Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Your Listing Is Turning Buyers Off! Here's Why

The best way to get potential buyers through the door and interested in your home is with a stellar online listing. Photos of the house and a description of the property are standard fare, but not all listings do what they're supposed to do. In fact, some might actually do more harm than good.
In many ways, trying to sell your home is like applying for a job, and your online listing is the resume or cover letter. If it’s not polished, you’ll never even get to the next phase.
So, what are the parts of a listing that can turn buyers off? Below are some of the worst offenses.

1. Lackluster (or non-existent) description

It can be hard to sum up your home in a couple of paragraphs. However, if you want to attract buyers, you’ll need to paint an inviting picture of the property.
“If it is a lakefront home, highlight the best parts of living on the lake; if it is an urban town, mention that you are within walking distance of top-rated restaurants,” says Cynthia Emerling, listing specialist at Finger Lakes Premier Properties in Canandaigua, NY.
Work with your real estate agent to pinpoint what buyers are looking for in your area, so you can mention it as early as possible in the listing description.
For example, Emerling’s company specializes in lakefront vacation homes, so “the views, the dock, and the topography of the land are all features that we highlight prominently.”
Also keep in mind that the online listing might initially show just a couple of lines of text, so make sure the most eye-catching information appears first.

2. Too much (or the wrong type of) information

Colorful listing photos or descriptions are sure to entice, but you have to be objective. Your favorite aspects of the home might not have the same effect on buyers.
“I had one seller that wanted to include photos of bunnies that lived in the backyard,” says Kris Lippi, real estate broker and owner of Get Listed Realty in Hartford, CT.
However, Lippi didn’t think that would necessarily be a selling point—and buyers might actually be concerned that the rabbits were destroying the lawn.

3. Amateur photographs


Photography equipment should never be showing in your listing photos!
Really Bad MLS Photos/Facebook
Your smartphone takes some really good photos, but that doesn’t mean they’re good enough to be used in your online listing.
“Everyone thinks they can take quality pictures with their smartphones and save a few dollars, but you only get one chance to impress potential buyers online,” says Robert Taylor, owner of The Real Estate Solutions Guy, a house-flipping company in Sacramento, CA.
That's why it's important to feature high-quality photographs shot by someone who has experience taking photos for online listings.
“A professional photographer will have the correct camera lenses, lighting, and angles to allow the entire room to be seen in a single photo," Taylor says.
Jim Stevenson, a real estate agent at Realty One Group in Doylestown, PA, agrees that pictures taken by camera phone are no match for high-quality professional photos.
“I can't tell you how many times I've seen the infamous ‘real estate agent in a mirror' shot," Stevenson says. “When the photo quality is lacking, it sends a message that your home is low quality, too.”

4. Not staging your home


By not staging a home, you're missing out on the opportunity to show potential buyers how the space can be used.
While many buyers like to think of a new house as a blank canvas for their own furniture and design tastes, leaving the rooms completely devoid of furniture and art in the listing photos can hurt you in the long run. Buyers like to see the potential of the home, so staging is highly recommended.
“When a house is staged, you can get the sense of use and purpose for each space,” says Matt Morgus, a San Francisco-based real estate agent.
That's especially important for houses with open floor plans.
“Open floor plans are extremely popular to home buyers in today’s market, but sometimes it’s hard to differentiate a space with no furniture,” Morgus says.

5. Too many days on the market

Buyers look closely at the listing price and days on the market (DOM) because this information can help them determine whether the house is priced too low or too high—and how much they should offer if they're interested.
Because every real estate market is different, there isn't a hard and fast number of days it takes for a listing to be considered stale. However, most real estate agents agree that it takes about 30 days on the market for a listing to lose its luster.
So how can you revive a stale listing? Additional marketing efforts like new photos or an added incentive (free tacos with purchase, anyone?) may help. But the most effective way to generate more buzz about your property is with a price adjustment.
"If you have been on the market for a while and activity has stalled, you should consider reducing the price,” Lippi advises. “Even if you reduce it by a small amount, it will show up in buyers’ emails again and appear online as a price correction, and this gets eyes on your listing.”
The best tactic, ultimately, is to price the house correctly the first time, so it doesn't end up languishing on the market for a couple of weeks.
“An overpriced home will force a seller to drop the price of their home numerous times to reach the ‘sweet spot’ where buyers become interested in the listing,” says Breyer.
Let The McLeod Group Network help you sell your home! 971.208.5093 or admin@mgnrealtors.com.
By: Realtor.com, Terri Williams

