Amazon Key: The Prime Way to Access Listings?

By Liz Dominguez The real estate industry is constantly evolving, and the next big thing is here. Amazon’s latest innovative tech product, Amazon Key, an app exclusively for Prime members, is being advertised as a safer way to get packages delivered, but has the potential to be so much more than that. It’s similar to how eKey […]

The post Amazon Key: The Prime Way to Access Listings? appeared first on RISMedia’s Housecall.

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Instant Reaction: Q3 GDP

The following is NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun’s reaction to this morning’s U.S. Commerce Department release on Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the third quarter:

“Economic growth of 3% in the third quarter is quite impressive in light of the some pause in activity in hurricane-impacted regions. The big contributors were a solid rise in business spending on equipment, which burst higher by 8.6%, and improvements in net exports. Consumers spending grew decently at 2.4%.

What was missing in the growth was real estate construction. Private commercial building construction spending fell by 5.2% and residential real estate spending from new home construction and home sales activity declined by 6.0%. This soft construction activity assures continuing tight inventory conditions, and certainly no oversupply concerns in both commercial and residential real estate. If real estate activity can kick higher, since more construction is clearly needed, than it’s expected that economic growth can move at an even higher rate.” 

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Love Your Bathroom the Kitchen and Bath Month!

Its October, and that means it’s National Kitchen and Bath Month! The National Association of REALTORS®’ 2017 Remodeling Impact Report shows homeowners the benefits they reap – both financially and emotionally – from showing their bathrooms a little love.

Adding a whole new bathroom to a home brings in a Joy Score of 10! Joy Scores rank the of amount of enjoyment homeowners get from a remodel; they range from 1 and 10, and higher figures indicate greater joy from the project.

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And for homeowners who want to give their existing bathroom an ugrade, consider a renovation. Sixty two percent of homeowners say they have a greater desire to spend time at home after completing the reno!

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Read the entire report here, and happy Kitchen and Bath Month!

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4 Home Staging Horror Stories to Haunt You This Halloween

By Jessica Santina, guest contributor from MoneyGeek.com

As little ghosts and ghouls appear on every corner, how about settling in for a few scary stories of home staging horrors?

The following tales of botched staging jobs, homeowners from hell, and nightmarish décor will likely give you some real-life shivers.

The Scary Screamer

Lori Matzke, owner of CenterStageHome.com, is a home staging expert in the Minneapolis area. As a new stager in 1999, she encountered a horrifying homeowner.

“Unfortunately, at that time, staging had a really bad rap,” Matzke says. “People were so offended if a [an agent] wanted a stager to come into their home — the perception was that you must really live in a pit if you needed staging.”

That was the case with this job. Matzke received a call from a real estate agent asking her to do a staging consultation on a home that was going on the market. Matzke agreed to meet the agent at the home that Sunday morning.

She arrived on time and knocked on the door, only to be greeted by a furious homeowner.

“What do you want?” he barked at her. When she explained who she was and why she was there, he replied, “Oh, yeah, you’re the one who’s coming to criticize our house.”

Matzke politely explained that she only wanted to help them to sell it. The man’s wife came to the door, apologized for her husband, and invited Matzke in. Once she was inside, the man slammed the door so hard that three items fell off the wall.

The agent was running late, so Matzke proceeded to do a walk-through of the home. But every suggestion she made, including the need for a neutral paint color to replace the dark gray, was met with intense hostility.

“He went crazy and started cursing me out,” she says.

Over the course of the next 90 minutes, Matzke feared for her safety as the man repeatedly hurled personal insults at her, screaming, and slamming doors until — at long last — she was able to make her getaway.

Since then Matzke has made it a policy to warn clients not to take offense of her staging suggestions.

“It’s not personal; it has nothing to do with the homeowners’ taste. It’s just about the buyer experience,” she says.

The Body in the Closet

Man hiding in closet

Photo credit: Shutterstock.com

Another time, Matzke was asked to meet an agent at a home for a staging consultation. The two of them walked through the empty home, which Matzke thought was quite nice and needed only a little editing — things like moving furniture around a bit.

The consultation with the agent went on for some time, and she thought it was going well until suddenly, to their extreme shock, the hall closet door swung open and the homeowner jumped out.

“He’d been waiting there a long time in that closet, wanting to hear what people said about his house when no one was there!” Matzke says.

As if this weren’t bad enough, Matzke heard later the house had remained on the market for a long time, mostly because the homeowner had a nasty habit of jumping out of closets and startling visitors.

“The moral of the story is, you can’t be hanging around,” Matzke says. “Some sellers take it very personally when people come to view their homes, but it makes buyers very uncomfortable” for you to be there (especially if you’re hiding in a closet).

