ORLANDO, Fla. – What are statistics, and how important are they to understanding the real estate market or the overall economy? Statistics often try to capture information by putting it in a single number, says Erica Cross, research analyst with Florida Realtors®.Read More »
ORLANDO, Fla. – More people are back on the move this year, thanks to job growth, the improving economy and a stronger housing market.
The American Moving & Storage Association has found that 5.4 percent more households have already moved this year compared to 2012, based on data from nine of the largest moving companies. According to the Census Bureau, an estimated 36.5 million people moved in 2012, up from 35.1 million in 2011.
The Millennial generation, those between 18 and 34 years old, are the most likely to consider moving. About half say they’ll consider moving next year, according to the survey.
In fact, the average American moves six times in their adult life, according to a recent survey of 1,020 respondents from moving company Mayflower.
When considering a move, here are 9 tips to help make it successful and stress-free.
- Stock up on packing materials and supplies. Moving boxes, bubble wrap, newspapers, packing foam, packing tape, plastic totes – anything and everything you can put together ahead of time will help when you’re ready to begin packing.
- Start early. The earlier you begin packing, the more organized and stress-free you’ll be.
- Identify, label and color-coordinate. Mark all boxes or containers with the contents. Also, label boxes with where they should go and give each one a color code – that way, you’ll know at a glance that “red” is for the kitchen even if you can’t read the label. Otherwise, you may lose a lot of time digging into boxes to figure out what they contain.
- Lighten the load. De-clutter, purge and eliminate unused, unwanted or broken items. The more stuff you can donate, give away, sell or throw out, the lighter your load will be – saving you packing time, loading time and money.
- Move mid-week if possible. Try to move during the week, when more places like banks, utilities, government offices, mechanics and tow services are open, just in case you run into problems and need help.
- Plan for pets and plants. Who is going to take care of your pets or your plants, if you can’t? Have a plan where to keep them during the move – and how you’ll transport them to your new home.
- Separate out valuables or irreplaceable items. If you’re using a moving company, make sure to separate valuable and/or irreplaceable items like important paperwork/documents, jewelry, family heirlooms, keepsakes, photos or any other items you feel more comfortable moving yourself.
- Prepare a “load-last” box. There are some things you’ll need to find immediately at your new home, so keep items like medicine, daily toiletries, a change of clothes, etc., where you can get to them quickly and easily.
- File your change of address with the Post Office. Be sure to let Uncle Sam and others know your new address – otherwise you may miss some important mail in the transition.
ORLANDO, Fla. — There are five houses on your street for sale, all with the same number of bedrooms and baths, and priced about the same. What can you do to make your home stand out from your neighbors? The answer is to have the cleanest home on the block.Read More »
ORLANDO, Fla. – In many Florida communities, it’s hard to tell what’s a good price for a home. Location, square footage, age, features and condition are just a few of the variables that can affect the price of a single-family home, townhouse or condominium. That’s why most Florida buyers seek advice from a local Realtor® when comparing homes and preparing their offers.Read More »
ORLANDO, Fla. –– Many homebuyers don’t understand how a home inspection works. Buyers should first understand an inspection isn’t adversarial. Everyone involved in the purchase – the buyer, the buyer’s agent, listing agent and seller – have the same goal, which is to move forward with a clean sales transaction.Read More »
ORLANDO, Fla. — When prospective buyers tour a home, they like to look at all the details and “test drive” the features. Of course, if there’s one faucet that doesn’t work, that’s the one they’ll turn. If there’s one torn screen, that’s the one they’ll notice.
“Perception is reality. If someone sees a crooked chandelier or a light bulb that’s out, they may think it’s broken and cannot be repaired. This can taint the overall image of the property,” says Realtor® Mark Palace, founder and CEO of Palace Properties International Inc. in Satellite Beach, Fla.
Making a checklist is the easiest way to make sure your home is in top condition and ready to be inspected by buyers. Here is a list of 40 things that Palace and other Florida real estate experts suggest you review and fix before putting your home on the market.
