes and requirements.  If you are looking to buy a specialty home, such as an historic home, try to find an inspector with some experience in the type of home you are buying.  The issues with the construction of older home and newer home differ greatly so it will be helpful having an inspector familiar with each type of home.

10.Does the inspector belong to any professional home inspector associations?

Membership in appropriate associations, such as the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) ensures that inspectors have passed competency examinations, adhere to recognized standards of practice, operate under a strict code of ethics, and maintain continuing education in their field.

Whether you’re a first time buyer or building your dream home, we’ll help you through the entire home buying experience.  Contact your local HUFF agent today or visit HUFF.com.