Monday, November 26, 2018

Appliance Paint Is Our New Favorite (and Cheap) Way to Make Over the Kitchen

Painting appliances is one of the best ways to update your kitchen without having to take on an expensive renovation. Like painting exposed bricks or a bathtub, putting on a fresh coat of appliance paint can make your hardworking machines look brand-new. But before you grab a paintbrush, here's what you need to know.

Appliance paint is different

You can achieve professional-looking results by painting your appliances yourself. However, this is not the time to use up that extra wall paint in those rusty cans in your garage. Appliance paint is specially formulated for metal surfaces and for the kind of extra-tough wear and tear to which appliances are subjected.
Refrigerator painted with white appliance paint- Rust-Oleum

Types of appliances that can be painted

The type of appliance you’re painting will determine which type of appliance paint you should get.
“Appliance paint is available in heat-resistant finishes, which would work best for your appliances that get warm over an extended period of time,” according to Amy Davis, a franchise consultant for Five Star Painting.
In fact, you should use only high-heat paint on your stove, oven, or toaster—but avoid painting the actual heat coils.
"Spray paint should not be used on any surface that comes in direct contact with food, as our paint is not tested for food safety,” says Melinda Childress, product marketing manager at Sherwin-Williams.
For appliances like the refrigerator or dishwasher that can get wet, you'll achieve the best results by choosing a moisture-resistant appliance paint.
White refrigerator painted with stainless steel appliance paint - Giani 

Choosing the right appliance paint

Rust-Oleum, Krylon, and Giani are three popular household appliance paint brands. Rust-Oleum and Krylon are both available in black, white, almond, and bisque/biscuit colors. And Giani offers Liquid Stainless Steel, a DIY kit that allows you to give your boring, outdated appliances the sleek, luxurious look of stainless steel.
Davis recommends spray paints because they are easy to use on appliances.

Prepping appliances for painting

To achieve professional-looking results, you’ll need to adhere to tried-and-true pre-painting rituals.
“A thorough cleaning will be the No.1 prep step for most appliances, since they are subject to fingerprints, grease, and food residue,” says Childress.
If the appliance is old and has traces of rust, she recommends sanding the rust to remove it before you start painting.
A lot of people try to skip the cleaning and sanding steps, but if you don’t remove grime and other residue, the paint won’t adhere to your appliances.
“You should also unplug the appliance, and remove or cover all the hardware and handles,” Davis says.

When you start painting

The best way to avoid a mishap is to follow the manufacturer's instructions on the product you're using.
To avoid inhaling paint fumes, don't paint your appliances indoors. Instead, paint outdoors or in a well-ventilated garage.
Also, it’s best to have everything that you need on hand before you start on your project.
You'll need the following tools and materials, according to Ami Gruenenfelder at the Giani paint company:
  • Painters tape
  • Paint roller tray (unless youre using spray paint)
  • Phillips head screwdriver (for detaching handles)
  • Fine #600 grit sandpaper (for sanding any accidental drips)
  • Water-based plastic primer (any plastic areas must be primed prior to using appliance paint)
Contact The McLeod Group Network for all your Real Estate needs! 971.208.5093 or admin@mgnrealtors.com. 

