You may have heard, “The spring market begins after the Super Bowl.” That of course was last Sunday, and from all early indications, the spring market of 2018 has begun. As the busiest time of year for the housing market, spring – actually, February through May – brings opportunity for buyers and sellers alike. If you’re thinking about selling your home, here are some keys to success.
Begin with a Comparative Market Analysis
Get an opinion of your home’s value from an active real estate pro. After all, “What is my house worth?” is probably the biggest question on your mind – and that’s why a Comparative Market Analysis (“CMA”) is so important. A real estate broker will prepare a CMA to give you a snapshot of your home’s current value based on comparable properties in your area. This will help you determine the appropriate asking price for your home when it comes time to list.
The peak season for real estate has begun, and your home should be in great showing condition at all times. While this may seem daunting, your agent can recommend services to help you get ready. Declutter and prep your home for showings and open houses by following these tips.
Yes, Do Those Necessary Home Improvements
Inspections aren’t just for homebuyers. If sellers order an inspection prior to putting their home on the market, they can identify and address issues that could arise during the escrow period. Sellers should also keep in mind that many buyers today are looking for a home that is turnkey and move-in ready. If you thought you might want to “do something” to your home, chances are your buyer will have the same idea. From painting to re-finishing floors, home improvement projects can boost a home’s sale-ability and also give it a more current look.
Have a Marketing Strategy
From the time-tested yard sign to cutting-edge content marketing, there are numerous tactics for marketing a home these days. Having a comprehensive marketing plan positions your home to get the broadest exposure and to achieve the highest possible price in the shortest amount of time. It also makes the selling process a lot more seamless. Without a doubt, the most successful sellers (and their brokers) create and follow a strategy that is tailored to their specific listing.
Spring brings more competition in real estate, which means sellers need to be flexible on matters beyond just negotiating price. You might be asked to show your home at the last minute, to close quickly, or to satisfy an unusual request. Be open minded at all times and keep the end goal in mind. Don’t reject an offer just because it potentially requires more work than anticipated. If a buyer makes an offer, they are interested. Keep them engaged and work towards an agreement. After all, that’s how you can make your next move, too.
This post originally appeared on the @properties blog
Written by Maris Callahan, @properties
Selling your home during the holiday season can add stress to an already busy time of the year. While selling your home over the holidays has its advantages, it also means you may need to modify how you deck the halls, prepare your home and entertain guests.
If you’re selling your home over the holidays, we have a few tips to help you as you host those traditional gatherings and simultaneously find that perfect buyer.
Keep your holiday decorations simple
If your house is on the market, you have already (hopefully) pared down each room, removing clutter, both visual and physical. If you plan on having a Christmas tree, there are a few things that you can do to make life easy on yourself.
David Jablonowski suggests decorating and entertaining as you normally would — tradition is tradition, after all, but says to keep it simple wherever possible — including skipping the authentic tree in favor of an artificial one.
“Use an artificial tree so that you aren’t hurriedly vacuuming errant pine needles in the moments prior to a showing. If you have a large tree, try to keep it to a visual minimum, decorating with simple white lights and keeping ornament color to one or two.
You want to ensure that the home does not feel crowded, and that potential buyers can walk around easily, so consider taking a piece of furniture out of the room to compensate for the addition of a tree.
Keep other decor to a minimum; a simple wreath on the door and a glass bowl of silver ornaments can still deliver a festive look without overpowering the rest of the home.
Resist the desire to fill the mantle of your fireplace with a lighted ceramic holiday village, avoid electric trains around the tree (easy to trip on), and if the presents under the tree start to spill out into the rest of the room, you might want to store some of them until Christmas Day.
Keep in mind that you’ll be packing up all of these things soon enough if you are moving, so get ahead of the game by opting to forego the holiday tablecloth, Santa bedsheets, and that vintage sled.
Instead, think of how excited you will be to see these in your new home next season.”
Show off your perfect home for entertaining
If you have a home that is well equipped for entertaining, Stephanie Parent adds that hosting can prove to be an asset to the sale of your home.
“If you are hosting over the holidays my suggestion is to make sure your home is decorated like you staged it. With family and friends coming over for holiday celebrations you may be entertaining your home’s next owner.
Seeing your home sparkle at this time of the year may spark the interest of a guest or better yet have them tell people about what a great home you have for entertaining.
Word of mouth advertising for your home may be just the thing to get your home sold.”
Entertain your buyers, too!
Tis the season to eat drink, and be merry. Katie Dunlop suggests flexing your host or hostess muscle when your broker has showings.
“A homeowner can absolutely decorate for holiday guests — just don’t go over board, think simple and classy and it will make prospective buyers feel at home.
Having some of those extra yummy holiday treats or drinks on the kitchen counter won’t hurt either. As they snack it gives the listing agent an opportunity to ask questions, get to know them and obtain feedback that can help aid your sale.”
