With little fanfare, the mortgage rates have crept up above 4%, and it's still possible that they will get a bump from the FED in December. It's obvious what this does to Buyers (over a 6% increase in monthly interest payment for every half percent increase in mortgage rate), but what about Sellers? Sellers have been enjoying these low interest rates for several years as well, as the more Buyers there are who can qualify, the more support there is for higher prices. If that Buyer pool begins eroding, there will be pressure on the market valuations at all price points, lowering the prices Sellers can reasonably expect to receive for their properties. The impact will probably be felt most severely in those areas where home prices are traditionally the highest: areas perceived (rightly or wrongly) to have the best schools, ones with easiest commutes to centers of higher paying jobs, and those close to cultural centers, yet perceived to be safe from civil disorders. These areas generally have the highest premium for their location, but other areas can also expect to feel the effects of this shift as well, as fewer Buyers are able to compete at each of the price points, and some, perhaps, may just opt out of the market if they cannot find homes they want and can afford. It will be most important for those of us in the real estate business to provide our clients with the realities of the evolving market, so that they make the right decisions about value and pricing.
1. LONG - TERM PARKING:
Some people left their car in the long-term parking at San Jose while away, and someone broke into the car. Using the information on the car's registration in the glove compartment, they drove the car to the people's home in Pebble Beach and robbed it. So I guess if we are going to leave the car in long-term parking, we should NOT leave the registration/insurance cards in it, nor your remote garage door opener. This gives us something to think about with all our new electronic technology.
2. GPS: Someone had their car broken into while they were at a football game. Their car was parked on the green which was adjacent to the football stadium and specially allotted to football fans. Things stolen from the car included a garage door remote control, some money and a GPS which had been prominently mounted on the dashboard. When the victims got home, they found that their house had been ransacked and just about everything worth anything had been stolen. The thieves had used the GPS to guide them to the house. They then used the garage remote control to open the garage door and gain entry to the house. The thieves knew the owners were at the football game, they knew what time the game was scheduled to finish and so they knew how much time they had to clean out the house. It would appear that they had brought a truck to empty the house of its contents. Something to consider if you have a GPS - don't put your home address in it... Put a nearby address (like a store or gas station) so you can still find your way home if you need to, but no one else would know where you live if your GPS were stolen ..
3.. CELL PHONES: This lady has now changed her habit of how she lists her names on her cell phone after her handbag was stolen. Her handbag, which contained her cell phone, credit card, wallet, etc., was stolen. Twenty minutes later when she called her hubby, from a pay phone telling him what had happened, hubby says, "I received your text asking about our Pin number and I've replied a little while ago." When they rushed down to the bank, the bank staff told them all the money was already withdrawn. The thief had actually used the stolen cell phone to text "hubby" in the contact list and got hold of the pin number. Within 20 minutes he had withdrawn all the money from their bank account.
a.. Do not disclose the relationship between you and the people in your contact list. Avoid using names like Home, Honey, Hubby, Sweetheart, Dad, Mom, etc.... b. And very importantly, when sensitive info is being asked through texts, CONFIRM by calling back. c. Also, when you're being texted by friends or family to meet them somewhere, be sure to call back to confirm that the message came from them. If you don't reach them, be very careful about going places to meet "family and friends" who text you.
4. PURSE IN THE GROCERY CART SCAM: A lady went grocery-shopping at a local mall and left her purse sitting in the children's seat of the cart while she reached something off a shelf... wait till you read the WHOLE story! Her wallet was stolen, and she reported it to the store personnel. After returning home, she received a phone call from the Mall Security to say that they had her wallet and that although there was no money in it, it did still hold her personal papers. She immediately went to pick up her wallet, only to be told by Mall Security that they had not called her. By the time she returned home again, her house had been broken into and burglarized. The thieves knew that by calling and saying they were Mall Security, they could lure her out of her house long enough for them to burglarize it.
Selling your Arlington home quickly and for the highest price possible demands that the showings be proactively appealing: that is, more than just a passive display of the residential “merchandise.” To make the most of the advantageous situation that any showing or open house should be, both you and your Realtor® must adopt the approach of any successful salesperson—namely, being certain every potential customer is shown the best aspects of the product. When it comes to Arlington home showings, that means staging.
Most of the advice you’ll read about staging follows the same general formula: organizing rooms; maintaining exterior landscaping; updating aged features; eliminating clutter. What’s sometimes missing from those guides is a practical problem: a prescription for showings when the home in question is currently housing a family busy with schoolwork, after-school extracurriculars and full time professional obligations—in other words, modern life!