By: Realtor.com, Terri Williams

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Forget Black Friday: This Is the Best Day of the Year to Buy a Home

Home buyers looking for a sweet holiday deal should forget about Black Friday, researchers say. Their bank accounts will be better off if they wait until Dec. 26 instead.
Yes, after-Christmas sales aren't just good for scooping up discounted cashmere sweaters and kids' toys. Buyers who close on Dec. 26 are likely to spend a median $2,500 less (or save about 1.3%) than they would on any other day of the year, according to a recent report from real estate information firm ATTOM Data Solutions. Overall, December is the best time to buy a home at a bargain price, as there are fewer buyers in the market.
Those savings are substantial, as buyers typically spend an estimated $7,000 more than the estimated market value of a property across all days of the year.
To come up with its findings, ATTOM looked at the median sales price on that day compared with the estimated market value compared with the rest of the year. The firm included only days on which there were at least 10,000 single-family home and condo sales nationally. (Only four days did not meet that threshold: Jan. 1, July 4, Nov. 11, and Dec. 25.)
"Very few buyers are looking for homes to buy around the holidays, which means less competition for the few contrarians out there who are buying," Daren Blomquist, senior vice president at ATTOM, said in a statement. “Buyers and investors willing to start their home search right about when stores are setting up Christmas decorations will face less competition and likely be dealing with more motivated sellers, giving them the upper hand in price negotiations.”
But buyers need to time their offers wisely to save the most money, submitting them about a month before they plan to close. That means submitting bids right around now in order to finalize the sale around—or hopefully, the day right after—Christmas.
The other best days to purchase a home are Dec. 7, when buyers save a median $2,000; Dec. 4, at $1,823; Dec. 29, at $1,320; and Dec. 21, at $1,223.
"Great times to go out looking are all through November, particularly around Thanksgiving," Blomquist said. "While everyone else is shopping for great deals on Christmas gifts, you could be shopping for a great deal on a home. It's the home buyer version of a Black Friday sale."
The McLeod Group Network is here to help you find your new home! Contact us today at 971.208.5093 or admin@mgnrealtors.com. 
By: Realtor.com, Clare Trapasso

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

'Tis the Season (to Sell): 6 Reasons You Shouldn’t Take Your Home Off the Market for the Holidays

As we careen at warp speed toward Thanksgiving, Christmas, and all of the joyous (read: stressful) festivities in between, you might be tempted to take your home off the market—or hold off on listing it—until after the new year. After all, you’re swamped with cooking, shopping, and decorating, and the last thing you need is a bunch of potential buyers traipsing through your house, right?
Wrong, says Tg Glazer, branch vice president and managing broker of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Bernardsville, NJ.
“It’s a huge, huge mistake to either remove your home from the market during the holiday season, or to not put your home on the market if you're getting ready to sell,” Glazer says.
Why? The first reason is painfully obvious: Your house can't actually sell if it’s off the market, says Nora Ling Lane, executive vice president for Allie Beth Allman & Associates, a Berkshire Hathaway affiliate in Dallas.
“I'm pretty adamant about leaving a home on during the holidays,” Lane says. “Sure, people are busy, but I'd rather buyers see a house messy with baking in the kitchen than miss the house. Let somebody else take their house off the market and miss out.”

1. Your listing will rise to the top

If homeowners in your hood take a break from the market because they don't want to bother keeping their properties in show-ready condition over the holidays, that makes for reduced inventory. And that means buyers who are actively searching will be more likely to uncover your listing.
“During the busy spring market, for example, you have way more competition than during the holidays," Glazer explains. "So you're much more likely to get your home sold when you're not competing with more potential sellers."

2. Your house looks (and smells) amazing during the holidays

With festive greenery, the sweet aroma of cookies baking, and a warm fire in the hearth, you've got built-in ambiance—meaning you can appeal to buyers’ senses in a way that you can't during other times of the year, Glazer says.
“With that nice, homey feeling, homes tend to show a lot better during the holidays, while making people feel really good,” he explains.
Plus, chances are good you'll tap into some buyer sentimentality: During the holidays, we tend to feel nostalgic about family, home, and memories. That can cause a nesting instinct to kick in—and that often results in a sale, Glazer says.
Don’t go overboard with decorations, though.
“I tell sellers not to put a Santa Claus in every corner; you don't want clutter,” Lane cautions.
And remember: Buyers need to imagine their furniture in each room, so avoid blocking important selling features such as large windows and fireplace mantels.
And if you live in a colder climate, be sure walkways and stairs are always shoveled clean, and turn your thermostat up before each showing to keep things toasty.
“When you walk in and it's warm and cozy, that helps in the selling process,” Lane says.

