Selling your house in Fall or Winter?

When the weather gets cooler, typically the real estate market slows down. Spring, after all, is the best time to buy and sell a house. However, fall the second best season to list your home.  Selling your house in fall or winter is not necessarily bad timing.  While we are half-way through fall, there’s still time! Even though fall and winter are slower times in the real estate world, listing your home during this time of year means less competition on the market. Homes can even sell faster during the winter, for some reason. Besides, there’s less of a need for landscaping at this time of year!

Are You Considering Selling Your House in Fall or Winter?

If you’re selling your home during these seasons, here’s what you need to know.

  • Still be wary of seasonal decor or too many personalized decorations however do embrace fall
  • Highlight seasonal positives (if you have a nice fireplace, etc)
  • Regardless of whether there’s less of a need for landscaping or not, keep up the curb appeal (blow leaves, etc)
  • Basically, turn on every light ever for all showings
  • Prepare your home for showings  (fall smells are wonderful, don’t burn candles, this may not be safe when you leave your home but a fall potpurri can add just the right touch.  If you are lucky and you get a second or third showing, pull out all the stops and bake chocolate chip cookies.  That is a lovely touch!

Find Your Real Estate Listing Expert

A professional realtor is your best ally in buying or selling a home, no matter what the season. The marketing materials on your house are more important now than ever, thanks to mobile technology that allows buyers to search homes on their phones or tablets. Using professional photos, a virtual tour and using a fantastic description boosts the chances of your home selling. At Real Estate Experts, we’re ready to give your house marketing something extra.

As a buyer, having a trusted real estate professional (agent or buyer’s agent) will increase your chances of winning a bidding war. With low inventory on the market, bidding wars are commonplace. Buyers agents are a buyer’s best friend in a market like this because they have sole responsibility to the buyer and can provide the ultimate amount of information.

If you are interested in learning about available properties in the greater Triangle area, visit us online.  Call us today at 919-813-6449 or e-mail us at  info@realestateexperts.net for additional information.

Need to finish your home improvements?

Tackle them with a remodeling plan…

Remodeling and renovation projects are two great ways to improve the living quality in your home. They also help improve price, comfort, and value of your home! Who doesn’t like the sound of that?

What you might not like the sound of is the organization or financial burden of actually getting a head start on these projects. It can be disconcerting to think about much much money you’re going to put into a project, for sure. But, where there’s a will there’s a way!

The best way to begin tackling a remodeling or home improvement project is with your budget. This financial plan is important because it’s the deciding factor on what materials you choose, how in depth the project is, and it can help you set the boundaries for your project and design. When you’re factoring in everything you want to accomplish in your remodeling, it’s important to include these outlines and potential costs:remodeling plan

  • Size of project or project location ex. Square footage of bathroom, or counter tops
  • Materials of project ex. Granite for counter-tops, stainless steel for appliances
  • Open space in the project area
  • Existing furniture or objects in the project area
  • Already implemented plumping or electrical wiring because they can affect any additions to the project area

So, let’s discuss some ways to tackle renovation and remodeling projects on a budget, and get those projects finished!

Remodeling Your Bathrooms

HomeAdvisor offers a tool that can estimate local remodeling costs. Here’s an overview of bathroom remodeling in the 27514 area code of North Carolina.

Courtesy of HomeAdvisor

Step one: create both your financial plan and design plan. Even if you’re not hiring a designer, you’ll still need a plan to accomplish your remodeling projects. However when it comes to getting a return on your investments, fewer renovations are better (in many cases, not just bathrooms!).Consider remodeling the fixtures, flooring, plumbing, and electrical. While plumbing and electrical may be more expensive than simply remodeling the fixtures or flooring, they may provide resale value later on.

Hiring a contractor to help with the remodeling is beneficial because you can get materials through them, at lesser costs. Upgrading fixtures in your bathroom like a sink, faucet, toilet, or tub helps modernize bathrooms. You can update them to match the style of the house, or create a private oasis tucked into your home. One concept to consider as you’re remodeling is “going green”. Are there facets of your bathroom you can exchange for “green” ones? For example, you could install a new toilet that uses less water when flushed in order to conserve water.

Flooring, however, will be largely subject to your budget. One thing to keep in mind while looking at flooring is the square footage of your bathroom. Knowing the square footage of your bathroom can help you pick and choose which fixtures to splurge on and what materials to choose for your flooring. This is important, too, if you’re expanding the bathroom.