Ask for help when you need it
Sometimes, hosting out-of-town guests for holidays is simply unavoidable. If you must host guests, Pam Lynch suggests enlisting their help to get your home up to par for showings.
“If you are having out-of-town guests, be sure to let them know that your house is on the market and you may need to accommodate strangers in the house with very short notice.
Most guests will be happy to help you by keeping their suitcases packed and slipped under the bed if a showing occurs.
You can even enlist extended family to help you make beds, keep luggage organized, keep toiletries tidy, and make sure all living spaces are spotless for showings. Prepare ahead by ensuring that each guest room has plenty of room in the closet and or even an empty dresser drawer to stash belongings – especially personal ones like medications, jewelry, cash or other valuables.”
Plan accordingly with your guests
Whether you’re hosting guests overnight or simply for a special meal or gathering, Jennifer Riccolo DeBower emphasizes how important it is to plan ahead — both for showings and for your events.
“If you are having guests stay with you pick a two hour window each day where you know it will be easiest to have the home show ready and everyone out of the house to accommodate buyers.
Conversely, if you know your guests will all be over for a special meal give your agent the instruction to avoid the particular day or certain hours of that day.”
Selecting an interior designer may seem like a stressful process, but it doesn’t have to be. All that it requires is some initial research and asking a lot of great questions.
After you’ve perused Refined Haystack, reviewed designers’ websites, and taken a look at their social media channels, you should have a solid list of designers that you want to meet with to discuss the vision for your home.
Once the information gathering and appointment setting is done, it’s time to interview designers to find the very best fit for your project.
But how do you know what questions to ask, especially if you’ve never collaborated with an interior designer before? How can you find the perfect match?
To support homeowners in the search for an interior designer, we’ve created a list of questions to ask that will help better determine which designer is the right fit so you can be confident when signing a contract.
Style + Vision: Finding the right designer to create your dream home
From pre-project questionnaires to sharing inspiration images, every designer has a different way of gathering information from their clients.
No matter the method, it’s important that you’re as specific and straightforward as possible during these conversations. If you struggle communicating your vision, bring examples to share as an aid.
Here are some questions to ask that will help you better determine whether a designer will be able to interpret your style and vision:
- How will you gather information about my personal style?
- In what ways will we share ideas throughout the process?
- How will you come to understand my functional needs?
- How much involvement will I have in the design process and decision making?
- What role does your own personal style play in creating a design for a client?
Collaboration: Finding a designer with whom you can easily communicate
Communication styles, project planning, and setting expectations are vitally important aspects of a successful design project. A home might be gorgeous, but if there are miscommunications and difficulties along the way, it makes for a process that isn’t quite the experience you were seeking.
To learn how a designer plans to collaborate with you throughout the duration of the project, ask the following:
- What methods of communication do you prefer to use with your clients?
- How often will we connect, and will we meet in person or speak via phone or email?
- Will I be working directly with you, or with other team members?
- How will you handle instances in which I don’t like something that has been selected?
- Can you please take me through the typical life cycle of a project? What are the phases or steps, and what will be required of me during each of those?
Timeline + Investment: Finding a designer that works with your schedule and budget
You might feel hesitant to discuss pricing and scheduling from the first meeting, but it should truly be one of the first things you cover in your meetings with designers. It shows that you’re a serious potential client, keeps communication open, and helps set expectations from the beginning of the relationship.
Get into the details of timing and budget with these questions:
- How quickly would you plan to begin work on my project?
- What would the timeline look like for completion of my project?
- How do you manage and plan for delays that might occur?
- What is your billing structure, and what can I expect to see itemized on my bills?
- Do you require an upfront retainer to begin work on a project?
All of this will help pave the way in your decision making when it comes to hiring your interior designer. You’ll be happier in the end for having these conversations upfront; design is an experience — one that’s meant to be enjoyed fully!
Guest post by Refined Haystack — your guide to the best in local design.
If apple picking is a fall tradition for you, here are some options for a day trip or to include in your itinerary for your weekend about to Lake Geneva or Harbor Country. Predictions are that early October will make for good Fall Foliage road trips. [Read more…]
Written by Jessica Ashley
Just like fresh notebooks with untouched pages, brand new sneakers and a crisp breeze that blows across an otherwise smoldering hot day at Foster beach, pumpkin spice drinks are one of the first signs that autumn is on its way.
Whether you’re a fan of the spicy-squashy $6 coffee drinks or lotions or scones, or you’re not so keen on sipping it or slathering it on your body, you can still celebrate this autumnal trend right in your own home.
We’ve harvested a few favorite ways to bring pops of pumpkin spice into your living space so you can enjoy just enough of it all season (or year) long.