No matter how unlikely it might seem, for families whose schedules are already overloaded (and then some), proactive showings are indeed possible! Here are some of the proven ways busy families keep their Arlington homes in peak shape:
Neutralize Décor: To maintain a home livable for a busy family at the same time it’s ready to display requires muting some of the practical as well as decorative elements. It’s a delicate balance that means first removing idiosyncratic design elements, then also keeping as many personal items as possible out of sight but readily accessible when needed. It’s a room-by-room effort, but when properly balanced, most of the family’s comfort zone can be preserved at the same time the home is ready for showcasing at a moment’s notice.Spring Cleaning All Year-Round: As parents know, a busy home is genuinely tough to keep clean—yet, sparkling cleanliness gives visitors the sense of newness that prevents common objections from forming in prospects’ minds (fears that updates are called for; feelings that unseen mechanical issues could be lurking, etc.). The solution is one comprehensive deep-cleaning session followed by a regular once-over every week without fail. It’s a regimen that makes pre-showing cleanups quick, easy, and effective. For many busy families, it may be realistic to consider bringing in a housekeeping service once a week while showings are in prospect. Shrink Living Spaces: In larger homes, one way to minimize the amount of effort showings require is to somewhat confine everyday living activities to designated areas. If everyone is used to occupying the living room, den, and game room, see if you can make one or more of the areas off-limits (especially during weekdays). This will allow you to preserve staging efforts and reduce a lot of last-minute scrambling.
It seems just yesterday that the beach towels were coming out of the closet—alas! With back-to-school specials ending and Labor Day Weekend upon us, it’s time to admit that summer is just about done for. Whether you’ve just purchased a new property, are sprucing up your Arlington home with thoughts of putting it on the market this fall, or are just getting ready for the change of seasons, now is time to take a critical look at your abode as you prepare for cooler temperatures.
Fireplace If you are lucky enough to have a fireplace, it’s unlikely to have gotten much use for quite a while. Now is the time to make sure your fireplace and chimney are clean and free of debris or other buildup (think ‘abandoned bird nest’). If it’s been a few years, calling in a pro to do a clean sweep is probably the best idea.
Carpet or Paint Whether or not you are planning to sell your Arlington home, if it’s likely you will be tackling any interior painting, carpet replacement, or major deep-cleaning, handling these projects while the weather is still mild will speed drying and maximize ventilation—making those jobs considerably more pleasant!
Tree Trimming Now is a good time to cut back branches that have overgrown your Arlington home’s roof—and one of the last chances to remove defective limbs while they still are easy to spot. Reducing the volume of leaves that will be clogging your roof’s gutters is a side benefit; another is eliminating an inviting pathway for the assortment of rodents who might seek refuge in your home as the temperature drops.
Yard Cleanup Also on the topic of pests: firewood, ladders, and toys stacked against the house can also attract spiders, mice, and other undesirables. It’s a good time to do an end-of-summer inspection stroll around your Arlington home to double-check that the walls are clear of anything that may have been temporarily leaned against them.
Once all is done, you deserve to sit back, relax, and prepare to enjoy some football (that’s what fall is for, isn’t it?). Sweater weather may not be here for a while, but you don’t have to wait until then to call us to discuss any of your Arlington home real estate plans!
You’ve done it: found what’s soon to become your family’s new Arlington home! It’s in a great neighborhood…reasonable commute…decent kitchen (size is right; definitely upgradeable). All this and it fits the budget! Congrats! Looks like your housing hunt is over...
YET…before you sign on the dotted line, there should be one last check-off. Factor in all the costs that improving the house to your liking will entail. The cost of home improvements in Arlington can be light—but since that’s not always the case, there are areas where the possible impact on your bottom line can be meaningful. For instance:
Anyone who has had the experience of paying for new fencing—even for just a section in need of replacement—has learned to respect the fencing cost factor. Depending on the type and size (and whether you have a neighbor who’s willing to split the cost!), it will be fairly simple to go online to find a generic online calculator that will estimate an all-in price.
Although repairing split or broken concrete can sometimes be as easy pouring new concrete over the old, often the old has to be jackhammered and hauled away before new concrete can be poured. There are different types of concrete to choose, including coloring and texturing. This is one Arlington home improvement that can easily run to several thousand dollars, depending on the size of the renovation.
This one’s a sleeper: the home improvement involving a clogged or blocked drain (or any of a variety of other drainage issues). If drainage issues come up in the inspection report, the long-term health of the property calls for prompt remediation. Usually this is a minor expense, but in extreme instances, you could be looking at clogs that must be excavated to be removed, topography changes, installing new drains, re-sloping concrete, or other fixes.
If sick or otherwise damaged trees are on the property, you could be a storm or two away from a dangerous issue. If removing the tree or trees has been advised, it will be best to plan on acting promptly.
Window replacement, when called for, requires an estimate by a Arlington home improvement contractor experienced in the specialty. Depending on how many windows and the type of trim involved, it’s a Arlington home improvement project that usually runs in the hundreds of dollars per window. The good news: it also increases the value of the home.