 

Remodeling Your Kitchen

Updated kitchens are incredible. They’re personalized, they’re efficient, and overall they pull a house theme together. Besides, remodeling your kitchen adds value to your home, if you’re preparing to sell. Let’s look at remodeling costs for kitchens in North Carolina’s 27514 area code.

remodeling plan

Courtesy of HomeAdvisor

Of course, the cost of your kitchen remodeling depends on what your project details are. In your remodeling plan, be sure to include what you’re going to update or remodel, like the cabinets, counter-tops, fixtures, and appliances. Armed with your budget, you’ll be able to pick the best materials for your project.

If finding new cabinets you adore and can afford within your budget is difficult, you can work with what you’ve got. Refinishing your cabinets and repainting them is a great way to update your kitchen without shelling out a lot of money. Appliances, on the other hand, are more expensive. One way to diminish the cost of new kitchen appliances is to opt for freestanding appliances instead of built-in. However, built-in appliances can help maximize smaller spaces to improve functionality, so they may provide good resale value with the home.

Counter-top material options are seemingly endless, but don’t worry. We make sense of what’s in for the kitchen by going over all the latest options like concrete, soapstone, and granite.

Real Estate Experts

Unsure of what updates to make before selling your home? Or, alternatively, do you need a hand finding the best contractors for the jobs? Real Estate Experts are here to help. Visit us online.  Call us today at 919-813-6449 or e-mail us at  info@realestateexperts.net for additional information.

How To Modify Your Home’s Zestimate

Didupdate zestimate you know you can modify the Zillow Zestimate for your home?

Zillow’s Zestimates are a property estimation tool. They’re built into almost every listing on Zillow, benefiting both buyers and sellers. Though realtors and real estate professionals question the accuracy of the Zestimate, the estimation is a starting point for determining a home’s worth according to Zillow’s chief economist Stan Humphries.  See our related post on the accruacy of Zillow Zestimates.

Zestimates tell you something. They’re the basis for determining a home’s worth, but they’re not as accurate as looking at true comparable sales because they don’t make adjustments for differences between properties. Zestimates don’t tell you about local amenities, construction prices, or actual costs of items in new construction.

Accuracy of the Zestimate depends on location and availability of data in an area. Unfortunately, there are other issues with the Zestimate besides accuracy. Updating a home’s Zestimate takes weeks to appear on a listing’s page. Starting in February 2015, Zillow recognized this. Now, updated Zillow Zestimates are available immediately!

Why Modify Your Zillow Zestimate

Since Zillow relies on both public records and user submitted data, your Zestimate may change with updates.

Zillow’s data comes from public records, meaning your information could be outdated or missing. We’ve talked about how certain areas provide more information than others; the amount of data Zillow has for a home affects the Zestimate accuracy. What that means is that it’s important to review your home facts, such as number of bedrooms or bathrooms.

Once you’ve reviewed your home facts, you can update your Zillow information which will change your Zestimate.
Have you updated or renovated your house recently? Have you finished your attic, screened in your porch, built a deck, or added a bedroom? If you’ve done any updates like these, you’ve probably increased your home’s worth. Nearly impossible for Zillow to keep up with updates like these, it’s important that you, the user, update your own home’s information.  Since so many people check Zillow before they visit houses in person, it’s important to provide every detail that can increase your home’s worth.

How Do You Fix Your Home’s Zestimateupdate zestimate

All of the tools you’ll need to update your home’s Zestimate are on Zillow.com. Here is what you need to do:

  • Head to Zillow.com
  • In the center of the page, you’ll see several tabs. Zestimate is all the way on the right.
  • Type in your home address.
  • Your home will pop up, allowing you to click a button which says, “Correct facts”.
  • Verify you are the owner of the home by “claiming your house“. Simply select your name from the list of owners.
  • As the owner, you can now update the information on your house. Add number of bedrooms, bathrooms, home size, lot size, architectural style, roof type, heat source, or building amenities.
  • At the bottom of the page, it’ll allow you to save your information. This will update the zestimate on your home.

Since Zestimates are updated immediately , you’ll see a change on your home’s estimated value on Zillow.com.

We Can Help

If you’re looking for the true market value of your home, there are a number of ways we, at Real Estate Experts, can help. After all, a Zestimate is only an estimate! We offer a home valuation tool that can estimate your home’s value. Check it out, and let us know how we did.

At Real Estate Experts, we’re committed to providing our clients the best experience buying or selling homes. We want the process to be smooth for everyone involved. If you’re interested in buying or selling a home in the Triangle area, give us a call anytime at 919-813-6449 or send us an email to  info@realestateexperts.net.