3. Holiday buyers aren't messing around

Yes, things typically slow down in the weeks leading up to the holidays. But there are still people actively looking for homes and ready to pounce—or those who just entered the market on a short timeline and need to buy fast.
“The people who are out there looking at homes during the holidays are serious buyers,” Glazer says. “And in areas where you have bad weather, these buyers are going to weather the storms—pun intended—to visit your property.”
Potential buyers who take the time to set up home tours during the holiday season are also more motivated to move forward if they like what they see, Lane notes.
“These are not tire-kickers just looking around because it's fun; those are all weeded out,” she says.

4. Families often search during school breaks

Speaking of serious buyers: Relocating families often capitalize on the holidays as a time to move without tumult on the kids. They want to find the right property, have stress-free negotiations, and get their brood settled before school starts up again in January, Lane says.
“It's a good time to show your house to people from out of town,” she says.

5. It can be easier to close a transaction in December

Buyers can often get their loans processed and approved faster in November or December than they would in the traditionally busy spring months, says Bill Gassett, a Realtor® with Re/Max Executive Realty in Hopkinton, MA. It all comes down to the holiday slowdown: Fewer home sales are on deck to process, plus lenders are motivated to close deals before the end of the year.
“I’ve seen from personal experience that because of the low volume of business, things move quicker with lenders,” says Gassett, who has been in the business for 31 years.

6. The holidays give you a chance to adjust your selling strategy

If your home's been languishing on the market for several weeks—or months (eek!)—you might be feeling antsy. Maybe the best solution is to take it off the market and try again after the new year.
Fight the urge! You're better off staying the course and using this slow time to tweak your selling strategy. Would home staging draw in buyers? Do you need to tackle that paint job you'd been putting off? Should you reassess your asking price?
“Generally, the reason a house does not sell is because it’s not priced right, and if it’s been sitting on the market, nothing will change over a 30-day period if you're pricing it the same,” Glazer says. “You're much better off getting the price in line with where it should be, and leaving it on through the holidays.”
Lane recently had clients who wanted to take their home off the market during the holidays and relist in January. She talked them out of it, had several showings, and signed the contract on Christmas Eve.
“I've sold more houses in December than in most months," Lane says. "It's always a busy month for me."
Let The McLeod Group Network sell your home this holiday season! Contact us today at 971.208.5093 or admin@mgnrealtors.com.
By: Realtor.com, Wendy Helfenbaum

Monday, November 12, 2018

Embarrassed by Your Kitchen? Try These Cheap, Fast Fixes

It's the most wonderful time of the year, and nothing can bring you down—except, of course, a kitchen that's too small, too dated, too messy, or otherwise not fit to be seen by others (or on Instagram).

If your lackluster kitchen has you reluctant to host holiday festivities in your home, you're not alone. Home shame is real, and according to one survey of 1,000 homeowners, 61% of adults in the United States have admitted to not inviting guests into their home because they're embarrassed of what lies inside.

But you don't have to sit out from the hosting rotation this holiday season. We asked the experts for quick and easy solutions to your biggest kitchen problems, and their answers will have you sending out invites in no time.

Scuffed counters
Your kitchen counters are going to get a lot of attention during your holiday gathering—after all, that's where you're going to lay out that delicious spread, right? So what are you to do if yours are scratched, scuffed, or bear the marks of a few unfortunately hot pots and pans?
Interior designer Mikel Welch, of HGTV's "Design Star" and TLC's "Trading Spaces," says the fix is easier than you might think—and it doesn't involve installing new counters.

"As an on-camera designer, I often have to mask and camouflage things to look 'camera ready,'" says Welch. "You can do the same thing in your kitchen by creating a vignette of holiday decor nestled right over the top of any countertop imperfections."

