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the yard is mowed and any landscaping looks tidy, the paint is clean and fresh-looking, the floors are clean and not outdated, the walls are not outdated in terms of color or wallpaper patterns, and that...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...

Beat the Heat!

It is summertime in Houston once again, and now is the time to make sure that your air conditioner is running in top form.  If it is not, there could be some easy things you can do to improve its performance without having to call in the professionals.  This will save you money in two ways: you may not have to pay to have your A/C serviced, and it will run more efficiently, cutting down your power bill. Here are five easy things you can do to improve the performance of your air conditioner: Replace the filters. Check your filters for dust or clogging, and if they are dirty, replace them.  Dirty filters not only mean that the air circulating through your home is not as clean as it could be, it also means the air will not circulate as efficiently.  Dirty or clogged filters restrict the amount of air flowing through.  This means that it has to run longer to achieve the desired temperature, which burns more power.  How often you must do this will depend on several different factors, so check your filters periodically to see if they need to be changed out. Clean the condenser coils. The condenser (the box that is outside with the fan in it) can end up with dirt and debris in it, which can clog up the coils inside.  This too will decrease the efficiency of your unit and cause it to have to run more.  To do this, turn off the power to the unit, open up the panels to access the coils, and clean the outside of them with...

Landscaping Tips for the Beginner DIY-er

Tired of too much open space in your yard, but don’t want to pay the hefty price for a landscape designer? Do the landscaping yourself! There are all kinds of resources that can help you figure out the look you want and how to proceed, though you have to take into account both time and budget constraints when considering your options. These landscaping tips can help get you started sprucing up your yard yourself without breaking the bank or ending up with regrets.  Give it time. Your yard is going to be with you as long as you live in that house, so recognize that what you want it to look like now may not be what you want it to look like later. Take your time, plan it out, and move forward slowly; let it take shape in your head for a bit before jumping into the installment process. You may also want to add things here and there over time instead of doing it all at once.  Make a list of everything that you need and want in your space. Do you want a vegetable garden? Do you want a patio? Do you have kids who need a place to play? Start making rough sketches of what you want and where you would like to place those things in your yard. Pay attention to sun and wind patterns. Sometimes certain placements will need to be altered because of these things, so take them into account when designing your space. For example, you may not want to put your patio on the west side of the house, because...

Making Your Bathroom Stand Out

The two main rooms that potential buyers tend to look at when considering a home are the kitchen and the bathroom.  There are several things to pay attention to when considering a bathroom remodel. Don’t sacrifice form for function.  When beginning a bathroom remodel, make sure that you don’t get so caught up in how it looks that you end up losing the functionality and convenience of the space.  It is important not to forget what the room is actually used for. Consider the size of the bathroom and plan accordingly.  This applies to color schemes (smaller bathrooms need lighter colors than larger ones), lighting methods (recessed versus hanging fixtures, windows, skylights, etc.), tile size (smaller tiles work better in bigger spaces), and storage options (bigger or smaller shelves, how far vanities and counters come out from the walls, etc.). Don’t get too trendy.  Unless you want to remodel your bathroom frequently, don’t allow yourself to get too caught up in what is “hot” for bathrooms right now.  Buyers typically want a design that is not too complicated and that will not be out of fashion in six months.  When in doubt, go for a more basic design. Make sure that your home can handle what you want to do.  Before you consider changing to big soaking tubs, spas, or spacious walk-in showers, make sure that your home can actually support the load (as these often weigh much more than a regular tub or shower) and that there is enough space available to install without extensive retrofitting.  Otherwise, you may end up spending much more than you bargained for....