Hall of Severed Heads

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Photo credit: Shutterstock.com

Nothing kills a sale like a room full of dead heads. That’s what Matzke suggested to one client whose small house was packed with at least 20 taxidermied animals, including a giant moose head.

“You literally couldn’t walk into the kitchen or you’d be gored by an antler,” she recalls.

Of course, as an experienced stager, Matzke recommended removing the heads to make the home more appealing to potential buyers, and reminded the homeowners their new home would have plenty of space for these treasures. They reluctantly agreed, and when Matzke returned the next week to paint and finish the job, the heads were gone.

“It looked beautiful, like a totally different space,” she says.

Matzke arranged to have a friend go take pictures of the home a few days later so she would have photos for her portfolio. But when the photos arrived in her email, Matzke made a horrific discovery: “The first photo I opened, there was that giant moose head again!”

Nightmare Décor

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Photo credit: Shell Brodnax, Real Estate Staging Association

In this age of DIY reality shows, many people fancy themselves as amateur home stagers, says Shell Brodnax, CEO of the Real Estate Staging Association.

“We love HGTV, and they’ve definitely shined a light on staging,” she says. “But it also leads homeowners to believe they can do stuff on their own. But, like anything else, you need a professional to make it look professional.”

Brodnax has seen some truly frightening faux pas as a stager — forlorn tableaus like card tables set up in the middle of empty rooms, or armchairs and throw blankets stuffed into awkward spaces.

Or this head scratcher: “I saw one where people just put a pile of throw pillows on the floor. We’re not sure why, but it was bad,” she says.

Don’t leave staging to hobbyists, she cautions. Instead, collect bids from at least three stagers, check out their professional portfolios, and call references. Even in the staging world, you get what you pay for.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jessica Santina is a freelance writer, editor and contributor to the mortgage and home buying channel at MoneyGeek.com. She is an award-winning arts and culture, travel, food, and lifestyle writer and blogger whose work has been published in numerous local and regional publications.

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Top Things Millennials Consider When Buying Their First Home

By Jameson Doris Dogs – It’s no secret that us millennials love our dogs. In a recent industry survey, research showed that millennials are now more likely to buy a home because they want a place for their dogs to run around rather than because of the birth of a child. In the top five […]

The post Top Things Millennials Consider When Buying Their First Home appeared first on RISMedia’s Housecall.

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Kitchen Remodeling Projects for Kitchen and Bath Month

October is National Kitchen and Bath Month!

For homeowners considering taking on a remodeling project in honor of the holiday, here is some information on the benefits – both finiancial and emotional – of upgrading or renovating the kitchen from the National Association of REALTORS®’s 2017 Remodeling Imapact Report.

For homeowners hoping to give their kitchen a quick facelift:

Kitchen Upgrade1

Kitchen Upgrade 2

And for homeowners looking to completely redo their kitchen:

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Complete kitchen reno2

Read the entire report here, and happy Kitchen and Bath Month!

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Media: Don’t Miss These Sessions at the 2017 Realtors® Conference & Expo

The 2017 Realtors® Conference and Expo in Chicago is a little over one week away!

With more than 20,000 Realtors®, industry experts and guests scurrying around the McCormick Place, it may be hard as a reporter to identify which of the dozens of sessions are the best use of your time to cover.

That’s why I’m here to help. Below are the notable sessions each day, including three news conferences on Friday. We also hope to see you on Friday evening at our media reception at Sopraffina.

WEDNESDAY, NOV. 1
Realtors® Volunteer Build Day
7:30 a.m.- 3 p.m., 11937 S. Union Avenue, Chicago, Ill. 60628
Realtors® help frame homes for the Habitat for Humanity Chicago. NAR and local Habitat for Humanity leaders will be available for interviews and photos at 7:45 a.m.

THURSDAY, NOV. 2
NAR 360°
4-5 p.m., Sheraton Chicago Hotel, Chicago Ballroom
NAR leadership will offer their perspectives on key association and industry issues.

FRIDAY, NOV. 3
Residential Economic Issues and Trends Forum
8:30-10:30 a.m., McCormick Place West, Room W183
NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun will give his forecast for the housing market and economy. Ken Rosen from Rosen Consulting Group will discuss the findings of three recently released papers on the causes for the recent decline in the U.S. homeownership rate.

MEDIA BRIEFING – NAR’s 2018 Presidential Agenda
11:30 a.m., McCormick Place West, Room W476
NAR 2018 President Elizabeth Mendenhall will discuss the association’s agenda for the coming year and offer insights into the top challenges and opportunities facing Realtors® and the industry.

Regulatory Issues Forum
11:45 a.m. – 1:15 p.m. McCormick Place West, Room W181 A
Speakers will discuss housing regulatory matters and share insights on RESPA and money laundering among other industry issues.

MEDIA BRIEFING – Real Estate and Economic Forecast
12 p.m., McCormick Place West, Room W476
NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun will present his 2018 real estate markets forecast and answer questions.

Commercial Economic Issues and Trends Forum
1-3 p.m., McCormick Place, West Building, Room W185 A
NAR’s Chief Economist Lawrence Yun will present his economic and commercial market outlook for 2018. He will be joined by Ryan Severino, chief economist at JLL.

MEDIA BRIEFING – Unpublished Findings from NAR’s Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers
3:15 p.m., McCormick Place West, Room W476
NAR’s director of survey research Jessica Lautz will present noteworthy trends from NAR’s 2017 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers. Unpublished, geographic breakouts of buyers in several sub-regions will be available.

JOIN US! MEDIA RECEPTION –
5-6 p.m. Sopraffina, 10 North Dearborn St., Chicago, Ill., 60602.
NAR’s Media Communications staff will host a reception for members of the media. Shuttle departs McCormick Place, Gate 41 at 4:45 p.m

SATURDAY, NOV. 4
Impact of Rising House Prices on Home Buyers and Sellers
9-10:30 a.m., McCormick Place West, Room W178 A
Hear what data from NAR’s 2017 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers and the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s house price indices at the metro, country, and zip code level mean for homeownership, mortgage lending and sales in the year ahead.

Dispelling Condo Confusion for Agents and Appraisers: Real Property Valuation Forum
1:30-3:00 p.m., McCormick Place West, Room W180
A panel of experts bring agent and appraiser perspectives to a discussion of issues unique to condo transactions.

General Session
4-6 p.m., McCormick Place West, Skyline Ballroom W375
Hear from NAR leadership, cheer on the REALTORS® of the Year and be inspired by Good Neighbor Award winners and keynote address from Olympian Michael Phelps.

SUNDAY, NOV. 5
Digging out: Growing your business while paying off debt
11:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m., McCormick Place West, Room W178 A
A panel discusses the challenges of paying off student and other loan debt while building a real estate career.

Housing Needs More Supply: Two Perspectives
1:30-2:30 p.m., McCormick Place West, Room W280
National Association of Home Builders Chief Economist Robert Dietz and NAR economist Jessica Lautz discuss the lack of housing supply from both the housing starts and resale perspectives and its impact on the market.

Healthcare 101: Insights from Washington and Realtor® Matters
1:30–2:30 p.m., McCormick Place West, Room W176
Learn about the latest efforts taking place in Washington to reform health care and the Affordable Care Act. Policy experts will analyze the latest legislative and regulatory proposals and provide insight into independent contractor concerns and potential insurance market impacts.

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All About Clean: Master Bathroom Trends

Thumb through any home decor magazine, and you’ll see a master bathroom with a soaker or shower as the showpiece. Ta-da! Homeowners, it turns out, are splurging to scrub up, according to the recently released U.S. Houzz Bathroom Trends Study. Ninety-one percent of homeowners in the study added a spacious shower to their master bathroom […]

The post All About Clean: Master Bathroom Trends appeared first on RISMedia’s Housecall.

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8 Mistakes First-Time Home Sellers Make & How to Avoid Them

Plenty of home sellers consider their places to be coveted properties that others would be lucky to own. But, that hubris can often lead to trouble when it comes to actually landing an offer and closing a sale.

First-time sellers in particular exhibit some self-sabotaging behaviors that can trip them up on the way getting the deal done. The following are the most common mistakes they make and how to avoid them.

1. Thinking they can go it alone

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Selling a home is not for the faint of heart, nor is it an easy DIY project. First-time home sellers quickly realize marketing and showing their property is a full-time job. Unless they’re experts in real estate contracts, appraisals, inspections, and other documentation, they can end up make costly errors. Fortunately, this is an easy one to fix: Hire a licensed agent.

2. Wanting to price it too high

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Homeowners may think they’re living in the perfect home, but pricing it too high will render it a white elephant. It’s great to be optimistic that you’ll make a nice profit, but it’s important to be realistic and price a home accurately. Remember, time is money. Seeking top dollar can cost you if your home remains on the market far longer than you’d planned.

3. Being unwilling to negotiate

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Just because an offer comes in lower than a seller might have hoped, that’s no reason to take it personally and refuse to negotiate. Think of an offer as a starting point that leads to a compromise that works for both parties.

4. Not doing a thorough cleaning

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From the moment sellers decide to put their places on the market, they should begin cleaning and decluttering to make the home look as attractive and well-kept as possible. Staging is important, but experts agree, nothing makes a home shine quite like a thorough cleaning.

5. Making it difficult for agents to show it

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Sure, last-minute showings can be inconvenient, but if sellers really want to make a deal, they have to be willing to let an agent and prospective buyers inside. Thinking a two-hour open house once a week is going to be enough is some serious wishful thinking.