Dated cabinets
Your cabinets may be straight out of the 1960s, but it's not the end of the world. Your best option, according to Sherwin-Williams director of product information Rick Watson, is to paint your cabinets.

"Paint is a great, affordable way to refresh old cabinets," he says. "It helps to cover up imperfections and stains, and you can choose from thousands of colors. However, if you want a professional, lasting finish, it requires a lot of prep work."
If you don't have time to remove cabinet doors, sand, and paint, you're not out of options.
"For a simpler update, adding new cabinet hardware can help bring them back to life," says Build.com's in-house interior designer, Lauren O’Donnell, from Chico, CA. "I often see cabinets without hardware, and I always see that as a easy opportunity to add a little flair."

Botched backsplash
A backsplash is supposed to catch the eye, but what if yours draws the eye right to a mislaid or missing tile?

"Counter backsplash can make or break a kitchen," Welch says. "Try a peel-and-stick backsplash applied directly over your botched backsplash job. There’s no grout, spaces or level needed."

For an even simpler solution, designer Susan Serra, president of Susan Serra Associates in Northport, NY, says you can always just hide those embarrassing spots on your backsplash.

"My favorite trick is to put out a decorative item or a small appliance to block the offending area," she says.

Mismatched appliances
It's not often that all your appliances stop working all at the same time, so there's a good chance the ones in your kitchen don't exactly match. If they're really different—completely different colors, for example—Welch says there's no need to purchase new ones just to make them harmonize.

"You can easily fix this problem with stainless steel contact paper that can be cut and affixed to your appliances in a jiffy," says Welch. "Within two hours, all of your family hand-me-down appliances will look like they just rolled in off a delivery truck."

Worn or cracked vinyl flooring
Redoing floors is a major expense, especially with the holidays right around the corner. But even if your floors leave a lot to be desired, you don't have to rush into a major construction job.

"If your vinyl floors are cracking, chances are the flooring is old. Which probably means the pattern is dated as well. Give new life to your floor by covering it up with peel-and-stick wood-plank vinyl floors," suggests Welch.

Lack of counter space
For some homeowners, the scariest part of holiday hosting is trying to find a place to set out all the food. Designer Leslie Saul, president of Leslie Saul & Associates, says this problem can be solved with a quick online shopping spree.

"Wayfair has many rolling islands that add counter space and can store things that you used to keep on the counter," she says, adding that this one purchase extends your counter space in two ways—by adding more surface area, and by giving you a place to store some of the clutter on your existing counters.

Scratched-up sink
White kitchen sinks are gorgeous—at least, until you use them a few times. After you've washed a few loads of dishes, they start to look scratched, stained, and a lot less attractive. But they don't have to stay that way.

"If sink stains and scratches are a problem, then you need to head down to your local hardware store and pay the paint aisle a visit," says Welch. "There are several easy to apply tub paints and tile refinishing kits that will have your sink Martha Stewart-ready in a quick weekend."

Lauren McKinney, director of marketing at Judd Builders in Asheville, NC, had an even easier solution. "Buy stainless steel grids to hide scratches and stains, if they're only on the bottom of the sink," she suggests.

Scratched table
The last thing you want to do is have friends and family sit around a scratched-up old table for the big meal. DIY expert and blogger at Heathered NestHeather Thibodeau, has a simple solution you might not have thought of.

"Grab some crayons! Yep. Crayons work great in a pinch for covering scuffs, chips and dings in furniture," she says.

If you're not comfortable turning your table into a coloring project, McKinney suggests adding a tablecloth—it's a perfect opportunity to both hide the imperfections and add a touch of holiday cheer.

Let the McLeod Group Network help you find a home with the kitchen of your dreams! Contact us today - 971.208.5093 or admin@mgnrealtors.com.

By: Realtor.com, Whitney Coy

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Buying a Home? 7 Unsettling Emotions You'll Feel Before the Deal Is Done

Buying a home may be a financial transaction, but it's a highly emotional one, too. And while there are highs—like the moments you know you've found The One or you get the keys to your new home—you may also go through periods of high anxiety or hopelessness before you close the deal.

