What a Home Buyer Wants

When someone is selling a home, it is easy to get sentimental about it and to take rejection rather personally when someone chooses not to buy.  However, to the potential home buyer, the house is merely a commodity.  They have not built memories in it yet.  They are not personally attached to it the way the seller is.  And they are not looking at the sellers’ decorating taste or the work put into building that deck or game room in the same way the seller is.  This can be difficult to remember, but to a buyer, only three main factors predict whether or not they decide to buy: price, condition, and location. Price.  Research needs to be done to find out whether the home is in a buyers’ or sellers’ market.  It is important for a seller to remember that the potential buyers have access to the current market information just as the sellers do.  While it may be tempting to ask for a higher price because of how much a seller personally values a home and what it means to him or her on an emotional level, this could result in an inability to sell.  Stay within the confines of the current market for that area, and try to keep emotion out of it. Condition.  Many condition issues are easy to fix and don’t cost much, if anything, to accomplish.  Make sure the yard is mowed and any landscaping looks tidy, the paint is clean and fresh-looking, the floors are clean and not outdated, the walls are not outdated in terms of color or wallpaper patterns, and that...

Real Estate Statistics that May Surprise

The Chief Executive Officer Spencer Rascoff collected real estate statistics from his database at Zillow.com of 110 million homes to find trends in real-estate pricing.  Some of the findings were rather surprising. Homes with addresses on a “Way” sold for more than those on a “Street”, and named streets had about a two percent higher resale value than numbered streets, unless you are in NYC (where it made no difference), or the street is a Main Street, which sell for an average of four percent less. Further, streets with the words “Lake” or “Sunset” in them have about a 16% higher resale value than those that didn’t.  So, it appears that the name of the street actually makes a difference in what people are willing to pay. Numbers in addresses also make a difference. The number 7, for some reason, has an impact.  Houses with just a lone “7” sell for 1.8% higher than the estimated value, but “777” homes sell for 2.1% below.  And addresses that have other numbers but include “777” (like 17778) sell for 1.8% less.  So apparently three 7’s in a row is a turn-off. When you sell makes a difference in how long it will take to sell and how much you can get for it. In New York, at least, the worst time to sell is the second week of December and the best time to sell is March. Psychological pricing does in fact work. Having a nine in the thousand slot instead of a zero (449,000 vs. 450,000) actually does cause homes to sell four days to a week faster. The “Starbucks...

Color Can Make the Difference

Something as simple as color has a major effect on the feel of a room.  Often, when we feel that a place is either inviting or uncomfortable has something to do with the color scheme that is used there.  Colors have both a physiological and a psychological effect on us.  So, when you are picking out colors for your home, it is important to carefully consider not just how they look, but also how they make you feel. You can begin by picking out favorite colors from a piece of art, a rug, or a piece of furniture to be considered for either a main color or an accent color. Pick a small area, like a bathroom or entryway, to begin with. This way, if you decide you don’t like that color, you won’t have to redo a large space to change it. Consider the type of mood that you would like for that room to have. Pay attention to what kind of lighting that particular room has and adjust your colors accordingly. Natural lighting reflects a truer color, incandescent light brings out warmer and yellower tones, and fluorescent light casts a sharp blue tone.  Most paint stores have light boxes that you can use to test how a color will look in different types of light. Consider how the colors in adjacent rooms will mesh together. There needs to be some flow from one room to the next.  A color wheel is a useful tool for figuring out which colors work well together. If you are going for a more monochromatic look, try using either slightly different shades of...

Tropical Storm Bill

Tropical Storm Bill made landfall on Matagorda Island just before noon on Tuesday.  It brought even more rain to the greater Houston area, which is still saturated and trying to recover from the flooding that occurred at the end of May as a result of record rainfall.  At 1:00am Wednesday morning, Bill was downgraded to a tropical depression as it continues to make its way north through Texas and in to Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri, and Illinois. Some say it is possible that Bill or its remnants may produce heavy rainfall in as many as seven states, from Texas to Indiana.  The tail of the storm continues to bring rain to the Houston area, even though the center of the storm has now reached the northern part of the state.  The rain could last through Saturday, June 20. This storm renews the risk of flash flooding for Houston and increases the chance of damages to property around our already overflowing rivers and waterways.  Several roads are flooded as well, so take caution and check for closures before traveling around Houston for the next few days. Bill is now the second storm to make landfall in the 2015 Atlantic hurricane season.  This is the first time since 1871 that there have been two tropical storm-strength landfalls this early in the season.  However, overall, this year’s hurricane season is expected to be less active than usual, so perhaps soon Houston can catch a break from the rain and flooding. If you have any questions or would like to ask about our current listings, contact the Doug Erdy Group...

Preliminary Report of Flood Damage

On June 9, the Harris County Office of Emergency Management released its preliminary report for the flood damage that occurred as a result of several storm systems that passed through the Houston area in late May. The damage was fairly widespread, with eleven Harris county municipalities suffering damages, though the city of Houston itself was the hardest hit. According to the report, a total of at least 2,516 residences and 73 businesses were affected by the flooding, and at least 2 Houston homes were completely destroyed. 2,195 of those residences and 53 of those businesses were in Houston proper while the rest were in the surrounding cities of Bellaire, Pasadena, West University Place, Bunker Hill Village, Galena Park, Hillshire Village, Hedwig Village, Piney Point Village, Spring Valley Village, and Hunters Creek Village. (See the full report here.) As a result, Houston-area insurance companies are scrambling to keep up with the flood damage claims. Economists at BBVA Compass estimate the economic impact of the damages could be anywhere from $200-$550 million, which is less than the impact of Hurricane Ike in 2008 (about $154 billion in today’s dollars) and Tropical Storm Allison in 2001 (about $6.7 billion in today’s dollars), but it is still a significant amount. And the economists noted also that this does not take into account the as-yet-unknown cost to repair the Southwest Wastewater Plant. A report is not yet available for Montgomery County because they are still gathering data, but damage has been reported there as well, especially in areas near the San Jacinto River and the Lewis Creek Dam. On June 8, Liberty County extended its Commissioner’s...