 

Triangle Homes Sales are Rising

Triangle home sales and prices are rising. Homes in the $200,000 to $400,000 bracket are selling fast. This past January, the average price of homes sold was $279,800. A 5% increase over last January, triangle home prices are on the rise. Not only are prices increasing, but so are the number of homes selling.

The issue we are facing now is a true lack of inventory.  If you are thinking about selling, this is a great time to sell your home.

More homes are making it onto the market daily, but they won’t stay for long. The greatest demand for homes is within the $200,000 to $350,000 price range. In January, homes priced in that range spent an average of 49 days on the market.  Last year, homes priced in that range spent an average of 59 days on the market, whereas four years ago they spent 115 days on the market. Availability of homes in this coveted price range is dropping, creating a considerable shortage of inventory.triangle home sales

Over the last year, the Triangle inventory dropped 9.4%. This inventory dropped an astonishing 36.4% in the last four years. New construction contributes homes to the market, however they are often priced higher than buyers might like. This is a consequence of rising land prices in the Triangle, but it makes new construction less attractive. The lack of acceptable options has encouraged home owners to stay put, influencing the lack of inventory of homes in the $200,000 to $300,000 price range.

In this seller’s market, homes are often sold above the original list price. In January, 13% of homes sold for more than they were originally listed for. Even buyers are confused as to why they make an offer at or above list price, and they don’t win the bidding war. “Blind bidding,” says John Wood, owner of Re/Max United in Cary, North Carolina. “They don’t know why they’re not being successful,” he reports to the News and Observer. It’s all about inventory.

In January, 61% of homes either reached a contract pending, or closed sale. Inventory has fallen for 29 consecutive months, according to MLS data. At the end of January, there were 4,654 Triangle homes on the market overall. This is great news if you’re looking to sell your home, especially if it is appraised within the coveted price range. Consequently, it isn’t great news if you’re looking to relocate to a home in this price range.

“The continued lack of inventory within the sweet spot of demand will produce the following: increasing prices, lower than average days on the market, multiple offers and many final offers accepted above list price,” concludes the MLS report on January, 2017.

 

How We Can Help

Overall, the indicators are good and real estate market trends in the Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill metropolitan area show that it is an excellent time to sell.

At Real Estate Experts, we pride ourselves on our strengths in our home valuation knowledge and our expertise in preparing and marketing homes for sale.  Contact us for a skilled appraisal of your home and expert advice on selling your home in today’s real estate market.

Is Granite Out? Find Out What’s In

There’s no denying that granite is a phenomenal countertop material. It’s pretty, durable, and affordable at a $75 average per square foot. Granite’s 30-year run on top as the preferred type of countertop isn’t necessarily coming to an end, but there are a variety of different materials being used for countertops now too. Home owners and buyers are looking towards more modern designs that use these different materials to create an updated kitchen. According to the National Kitchen and Bath Association, quartz is the leading competitor.

Quartz

Is Granite Out?
The durability of this material is impeccable. Resistant to scratches, chips, and stains, quartz overtakes granite in durability. Quartz can also defend itself from heat, which means it’s OK to put that pan on the countertop after pulling it off the stove. Granite and marble are porous materials. While granite and marble need yearly sealing treatments to keep the countertops in good condition, quartz needs nothing of the sort. Engineered quartz comes in uniform designs because as it is engineered, there’s no one-of-a-kind slabs to choose from. But don’t worry, because quartz comes in many different colors and designs.

It’s also very affordable. Granite costs $75 on average per square foot, while marble costs $85 on average per square foot. Quartz is right in between at $80 on average per square foot.

Stainless Steel

Is Granite Out?This material is very functional and efficient in the kitchen. Heat resistant, rust resistant, and stain resistant, stainless steel as a countertop material can be very efficient. Another unique feature of stainless steel is that it won’t let bacteria harbor on its surface. The material is easy to clean, however it has it’s drawbacks.

Stainless steel will scratch easy. Choosing a brushed stainless finish will help in the battle against visible scratches, but it’s a good idea to use a cutting board during food prep.

SoapstoneIs Granite Out?

This attractive material is non-porous, resistant to stains, and it comes in a variety of colors. What more could you want out of a countertop material? The natural quarried stone doesn’t need sealing treatments like granite or marble which makes it low-maintenance, too.

Unfortunately, soapstone is soft so it’s likely to scratch easily. It also comes in smaller slabs than granite, marble, or quartz. This means that the seams of the slabs may be visible in the countertops.

Wood

Is Granite Out?Natural wood is becoming a commonality in homes. It’s beautiful, unique, and adds warmth to any home. Used for butcher blocks and custom made furniture, wood creates a beautiful and tasteful environment. Wood countertops are stunning, but their downside is that they damage easily. Heat and moisture will injure your wooden countertops which must be sealed monthly. The upside? Wood countertops can be refinished if damage occurs to them.

