The moving industry is ripe with fraud and deceit. Consumers who are shopping for moving companies will inevitably come across what amounts to move-brokers who are making promises on behalf of third-party subcontractors. Previously, I’ve seen the subcontractor arrive onsite and immediately demand an extra $5,000 to do the job, and in this case, they didn’t show up at all.
After a swift 25-day escrow that closed on time, we had to help the sellers – who had already left town – make sure their stuff got on the truck and hit the road!
A home’s outward appearance plays a big role in whether potential buyers want to tour the interior. Here are ways to give the home’s curb appeal an instant makeover:
1. Update the light fixtures
Updated light fixtures can change the way the front of a house looks but has an added benefit of making it safer when you use brighter bulbs too. Most outdoor lighting fixtures are much smaller than they should be. (That may had been intentional on the builder’s side; smaller fixtures are less expensive.)
Tip for choosing the right fixture: When you’re choosing a new light fixture, take cues from the home’s architecture, color, and your location. For the size, choose a fixture that’s one-third of the height of the door if you have only one light and one-quarter the height if you have a light on both sides of the door.
2. Upgrade windows and doors
Updating your windows and doors are a great way to improve the overall look of your home while also being energy-efficient. Consider adding window boxes, shutters, or even painting the trim for an added pop of color.
When upgrading the front door, choose a new door that matches the home’s style. Or you could follow the latest front door trends for 2021–glass elements, custom hardware, wood stains, or darker paint colors.
Painting your house is a huge task, but it can pack a huge punch! Just imagine the statement you’d make by ditching the boring beige, dulled white, or dated yellows. If you want to modernize your house, consider painting the house black or navy blue. Or, if you want to achieve that comfy-cottage look, try a light shade of gray or even a very pale shade of pink.
4. Add wood and/or stone elements
Adding wood or stone elements to the exterior can help give a home a “wow” factor. Even if you don’t want to put stone veneers on the exterior, you could add stone and wood elements in other ways, like by using stone to line the walkway, a wooden fence, or even stone or wooden lawn ornaments.
5. Hire a professional landscaper
There’s a huge difference between do-it-yourself landscaping and landscaping that’s completed by a professional. A professional landscaper can make your lawn a luscious green carpet that’ll make you want to kick off your shoes. They’ll know which native plants to choose to make a yard warm and inviting. They can also create water features, intricate flower beds, build retaining walls, and more.
6. Refinish walkways and the driveway
The walkways and driveway get a lot of use, and all that wear and tear will need an update over time. A professional landscaper or hardscaper also can upgrade your driveway and walkway by using stone, brick, or cement. But if you’re on a budget, a good power-washing may also give a curb appeal boost.
If you find a hot buy that is likely to have multiple offers, you will be confronting the uneasy choice of waiving the appraisal contingency in your offer. It’s likely that the other buyers will do it too, so it’s become a part of the minimum package needed just to compete.
If the appraisal comes in below the sales price and you have a 20% down payment or less, you will be forced to make up the difference in cash (or pay mortgage insurance, if possible).
In an unfortunate frenzy effect, because the appraisal contingency has been waived, listing agents don’t show up to help substantiate the value to the appraiser. It used to be one of the vital jobs of the seller’s agent to provide recent sales to the appraiser to ensure the appraisal came in at the sales price – so the sellers wouldn’t be faced with potentially having to lower the price to appease the buyers.
But these days, the listing agents couldn’t care less.
So now when we have the buyers, I meet the appraisers. I want to make sure I do everything I can to persuade the appraiser to hit the sales price so my buyers don’t have to bring in more money.
I just had one where, two days before our appraisal appointment, a new listing of a model-match but inferior condo hit the open market priced at 10% UNDER our sales price in an obvious ploy to start a bidding war. I already had a big challenge with the comps because there had not been a sale in the complex all year – and appraisers don’t like using sales from complexes that were 3-4 miles away.
But I convinced him, and the appraisal came in at our sales price!
Homeowners fixing up their homes to list this spring will have to decide where to put their time and money to get the most bang for their buck. Zillow has been there, and the practical tips and tricks their experts have learned after selling 10,000 homes could help you sell yours.
Zillow-owned homes, acquired through Zillow Offers in 25 markets nationwide, are carefully evaluated, repaired and cleaned before they hit the market. Zillow invests in the projects that make a home safe, clean and functional, and each time learns more about what appeals to buyers. By sharing these tips, Zillow hopes to help all sellers prioritize their home prep projects.
Pick the Perfect Paint Color
Painting is one project nearly all sellers take on before putting their home on the market. It is an affordable home improvement project that has a high return on investment. But when you’re thinking about resale, you’ll want to be strategic about the colors you select.
When Zillow needs to freshen up the walls before listing a home for sale, it uses Behr Premium Plus paint in either Aged Beige, Campfire Ash or Polar Bear. Neutral greige or taupe paint colors appeal to the widest group of buyers and don’t distract from a home’s best features.