If you’re considering a property with old wiring, ungrounded outlets, or other known electrical issues, a certified electrician’s estimate is your best bet to foresee the extent that re-wiring could be needed.
Home improvements in Arlington can be immediately gratifying (such as a stunning kitchen remodel!)—or they can be the kind where peace of mind is the principal reward. Either way, after you’ve found a house that looks like a great find, it’s worth the effort to project the cost of improvements you will want to undertake during the first year.
If you’re looking to buy this fall, we're here to help with a full portfolio of quality Arlington home improvement resources and referrals.
A newly-updated NAR survey confirms that 51% of agents with smartphones use iPhones. This fact is hardly startling, since these phones have been such a boon to the real estate business. Today’s agent can use apps to quickly scan and electronically sign documents, instantly get property details for clients, access key boxes—it’s almost hard to remember how we got along before!
But what about the 9% of homeowners who choose to go the FSBO (For Sale by Owner) route? As many a do-it-yourself home seller has learned, just planting a sign in the front yard does not constitute much of a marketing campaign. For those who will be selling a home in Arlington this fall, creating a virtual tour is an all-but-indispensable way to take advantage of all an iPhone has to offer. For anyone who would like to shoot a virtual tour as a market aid, here’s the lay of the land:
Virtual tours in Arlington listings are just one part of an effective Arlington real estate marketing effort. Of course, the easiest way to have a professional-looking production is to forget about FSBO altogether and just call us! After all, it’s our full-time job to create and assemble a comprehensive marketing plan that gets your home sold for top dollar, and we not only do virtual tours to showcase the best attributes of your property, but we also include "floor plan" tours to allow prospective customers to see room sizes and arrangements, and try out different furniture arrangements while they view professional pictures of the interior and exterior.
The answer to this question depends on your property, and the market. First, many properties that have not had a new actual assessment, perhaps they haven’t changed hands in many years, have an assessed value well below their actual “market value.” And, when the market is appreciating it is now, you would want to apply a reasonable premium over assessed value, based on a thorough analysis of the market. But what if your house was recently reassessed, for example, it is a new build, or was just sold, or, if the market starts declining? Then, you may have to look at pricing your property at a discount to the assessed value.
Your property tax assessment is a value put on your Arlington home by your County government. This value is used, based on the tax rate, to compute how much you owe the County in taxes. Arlington divides this tax amount into 2 payments, due in June for the first 6 months of the year, and then in October for the second 6 months.
What most people do not know is that the assessed value of your Arlington home is typically computed every other year, and, it is based on the last sales price of the property, plus any overall change in what the County has determined to be the market value of your neighborhood. So how does this relate to where to price the home you are selling?
In an appreciating market where the values are rising, home sales will most likely sell above their assessed value. If you remember, the assessed value could be as much as 2 years old, and, not have been adjusted for changes, remodeling, even additions in some cases. If the homes have been appreciating since the last assessment, a seller who sells at the assessed value would be leaving a lot of money on the table.
Conversely, if you bought recently at a price that was at or above the market (multiple offers, or you wanted a lot of special additions to a new build), or the market is depreciating and home values are dropping, generally, home sales will most likely sell below their assessed value. In this scenario, a home seller who prices their home based on an old assessment takes a major risk in not selling at all. Buyers will base their offers on current market conditions, not an old assessment that might be currently inflated.
When it comes time to price your Arlington home for sale, please take note that your tax assessment will typically run behind the current market place. Pricing a home is both an art and a science. Data are important, but so is an awareness of the intangibles of the neighborhood, schools, public transportation, etc. When interviewing agents, ask how they came up with a price for your home. Using the assessed value is one small part to determine home value. If the agent used it exclusively, find another agent.
If you're having a party and burned the cookies, or getting ready for an open house and your neighbor (or agent) tells you there's an objectionable odor about the place, the dog, cat or maybe cigarette smoke, here are some home remedies. Pour a bottle of vinegar into a large flat bowl, and leave it in the smelly room overnight. You can also do a quicker fix by soaking a towel in vinegar and waving it around the room, but careful here, wring out the towel before waving, you don't want to be throwing vinegar around on any painted surfaces or fabrics.You can also set around some natural masking products, like recent coffee grounds or citrus peels. Lemon or orange are always best for the kitchen.Finally, a spray bottle with 1/3rd vodka to water is good at removing odors and freshioning the room without adding a floral scent. Of course, there are many odor removing sprays you can use as well, but these will often alert your guests, or potential buyers, that there's something about the house.A good agent will also be able to tell you about commercial products that will help remove stubborn odors when you are marketing a property, and if you have any questions about this type of problem, or other concerns about marketing real estate, please give us a call. We'd love to help.