Ask any homeowner about their experiences buying a home, and you’ll hear a similar refrain: Purchasing property is utterly nerve-racking. With so many moving pieces, buying a home can feel like a high-stakes juggling act—only you don’t have time to practice.
As a real estate agent over the past four years, I’ve specialized in working with first-time buyers. Although each home sale is unique, I’ve noticed buyers experience some of the same ups and downs during the home-buying process.

Here are seven things only home buyers understand.

1. Online photos can be deceiving
Odds are good you’ll be spending a huge chunk of time looking at properties online, but listing photos can be misleading. Professional photographers and listing agents alike are capable of disguising flaws of all shapes and sizes. The only way to truly know what a house looks like is to see it in person.

2. Open houses are fun—until they're not
Going to open houses gives you the opportunity to see properties without having to deal with the hassle of coordinating showings. However, it’s easy to get worn out. If you’re serious about buying a home, you’re attending open houses every weekend—which can get quite cumbersome, especially if you'd prefer to be out brunching with friends or attending Junior's soccer matches. The important thing to remember is that your house hunt won't last forever, in spite of how it may feel in the thick of things (see our next point).

3. Buying a home can feel like a never-ending slog

Finding a great home—one that meets your needs and (hopefully) checks off a lot of your “wants”—takes time. With all of my past clients, I showed each of them at least five properties before we made an offer on a home. (One buyer looked at probably close to 30 homes before we found The One.)

The lesson: You have to be patient, because it could take a while for you to find a house that you love.

4. Anxiously waiting to hear back on an offer

No one likes playing the waiting game after submitting an offer on a home but, unfortunately, this is simply part of the home-buying process. Whether or not you're going up against other offers, the seller needs time to review each bid carefully. Furthermore, each state has its own legal contract that home buyers must use when making an offer on a property, and some jurisdictions require you to submit a mound of paperwork.

Once you’ve submitted an offer, though, the best thing you can do is wait. To minimize the pain though, I typically recommend home buyers attach an addendum stating that their offer expires in 24 hours. I do this for two reasons: It prevents the seller from being able to use your offer to shop around for a better one, and it gives you an exit strategy if you decide you want to walk away and look for another home.

5. Disclosures and home inspections? Terrifying

Unless you’re buying a brand-new house, the seller is required to provide you with property disclosures about the home’s condition. These documents can be a bit unsettling, as can a home inspection.

But don't fret: These documents err on the side of too much detail, and often make a problem seem far worse than it really is. Make sure to talk them over with your real estate agent so you know what the repair work will truly entail.

6. The disappointment of not getting everything you want

If you’re buying a house, you'd better be prepared to negotiate. When you submit a lowball offer on a property, you should expect the seller to make a counteroffer. Both parties may have to make concessions in order to agree on a sales price.

request for home repairs is another big point of contention. Home inspectors are trained to find every single flaw with a house, no matter how big or small. If the inspection reveals a major issue (e.g., a cracked foundation), that should absolutely be something you discuss with the sellers to see who will pay for repairs. However, you shouldn’t nickel-and-dime the sellers by asking them to fix every minor thing that’s wrong with the house; if you do, the deal could fall through.

Note: I always recommend including a home inspection contingency when making an offer on a property, unless the house is a short sale or it’s being sold as is, in which case you don’t typically have room to ask for repairs. A typical home inspection costs $300 to $500.

7. Getting a hand cramp at closing from signing all those forms

At settlement, home buyers sign a lot of paperwork to make the sale official—meaning your hand will definitely be sore by the time you’re finished writing your John Hancock on the last document. But trust me, it's all par for the course—and well worth it, as I've seen time and again home buyers' eyes light up once they're handed the keys.

Let's get together and find your new home! We will be here every step of the way. 971.208.5093 or admin@mgnrealtors.com.

By: Realtor.com, Daniel Bortz