ConcreteIs Granite Out?

Concrete countertops aren’t new to the market, but their updates are. While they used to chip and crack easily, concrete countertops now prove to be less prone to damage. Heat resistant and naturally very strong, there are advantages to this material. Slabs of concrete can also be sealed to prevent staining. They’re also available in a variety of colors to suit your kitchen design.

Which is Right for You?

Choosing a material to remodel your kitchen countertops with can help your kitchen look more upscale. While choosing the material is important, it’s also important to figure out if you’re remodeling for yourself. Or, on the other hand, are you remodeling for a potential buyer? If you’re remodeling for the latter situation, try one of these different countertop materials to modernize your kitchen.

Unsure of what updates to make before selling your home? Real Estate Experts are here to help. Visit us online.  Call us today at 919-813-6449 or e-mail us at  info@realestateexperts.net for additional information.

How To Keep Mold In Homes From Killing Your Home Sale

Mold in crawlspace.

Mold in homes is not an uncommon problem.  A 2003 University of Arizona study found that 100 percent of homes have mold (although not necessarily the dangerous kind). It is a real disappointment to find your dream home, only to discover after the inspection that there is a mold issue.  Typically, mold is found in a crawl space on the floor joists and/or insulation. This type of mold can be cleaned but sometimes the jobs are small and sometimes they are quite large.  Mold comes from moisture and moisture can cause rot in framing boards as well.  If, however, the mold makes its way in the duct work carrying air into the home, this is a different ball game altogether.

Depending on the severity of the mold found in a home, some home buyers consider mold a deal-breaker, as it can make you and your family sick and can weaken walls, ceilings, and floors.  We have seen numerous deals fall apart over mold in the crawl space.

It is very advantageous for home sellers to have pre-sale home inspections.  Home inspectors will look at the crawl space and report on whether there is a problem.  If mold is found, sellers can get ahead of any potential downstream problem by consulting a mold remediation specialist and cleaning the mold and making any necessary repairs before the house goes on the market.

For buyers, if mold is found in your dream home during the home inspection, consider consulting a mold remediation specialist before you completely write off the home.  It is not difficult to clean the mold but what must be done is repairing the source of the problem to begin with.

 

 

Mold remediation specialists are experts at spotting mold and making recommendations of how to treat that mold so it does not return. Mold growth is commonly found in moist, damp areas, such as the crawl space, air ducts, and attic. A common source of water in the home is poor rainwater management.  If the grade outside is not directing water away from the home, that water can collect and eventually allow mildew or toxic mold to grow.

A reputable mold remediation specialist should perform, at a minimum, the following:

  • Assess the extent of the mold problem and identify mold-damaged materials.
  • Identify the origin of the moisture problem.
  • Plan a mold remediation strategy and adapt guidelines to fit the unique situation.
  • Remove mold growth and remediate the affected area.
  • Repair the water or moisture problem.
  • Clean and dry moldy materials, and discard moldy items that can’t be cleaned.
  • Perform follow-up inspections to check for the return of moisture and mold.
  • Provide a transferable warranty for their work

If mold is discovered and the parties decide to hire a mold remediation specialist, how much is it going to cost? The answer: anywhere from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand or more. It depends on the extent of the mold problem and how much work is going to be needed.  Sometimes structural repairs need to be made as well.  This should not scare a buyer. It is rare to find a problem that can not be fixed and fixed property.  According to the professionals, most mold problems in real estate transactions are usually on the smaller size and cost far less than most sellers and buyers would assume.

Of course, it is not always worth it to put forth the time and money involved in hiring a mold remediation specialist. You will want to consider whether the cost of repair is worth it, and whether or not the current homeowner is willing to negotiate on the selling price.

As real estate professionals, we deal with issues like this every day.  We are trained to handle issues like mold and know the top mold and water remediation specialists to work with locally.  Don’t hesitate when you are thinking of buying or selling a home to reach out to top realtors to help you through the process.

 

Inexpensive Home Staging Tips

Home StagingThere’s no doubt that staging your home prior to placing it on the market is crucial if you want to earn top dollar. But must you spend “top dollar” during the home staging process? Not necessarily. There are many ways you can spruce up your dwelling without breaking the bank. Here are some excellent home staging tips.