Something to Stare At Longingly While Leaves Fall Outside
If you can’t have a cup of joe permanently attached to your hand, you may as well have art that’s an homage to your love of pumpkin spice coffee. Replace your summer landscapes with art that speaks right to your warmed-up and whipped-cream-topped heart. And while your seasonal latte might not be on the menu year-round, you can always opt to keep your art up until you’re able to order it again.
This pop art print, Woman Holding a Huge Cup of Coffee, is available exclusively on Art.com, and is also available framed or laminated. $14.99 and up.
Something Cheeky for Your Kitchen
Remind your loved ones that you really do adore them more than your morning fix while adding a pop of pumpkin-y orange to the place where you all gather at the beginning and end of each day. Go for even more color pow by pairing these tea towels with complimentary dish towels, scrub cloths and luxe table linens.
These sweet and spicy tea towels are available at Anthropologie (both online and in-store). $16.
Someplace to Rule the Roost
Pick your favorite flavor in a solid, craftsman customizable chair that’s just the place you need to be to oversee the year’s end. Choose a scrumptious blood orange or soothing lighter shade to spice up your living space, office or wherever your command central is located. Inspired by Danish design, pieces like this are both art and furniture and add tang to go-to neutral tone decor.
The Soto chair by Joybird pictured here in Key Largo Coral and Cordova Amber, is a best seller at District furniture boutique on the North Side of the city. Play with all your customizing options online at Joybird or visit District to ease into their furniture in person. $799 and up.
Something to Show Style on Your Shelves and Tables
If you’re not into design clichés or all-too-obvious decor that screams PUMPKIN, PEOPLE!, choose stealthy style to go alongside your first-edition book collection or after-dinner coffee service. If you need a bit more function from your nearly-hidden autumnal touches, opt for a bowl where you can eventually stash Halloween treats, your keys or gift cards to the local coffee shop.
Balloon glass vases available individually and in sets in limited quantities on Wayfair. $60 and up.
Something to Add Color to Your Blah Couch
That lovely worn leather or soft beige microfiber couch is the perfect space to create a canvas of color. Spend a few dollars on slipcovers for the throw pillows you have, or splurge on some with saturated colors, rich textiles and the same ahhh comfort in the first sip of coffee each day. Throw in a fuzzy, cream-colored pillow if you’re the kind who confidently says ‘yes’ to adding an extra dollop to your morning cup.
Find your perfect pop of pillow color in big-box retailers or exclusive online gift boutiques. Here, the orange leaf applique pillow is available at Target, the leather clutch pillow is at Pfeifer Studio, and the stand-out shag puff and embroidered fleur-de-lys pillows are at Anthropologie. $29 to $179.
Someplace to Pull On Your Leather Boots
Aside from the practicality of needing a place to lace up your cool-weather gear or stretch out while you binge-watch Ozark, an ottoman can be used in many other ways throughout the year – night stand, dry-cleaning pile holder, place to rest your belongings in the front hall. With all this purpose, doesn’t this lovely workhorse deserve to come in a sumptuous autumnal color?
If you’re ready for a statement, stretch out on this mid-century tufted ottoman bench on Houzz. The nail-head detail upholstered ottoman by Safavieh is so affordable, you may want to buy a pair, here on Amazon. Find this cozy knitted tawny-colored pouf at your local CB2. $79 – $129.
Something that Says Your Holiday Game is Strong
A wreath welcomes guests – and you, into a sanctuary of delight after a long day of spreadsheets and not nearly enough caffeine. Choose a door or centerpiece wreath crafted from fresh flowers, dried fruits and plants. Or DIY your own (and spray lovingly with the essential oils below) or invest in a lush artificial wreath you can hang year after year.
Something to Serve Up Your Own Brew
For decor or for sharing whatever you’ve just simmered, stirred, baked or brought home from the deli, add a vibrant serving tray, set of monogrammed glasses, dishware or a sweet little singing kettle to your entertainment wares. From your favorite mulled recipe to pumpkin spice martinis, or holiday hand-pies and generous slices of smoked ham – it will all taste better when served on something gorgeously orange.
The sleek and useful Zuma orange lacquer tray and ombre demi kettle by Le Creuset are both at Crate & Barrel. Monogrammed acrylic wine glasses for raucous parties, outdoor excursions or just the convenience of the dishwasher are available on Mark & Graham. Find the watercolor harvest pumpkin plate set at Pottery Barn. $29.95 – $79.
Something That’s Cheap, Scrumptious and Calorie-Free
Maybe you don’t have the budget or patience or time to decorate your home with fall touches. No judgment. You can still fill your home with as much pumpkin-inspired pampering as you like with essential oils. Add a few drops to your bubble bath, mix into coconut oil and dab on your wrists, or diffuse it in your car or wherever things smell not-so-delicious. Ahhh, divine.
This aromatherapy set is available on Etsy. $6.50 and up.