- Keys work easily in locks
- Dead-bolt locks are aligned correctly so they are easy to open and close
- Home security system
- Security pad
- Garage door openers operate, both handhelds and built-ins
- Screens and window frames are clean
- Windows open easily
- Interior and exterior doors open and close quietly, without squeaking
- Pocket doors and sliding doors move easily in their tracks
- All interior light bulbs, switches and fixtures
- Porch lights, carriage lights, security lights
- Pool, spa and patio lights
- Oven light and timer
- Oven clock shows correct time
- Built-in microwave shows correct time and operates
- Garbage disposal operates and smells fresh
- Trash compactor
- Range hood light and exhaust fan
- Bottom of oven is clean
- Oven racks are clean and broiler works
- Dishwasher operates, silverware basket in place
- Refrigerator door light
- Gaskets on refrigerator and freezer
- Smoke detectors
- Air-conditioner/furnace/heater/heater thermostat, operation, coolant leakage, condensation, duct leaks
- Ceiling fans operate smoothly and quietly
- Bathroom vent fans
- All faucets operate easily
- Leaking faucets (an inexpensive washer could fix a leak)
- Toilets flush smoothly, fully
- Drainage in sinks, showers and tubs
- Pool pump and filter
- Pool vacuum
- Underwater jets in pool/spa
- Outdoor faucets/hose connections
- Indoor intercoms
- Patio/outdoor intercoms, speakers
- Carpet and flooring is clean and crack-free
Your Realtor® can help you prepare this checklist and make suggestions for any repairs. Some fixes are easy and you can do them yourself. Others may require a professional. Either way, that attention to detail can make a real difference in the sale of your home.
ORLANDO, Fla. – Home improvement projects can give a house a new look, provide increased efficiency and cost savings, update outmoded trends, plus enhance value and resale potential.
Remodeling parts of a home can add to the owner’s long-term enjoyment of the property by changing it to better suit his or her lifestyle preferences. While many houses may benefit from a renovation, particularly distressed properties, some projects may not be worth the time or money, if considering the return on investment.
The 2013 Remodeling Cost vs. Value Report (Link to http://www.remodeling.hw.net/2013/costvsvalue/national.aspx) from the National Association of Realtors® (NAR) and Remodeling magazine found that exterior projects usually have the highest return on investment.
“Curb appeal is important – a home’s exterior is the first thing that potential buyers see,” says 2013 Florida Realtors President Dean Asher, broker-owner with Don Asher & Associates Inc. in Orlando. “Projects such as siding, window and door replacements can recoup more than 70 percent of their cost at resale.”
The report found that some of the top cost-effective projects for home improvement are:
• Replacing a front door with a steel one – 86 percent of cost
• Fiber cement siding replacement – 79 percent
• Upscale or midrange garage door replacement – 75 percent
• Minor kitchen remodel – 75 percent
• Vinyl siding replacement – 73 percent
• Attic bedroom – 73 percent
If getting the biggest bang for the buck is a top priority, then homeowners should avoid the following projects, according to the Cost vs. Value Report, because they have the lowest return upon the home’s resale:
• Replacing a front door with a fiberglass one – 56 percent of cost
• Bathroom addition – 51 percent
• Backup power generator – 47 percent
• Sunroom addition – 45 percent
• Home office remodel – 43 percent
With the housing market and economy gaining strength, homeowners are starting to spend more on home improvement projects now. A recent study from Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies found that spending on home improvement rose 9 percent in 2012.Read More »
ORLANDO, Fla. — You’ve decided it’s time to redecorate. The next step is making choices that will please you over the long run, whether you’ll be selling your home in a few months or staying for a few years. After all, your home is a major investment and you want to be sure you add to its value.
Homeowners who are thinking about redecorating and plan to sell their home in the next five years, should generally focus on the traditional rather than the trendy, according to Realtor® Lynn Savits, with Coldwell Banker Residential in Aventura. “A real estate professional can help you determine what makes the most sense for your home,” she adds.
Here are some simple tips suggested by Florida Realtors® to update and freshen your home without spending an excessive amount of time and money.
- Light Matters — Enhance your home’s brightness by opening shades/drapes. Replace older, dull window treatments with contemporary ones that let the light in. Also consider replacing incandescent light bulbs with energy efficient fluorescent bulbs to brighten your home and save money on your electric bill.
- Keep It Simple — Select white, off-white or neutral colors for large areas like walls and expensive items like carpet or appliances. You can add color with pieces that will move with you when you sell, such as furnishings, throw rugs, curtains, pillows, art objects and wall hangings.
- Kitchens Rule — Repaint the kitchen, being careful to choose conservative colors. Replace out-of-date or worn flooring. If new cabinets are beyond your budget, you can replace or refinish the doors or just the cabinet or drawer pulls. Likewise, tiling or refinishing counter tops may be a cost-effective option to replacement. At a minimum, clean or replace any grouting on floor or countertops.
- Think Frugal — If you expect to move during the next five years, buy reasonably priced carpet or flooring in neutral shades. Invest enough to get a fresh, attractive look that you will enjoy, but don’t spend so much that you won’t recover all or most of the cost when you sell your home.
- Call a Realtor —If you have a specific problem, or are torn between decorating alternatives, you should consider calling a Realtor in your area. “This is the perfect person to help you decide which redecorating choices will be attractive to buyers – regardless of price range,” says Savits.
By following these suggestions, you can enjoy the fruits of your redecorating. Make changes that you will enjoy, but remember to think about what also might appeal to a buyer when it’s time to sell your home in the future.
ORLANDO, Fla. – With its beautiful beaches, sunny climate and world-renowned attractions, Florida is one of the top destinations for international homebuyers.Read More »
ORLANDO, Fla. – Thinking of selling your current home, but don’t know where to start? A Realtor® in Florida can help you attract buyers from around the corner – or from another continent – so you’ll be able to close the transaction and move ahead with your life.
“Florida Realtors® provide sellers with the benefits of their training, experience and market knowledge,” says 2012 Florida Realtors President-Elect Dean Asher, owner, Dan Asher and Associates in Orlando. “They know how to get results for sellers in our state’s constantly changing real estate market.”
Asher says sellers today are faced with many questions: Is now the right time to sell my home or condominium? Can I make my residence more appealing to buyers? How can I get the best possible price and complete the sale?
By drawing on their knowledge of the local market, marketing and negotiation skills, Florida Realtors help sellers avoid potentially costly mistakes and keep the complex process running smoothly, adds Asher. “Selling a home is a major decision, both personally and financially,” he says. “A Realtor will provide knowledgeable guidance and help manage the process, saving time, money and headaches.”
A survey from the National Association of Realtors® (NAR) found that 88 percent of U.S. sellers were assisted by a real estate agent when selling their home. According to NAR’s 2010 “Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers,” 83 percent of sellers would definitely (63 percent) or probably (20 percent) use the Realtor again or recommend the agent to others.
“Marketing and selling a home is a complex process,” says Asher. “To do so, Florida’s Realtors use a wide array of tools, from social networking and online video tours to Multiple Listing Service (MLS) postings, newspaper ads and even knocking on doors in the neighborhood.”
In addition to getting the best sales price and guiding a seller through the maze of paperwork and procedures involved in selling a home, a Realtor can provide other services, including:
- Gathering information about the home – such as square footage, type of heating and cooling systems, proximity to schools and other features – to prepare it for sale.
- Analyzing comparable home sales in the area, then using that information to better estimate a property’s value, so it can be priced right to sell.
- Designing an effective strategy to market the home. That can include posting photos and information about the home on high-volume websites, emailing open house invitations, placing advertisements in local publications and putting a traditional for-sale sign in front of the residence.
- Listing the home on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), which all Realtors – locally, nationally and internationally – can access as they seek a home for their buyers.
- Bringing qualified buyers to preview the home.
- Writing offers, placing the buyer’s deposit in escrow and taking care of other necessary paperwork.
- Guiding the seller through all aspects of the sales contract and dealing with the buyer on any items that may need to be negotiated.
- Helping the buyer find financing, arranging for a home inspection and appraisal, and completing other details in preparation for closing the deal.
- Serving as the seller’s representative at the closing table.
“Working with a Realtor can give sellers peace of mind,” says Asher. “A Realtor in Florida is more than a licensed professional with training and experience in real estate – he or she voluntarily agrees to abide by a Code of Ethics and promises to provide honest treatment to both sellers and buyers.”