Outdoor Home Staging Tips

  • Remove all cobwebs, dust, and dirt from front porch and surrounding areas.
  • Replace the door handle, knocker, and/or doorbell if they are looking old and tarnished.
  • Clean all outdoor lights and replace bulbs, if needed.
  • Place a couple of pretty flowering plants by your front porch or door.
  • Trim all the bushes and remove weeds.
  • Clean all the interior and exterior windows (make it a family affair)!

Entryway Home Staging Tips

  • Keep the foyer clear of items like coat racks and clutter.
  • Buy a pretty new rug for the foyer (Target has some great inexpensive choices).
  • Repaint walls near entryway.
Entryway home staging tips

Image courtesy of atticmag.com.

Living Area Home Staging Tips

  • Remove all family photos.
  • Ditto for knick-knacks, mementos, and souvenirs.
  • Remove half your clothing from all closets (to give the appearance of plenty of storage space).
  • Consider packing each room by 30% to give the appearance of more space.
  • Think about rearranging furniture to create a better flow and the appearance of more space (pick up a feng shu book from the library for help with this).
  • Host a painting party! Invite your friends to help you paint the interior of your home in a neutral color, and provide pizza and beer afterward.
  • Have carpets professionally cleaned, or rent a steam cleaner and do it yourself. Cover unsightly stains with throw rugs.
  • Make sure window treatments are clean and functional.
  • Replace all your home’s lightbulbs with at least 100 watt bulbs…people love light!
  • Speaking of light, clean all light fixtures so they sparkle and shine.
  • Clean all light switch plates, and replace cracked or outdated plates.
Home staging tips for your family room

Image courtesy of homedesign2sell.com.

Kitchen Home Staging Tips

  • Remove all appliances from kitchen countertops.
  • Clean out and declutter inside kitchen cabinets.
  • Consider repainting kitchen cabinets if they are looking old and outdated.
  • Replace pendant lights for a fresh, updated look.
  • Set the kitchen and/or dining table with pretty linens, silverware, and flowers.
  • Don’t cook any smelly foods, like bacon or fish. Those smells tend to linger around.
Kitchen home staging tips

Photo courtesy of stagemyownhome.com.

Bathroom Home Staging Tips

  • Replace any old shower curtains.
  • Recaulk where necessary.
  • Place pretty new rugs and towels in bathrooms.
  • Add fresh flowers and/or scented candles.
bath

Image courtesy of realestatestagingassociation.com.

 

At Real Estate Experts, we put a tremendous amount of weight on home staging.  Visit RealEstateExperts.net to learn how we integrate home staging and now, virtual staging, into our listings.

 

 

 

Home Improvements: Trends and ROI

Home Improvements

Home Improvements

If you are considering making home improvements, one of the primary considerations will be the potential return on investment. Here are some of the most common home renovations and their ROI:

Home Improvements vs. Home Maintenance

If your roof is 20 years old, it’s time to replace it rather than remodel your bathroom to make it more aesthetically-pleasing. Many home buyers are finding it difficult to come up with a down payment and monthly mortgage payment, let alone the funds to maintain the property they just bought. Most home buyers don’t want the headache of extra costs following the actual purchase. First-time home buyers in particular are inclined to look for properties that require little to no home maintenance and are “move-in ready.”

Green home improvements can greatly impact a home’s energy efficiency, which has the added benefit of compounding savings over time. According to the 2015 Remodeling Impact Report (RII), a joint study from the National Association of the Remodeling Industry and the National Association of Realtors, here are some high ROI projects:

  • Insulation upgrade: approximately 95 percent ROI
  • Replacing old windows: approximately 80 percent ROI for new vinyl windows; approximately 58 percent ROI for new wood windows
  • HVAC Replacement: approximately 71 percent ROI
  • New roofing: approximately 105 percent ROI

Kitchen Renovations

An updated kitchen is a key selling point with home buyers; after all, it’s the heart of the home! According to the RII survey, 79 percent of remodelers say that kitchen upgrades are the secKitchen Renovationsond most popular renovation project in 2016. Kitchen colors are changing, and although white is still a popular choice,everything from cabinets to backsplashes will be done in less saturated tones, according to interior designer Jane Lockhart. “Charcoal, grays, and even neutral pastels like pale blue, pale green gray, and tinted whites are the new alternative to the standard white,” she says. Consumers are also interested in new ways to maximize kitchen storage, with cabinetry featuring deeper or multi-tiered drawers. Granite and quartz continue to be the most desired countertop materials, with neutral gray or brown color palettes. With a full kitchen renovation, you can expect up to a 67 percent ROI.

Bathroom Renovations

Bathroom Renovations

The major trend in updating bathrooms is removing the garden tub and replacing it with a large shower “room,” allowing the occupant to enjoy a spa-like experience. The room is typically completely tiled and often features a bench and storage nooks for soaps and towels. Add some square-shaped fixtures and shower heads to remain on-trend.  Shower seats and grab bars, once delegated to senior citizens, are going mainstream. Bathroom colors are trending toward cool tones that create a tranquil environment. Blues and greens can be paired with white and touches of wood for a fresh, serene vibe. According to the RII survey, bathroom models will yield an attractive ROI of 58 percent.

Hardwood Flooring Upgrades

Hardwood Flooring Upgrade

The top request of home buyers across the nation? Hardwood floors, according to HGTV. In fact, the National Association of REALTORS® found that 54% of home buyers were willing to pay more for a home with hardwood flooring. Home buyers want hardwood flooring because it easily unites many rooms and is the easiest to clean. Installing hardwood can be expensive–between $9 and $12 per square foot, compared with about $3 to $5 per square foot for carpet—so you may opt to install hardwood only in some rooms rather than throughout your home.You can expect an ROI of up to 100 percent by installing or refurbishing hardwood flooring in your main living areas, or even throughout your home!

An Open Floor Plan

Open Floor Plan

Up to 40 percent of home buyers prefer an open floor plan that seamlessly blends the kitchen, dining area, and family room. Tearing down walls to create open spaces is a big trend in home improvement right now. If you live in a single-story home, where none of the interior walls are load-bearing, removing them is relatively simple. In a multi-story house, however, you must ensure the wall you want to remove is not load-bearing. You will most likely need to consult with a structural engineer to advise you on the feasibility of taking down a wall, and what additional work you would need to do to shore up the house if you want to remove a load-bearing wall.The specific percentage of value recovered from the cost of opening up a floor plan is difficult to estimate due to the large range of construction issues that affect final costs.

If you would like more information about major or minor home improvements and their expected ROI, contact us today at 919-813-6449 or send us an email to  info@realestateexperts.net. Visit us online at realestateexperts.net.

Home Improvements

Home Improvements

If you are considering making home improvements, one of the primary considerations will be the potential return on investment. Here are some of the most common home renovations and their ROI:

Home Improvements vs. Home Maintenance

If your roof is 20 years old, it’s time to replace it rather than remodel your bathroom to make it more aesthetically-pleasing. Many home buyers are finding it difficult to come up with a down payment and monthly mortgage payment, let alone the funds to maintain the property they just bought. Most home buyers don’t want the headache of extra costs following the actual purchase. First-time home buyers in particular are inclined to look for properties that require little to no home maintenance and are “move-in ready.”

Green home improvements can greatly impact a home’s energy efficiency, which has the added benefit of compounding savings over time. According to the 2015 Remodeling Impact Report (RII), a joint study from the National Association of the Remodeling Industry and the National Association of Realtors, here are some high ROI projects:

  • Insulation upgrade: approximately 95 percent ROI
  • Replacing old windows: approximately 80 percent ROI for new vinyl windows; approximately 58 percent ROI for new wood windows
  • HVAC Replacement: approximately 71 percent ROI
  • New roofing: approximately 105 percent ROI

Kitchen Renovations

An updated kitchen is a key selling point with home buyers; after all, it’s the heart of the home! According to the RII survey, 79 percent of remodelers say that kitchen upgrades are the secKitchen Renovationsond most popular renovation project in 2016. Kitchen colors are changing, and although white is still a popular choice,everything from cabinets to backsplashes will be done in less saturated tones, according to interior designer Jane Lockhart. “Charcoal, grays, and even neutral pastels like pale blue, pale green gray, and tinted whites are the new alternative to the standard white,” she says. Consumers are also interested in new ways to maximize kitchen storage, with cabinetry featuring deeper or multi-tiered drawers. Granite and quartz continue to be the most desired countertop materials, with neutral gray or brown color palettes. With a full kitchen renovation, you can expect up to a 67 percent ROI.

Bathroom Renovations

Bathroom Renovations

The major trend in updating bathrooms is removing the garden tub and replacing it with a large shower “room,” allowing the occupant to enjoy a spa-like experience. The room is typically completely tiled and often features a bench and storage nooks for soaps and towels. Add some square-shaped fixtures and shower heads to remain on-trend.  Shower seats and grab bars, once delegated to senior citizens, are going mainstream. Bathroom colors are trending toward cool tones that create a tranquil environment. Blues and greens can be paired with white and touches of wood for a fresh, serene vibe. According to the RII survey, bathroom models will yield an attractive ROI of 58 percent.

Hardwood Flooring Upgrades

Hardwood Flooring Upgrade

The top request of home buyers across the nation? Hardwood floors, according to HGTV. In fact, the National Association of REALTORS® found that 54% of home buyers were willing to pay more for a home with hardwood flooring. Home buyers want hardwood flooring because it easily unites many rooms and is the easiest to clean. Installing hardwood can be expensive–between $9 and $12 per square foot, compared with about $3 to $5 per square foot for carpet—so you may opt to install hardwood only in some rooms rather than throughout your home.You can expect an ROI of up to 100 percent by installing or refurbishing hardwood flooring in your main living areas, or even throughout your home!

An Open Floor Plan

Open Floor Plan

Up to 40 percent of home buyers prefer an open floor plan that seamlessly blends the kitchen, dining area, and family room. Tearing down walls to create open spaces is a big trend in home improvement right now. If you live in a single-story home, where none of the interior walls are load-bearing, removing them is relatively simple. In a multi-story house, however, you must ensure the wall you want to remove is not load-bearing. You will most likely need to consult with a structural engineer to advise you on the feasibility of taking down a wall, and what additional work you would need to do to shore up the house if you want to remove a load-bearing wall.The specific percentage of value recovered from the cost of opening up a floor plan is difficult to estimate due to the large range of construction issues that affect final costs.

If you would like more information about major or minor home improvements and their expected ROI, contact us today at 919-813-6449 or send us an email to  info@realestateexperts.net. Visit us online at realestateexperts.net.

Home Loan Down Payment

Image courtesy of housingwire.com.

If there is one area in real estate that confuses potential home buyers, it’s the preconceived notion that you are required to make a 20% home loan down payment. Consumers, particularly millennials and first-time home buyers, are tentative about taking the plunge toward home ownership due to this belief, according a recent survey (Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers) by the National Association of REALTORS (NARS).

This perception runs contrary to data collected by NARS over the past 35 years.  The data indicates that the average median down payment for first-time buyers is five percent on average.

“It’s possible some of the hesitation about buying among young adults is from them not realizing there are mortgage financing options available that do not require a 20 percent home loan down payment.

Consumers are wary about their ability to save the funds they believe they will need for a down payment, with house prices and rent continuing to rise each month. According to the NARS survey, 19 percent of current homeowners stated that they have received financial assistance toward a down payment from a parent or relative. Of these, most were age 34 or younger, living in the Northeast, or living in an urban area.

Still, the NARS survey found that the appetite for home ownership remains strong, with 78 percent of homeowners and 60 percent of renters saying now is a good time to buy.

Loan Officer Teresa Parker of Cunningham & Company Mortgage Bankers agrees. Parker is a preferred lender with NC Housing and has extensive experience working with the organization’s affordable housing products for her clients. “Many clients are not aware that for eligible borrowers, a down payment could be as little as 3 percent,” she said. “In addition, there are both loan and down payment assistance programs I can help my clients obtain that, combined, can provide home financing at close to 100 percent.” These down payment assistance programs are not necessarily limited to first-time home buyers. Move-up buyers may also take advantage of these programs, if eligible.

Parker also points out that eligible first-time home buyers can obtain the Mortgage Tax Credit (MCC) along with their loan closing, which enables eligible first-time buyers and military veterans to save up to $2,000 a year on their federal taxes. In addition, consumers who buy homes in certain targeted census tracts may be eligible for the MCC program, even if they are not first-time home buyers. The MCC leaves homebuyers with more money to put toward their mortgage payment. “If you qualify, you can claim a federal tax credit for 30% of the interest you pay on an existing home (50% on new construction)—up to $2,000 per year for every year you live in your home,” says Parker.

Am I Eligible To Make Less Than a 20% Home Loan Downpayment?

You may be eligible for a Mortgage Credit Certificate if:

  • You are a first-time home buyer or military veteran
  • You meet the income and sales price limits
  • You are purchasing a new or existing home in North Carolina
  • You occupy the home as your principal residence within 60 days of closing
  • You are a legal resident of the United States

What Properties are Eligible?

  • New and previously owned single-family homes
  • Townhouses
  • Condominiums
  • New or used manufactured homes

For more information about down payment options, contact Teresa Parker, Loan Officer at Cunningham & Company Mortgage BankersNMLS # 2024 at (919) 697-2598 or Teresap@cunninghammortgage.com.

To see Real Estate Experts’ newest listings, click here, and feel free to give us a call anytime at 919-813-6449 or send us an email to  info@realestateexperts.net.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

September 2016 Real Estate Market Trends

Market Trends

As we near the end of 2016, real estate market trends for the Triangle and surrounding areas are improving: closed sales are up; median and average prices are up; days on market (DOM) are down; list-to-sales price ratio (how close sellers get to the list price) is up; and inventory is down. This is all good news.

It helps to take a deeper dive and look at the numbers by market area – there are real differences.

 

Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill Real Estate Market Data

Real Estate Market Trends

Homes for sale in Chapel Hill are up 11.5%, plus average and median sales prices are up 2.9% and 3.2%, respectively. But Chapel Hill homes average the longest number of days on the market, 79, compared to 39 in Wake County, 37 in Raleigh, and 29 in Cary/Apex/Morrisville. Chapel Hill also has the second largest inventory on the market, next to Chatham County.

Durham real estate is doing very well. Closed sales are up over 10%, median and average prices are up close to 10%, and days on the market is under 40! In addition, inventory is hovering at around two months. Clearly, we need more inventory come on the market in Durham.

The real estate market in Cary, Apex, and Morrisville is smoking hot. All indicators are up, and the average days on the market is 29, with less than two months of inventory on the market. This is amazing!

The third quarter indicators for the Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill real estate market are strong:

  • Inventory is down 12%
  • Pending sales are up 6%
  • Closed sales are up 9%
  • Days on market is 50
  • Average prices are up 6%

There’s no doubt that the market has improved in 2016. If you have been thinking about selling, give me a call today at 919-697-5014. I am happy to do a complementary analysis and inform you how your house stacks up against these averages.  Circumstances vary in different locations and price ranges. As a real estate expert with 20 years of experience in analyzing the Triangle real estate market, I tell it like it is. My role is to give my clients honest feedback as to whether it makes sense to sell or sit tight. I’m here for you!

For more information on the real estate market, visit  www.RealEstateExperts.net.

 

Staging Your Home: Final Tips!

We covered the basics of staging your home in our last post and inexpensive home staging tips a few posts back; today, we will look at how to make a smaller home look larger, or at least as big as it is. There’s nothing more uncomfortable for buyers than walking through a crowded, cluttered residence. Potential buyers are looking for light, space, and an open feel.

Staging Your Home

Here are some tips to create this type of environment in your home:

When staging your home reduce clutter

  1. Clear out the clutter. Lots of smaller items, like decorative figurines displayed on every horizontal surface, eat up visual space. Only display three to five items at a time. Store, sell or pack up the rest.
  2. Display fewer pieces of furniture. Its better to have one larger dresser than two smaller ones. You can put the extra pieces in storage.
  3. Use appropriately-sized furniture. Having a huge, oversize sofa in a small living room will call attention to how small the room really is.
  4. Pull furniture away from the wall. This trick will create a sense of greater space.  Design a cozy sitting area in front of the fireplace or television, with room to move around the back of the furniture.
  5. Cooler colors recede. If you have a small room, paint it a pale blue, green, or gray to make it feel larger.
  6. To make your home appear larger on the outside, paint it a lighter color. Houses appear larger on the outside when painted a lighter color.Home staging with soft colors
  7. Place the bed on the wall furthest from the door. Voila! The room will feel instantly larger.
  8. Show more hardwood. The larger the expanse of hardwood floor, the larger the room will appear. Do you really need that area rug?
  9. Try using one larger area rug instead of several smaller rugs. Or if the room looks good without them, don’t use any rugs.
  10. Patterned upholstery and drapes make a room feel smaller. Use fewer patterns on upholstery and bedding. Use a solid color blanket or bedspread on a bed in a small bedroom to make the room feel larger.
  11. Strategically placed mirrors make a room feel larger. Reflect a window or outdoor view. You can also visually expand a space by putting a large mirror over a sofa.
  12. A well-lit room feels larger. Make sure every overhead light and table lamp is lit, and window shades and blinds are fully opened, before open houses and showings. Clean your windows and screens so they let in maximum light and sparkle.
  13. Minimize window treatments. The simpler the better. Shutters, blinds, or simple drapes (no flounces, ruffles, or complicated valences) take up less “visual space.”
  14. Make all your cabinets and closets half-empty. This tip makes it appear you have more closet and cabinet space.
  15. Clean houses feel larger. Make sure all surfaces, including your floors, are shiny clean.

Remember, staged homes sell 90% faster, according to the most recent statistics released by the Real Estate Staging Association. It is well worth putting in the time and effort beforehand to ensure your home will sell quickly and at top-dollar.Real Estate Home Staging Assocation

To hear firsthand from our clients about the power of staging your home.  For more information about preparing to sell your home and more tips and insight into staging, contact us anytime at 919-813-6449 or info@realestateexperts.net. Visit us online at realestateexperts.net.