6. Refusing to take the agent’s advice

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Homeowners often think they know their properties better than anyone, so why should they take any advice — even from a professional? Because you’ll benefit from the wisdom and experience of a professional. If your agent suggests that you stash your garden gnome collection in the shed or fix that rickety staircase, just do it.

7. Being unwilling to make changes

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Things like kitchen and bathroom updates can make a home look more attractive and move more quickly as it means less work a buyer will need to tackle after moving in. Still, some sellers dig in their heels and decide to adopt a “take it or leave it” attitude. Sadly, many buyers will choose to leave it.

8. Not considering the next move

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Homes can sell more quickly — or more slowly — than anyone, including even a Realtor®, can anticipate. So it’s important to have a back-up plan either way.

Agents: Share articles like these with YOUR branding on them. Click here to learn about the Lighter Side’s “Inner Circle”.

The post 8 Mistakes First-Time Home Sellers Make & How to Avoid Them appeared first on Lighter Side of Real Estate.

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7 Pricing Myths You Need to Get Past If You Want to Sell Your Home

When homeowners are preparing to put their properties on the market, one aspect is usually foremost in their minds: money. Setting the asking price accurately can mean the difference between getting an offer quickly and having a house languish for months, drawing little interest.

With that in mind, it’s important that potential sellers block out a lot of the noise that often surrounds the intricate art and science of pricing. There are plenty of myths that may cause sellers to lose sleep at night as they attempt to separate fact from fiction.

The following are statements that can stand in the way of a successful sale.

1. ‘If we keep waiting, a better offer will come along!’

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When sellers receive an offer from the first showing, they may be skeptical or hesitant to accept it, wondering if other prospective buyers would be inclined to pay more. Thoughts of potential bidding wars could cause sellers to want to wait and see who else falls for their place. But, remember the old adage, “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush?” There’s no guarantee other would-be buyers are waiting around the corner. If the offer is a fair one, entertain it and count your blessings.

2. ‘Getting an offer right away, means the agent priced it too low!’

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When sellers receive an offer early in the process, as excited as they might be, many can’t help but wonder, “Should we have asked for more money? Did our agent price it too cheaply?” While it’s natural to be skeptical (and even a little greedy), receiving an offer on the early end of the spectrum most likely means your home was priced accurately and attractively. If you trust your agent, you know he or she didn’t pick a number out of the sky, but rather based it on extensive market research. So, be glad your sale is moving in the right direction.

3. ‘We should price it so there’s room to negotiate!’

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Let’s be honest: Most sellers would love to get top dollar for their homes. But overpricing it with the intention of being willing to accept a lower offer may just leave you empty handed in the long run. Plus, if you have to drop your ask multiple times, buyers may begin to wonder what’s wrong with the place — other than the price, that is.

4. ‘That’s not what my Zestimate says it’s worth!’

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Have you ever noticed how homeowners are eager to believe Zestimates or other automated valuation models when that price exceeds their expectations? Yet, when the opposite happens, they assume it’s outdated or erroneous information? The point we’re making is, these numbers can be inaccurate, so again, trust your agent over the Internet. Enough said.

5. ‘We can add all renovation costs to the asking price!’

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Sellers may adore the improvements and renovations they’ve made and want to add in those costs to the asking price. But remember, not every change is going to land a huge return on investment. If you’re curious about what you can expect on those fixes, check out Remodeling Magazine‘s annual ‘Cost Versus Value’ report to get an idea of which upgrades yield the biggest bang for your buck. Also, as you’re making changes, bear in mind that the infinity pool you view as an asset may just seem like a huge liability to a buyer.

6. ‘My Realtor® overpriced my house to make a larger commission.’

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Agents are paid a percentage of the selling price of the home. However, even if they were to raise the ask by $25,000, in most cases that would yield an additional $1,500 in commission, which would then be divvied up between the broker the agent is working for and the buyer’s agent, leaving your agent with less than $750 more in his or her pocket. It’s hard to imagine an agent would blow a potential quick sale — and take on weeks or months of additional showings and marketing expenses — for a few hundred dollars.

7. ‘Reducing the price is a sign of weakness!’

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While no homeowner is eager to drop the listing price, if time is passing and there’s been little interest, it could be time to consider lowering the ask. Remember, time is money. While you’re waiting for someone to meet your price, you’re still paying the mortgage, taxes, utilities, and insurance etc. Plus, sometimes, lowering the price can put your home in front of a group of new buyers, which could generate a lot more interest and, ultimately, get the price back up closer to where it was in the first place.

Agents: Share articles like these with YOUR branding on them. Click here to learn about the Lighter Side’s “Inner Circle”.

The post 7 Pricing Myths You Need to Get Past If You Want to Sell Your Home appeared first on Lighter Side of Real Estate.

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