Fix your Faucets and Fixtures
The two most common items Zillow repairs or replaces before listing a home for sale are faucets and light fixtures. A buyer may jump to the conclusion that a leaky faucet is a sign there may be water damage, while a broken fixture could inaccurately signal potential electrical problems. Either can suggest a home hasn’t been generally well-maintained.
These are both DIY-friendly fixes that could boost your home’s value. If you’d rather hire a professional, a Zillow and Thumbtack report finds you can expect to pay, on average, $205 to replace a faucet and $380 to replace a light fixture.
Clean the Carpet
A clean carpet is critical if you want your home to make a great first impression. Steam cleaning will often do the trick, but if your carpet is torn or has permanent stains, you’ll want to replace it.
Zillow uses Mohawk brand carpet in either Charger Classic or Scout Highgate. Selecting a high-performing, stain-resistant carpet in a neutral taupe color will appeal to the most buyers and add value to your home.
Sweat the Small Stuff
Zillow takes care of all the items that make life easier for the home’s next owner. These items include landscaping, servicing the HVAC system, and replacing all light bulbs and batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
By taking care of these items before putting your home on the market, you can boost curb appeal and give a potential buyer confidence that your home has been well-maintained.
Say No to a Full Reno
Home improvement TV shows often suggest you need a gut renovation to get top dollar in resale. However, Zillow research finds big renovation projects hardly ever pay for themselves when it comes time to sell, with a few exceptions.
Zillow rarely completes any major upgrade to a home that would dramatically alter its footprint or its value. Instead, Zillow focuses on the projects that make a home clean, safe and functional for a buyer, repairing items instead of replacing them when possible.
“Buyers often want to put their own stamp on a home and have it reflect their taste,” says Lindsey DellaSala, a broker with the DJ and Lindsey Team in Jacksonville, FL. “Let’s say you decide to upgrade your backsplash before selling. The trendy statement tile you love may not be what a buyer is looking for, and that could hurt, rather than help, your chances for a speedy sale.”
“When a buyer walks into a Zillow-owned home, they know it is move-in ready and they can add their personal touches over time,” says Claire Caldwell, Senior Director of Renovations at Zillow. “By creating that same kind of blank canvas in a safe and clean home, you can help buyers better envision their lives there.”
Online curb appeal is more important than ever, as most home shopping has gone virtual. Zillow-owned homes are listed for sale with professional photography, a floor plan with dimensions and a virtual 3D Home tour that gives shoppers an immersive experience of a home from the safety and comfort of their own living room.
Sellers can harness the power of tech to showcase their home’s best features by using the free 3D Home app to create a virtual tour, and explore other digital tools such as virtual staging.
(JtR: Big difference between ‘high-tech’ and robotic, which is the sales method they are pushing)
When it comes to the home and design trends experts anticipate prevailing in the year ahead, the overarching theme will be options in abundance.
While homeowners continue to want their outdoor spaces that offer a safe retreat, that appeal has shifted into other parts of the home, coupling comfort with function. In other words, homeowners want amenities for work and leisure, and they plan to enjoy long them long after the pandemic.
Here are 10 trends to watch in 2021.
1. What it is: Two-for-one kitchen
Why now: Even before COVID-19 spread, many homeowners with an open floorplan were finding that there is a downside to not having walls in the kitchen. Clutter, messiness, and dirty dishes aren’t as easy to hide.
Leave it to the trendsetters to develop a solution: two kitchens in one. Mick De Giulio of de Giulio Kitchen Design in Chicago calls it a “layered kitchen” with separate work and living zones. Cheryl Kees Clendenon of In Detail Interiors in Pensacola, Fla., refers to it as a “prep and show kitchen.” Granted, extra space and renovation funds are needed to complete the concept.
The work area is typically in the back of the kitchen, hidden by a door or wall. This is where the serious food prep and cleanup takes place. The area may be part of a large laundry room or storage room that can be converted into this hidden cooking zone. It may also be used by caterers (when entertaining returns with gusto), Clendenon says.
In contrast, the living or show kitchen at the front remains part of the open floorplan. It’s designed to display culinary delights in an uncluttered way. This is where a roasted turkey comes out of the oven before being carried to the back-work area for carving while a buffet is set out. Some homeowners may designate one kitchen for special needs, such as gluten-free prep, a request from one of Clendenon’s clients. The back-kitchen space could also be used as a beverage center with a coffee station, and include refrigerated drawers or a wine cooler, De Giulio says.
He is right – I don’t give much thought to SEO, which is probably why we had the lowest number of estimated monthly visits (by far) of the nine blogs included. He mentioned that the view-counter tends to be low, especially for hyperlocal sites.
Here’s our number of viewers this month from Google Analytics: