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Silicon Valley Agents Blog


Tuesday, April 5, 2016

5 Costly Home Selling Mistakes

1.  Not Vetting Your Real Estate Agent

The work isn’t over once you decide to list your home with an agent — it’s important for sellers to research agents and make sure their agent is equipped to handle the specific challenges of their neighborhood and the age of their home.  An agent should be familiar with the neighborhood and the comps.  Did they host open houses to attract other agents who might have interested buyers?  Did they offer tips on staging the home for sale?  And did they do a good job negotiating with the buyer’s agent to meet seller goals?

2.  Overpricing

You’ve poured money into renovations and upgrades, and you know your neighborhood is selling well. But that doesn’t mean you’ll get all of that money back when it’s time to sell.  Keep in mind that not all renovations provide the same return on investment, and when comparing home prices, you must compare apples to apples.  Real estate brokers who are familiar with an area have a good sense of the local market and can pull data to give a sense of comparable nearby home sales. Trust their expertise and the data available to them or risk having your house sit on the market.

3.  Refusing The First Offer

First offers may not always be as high as you’d hoped, but remember, all offers are negotiable. Consider any offer a starting point — any offer is better than none!
Interested buyers want the best value and price for their investment just as much as you want to get the most for your home.  Most of the time, there is a happy meeting point.  Another way to offset a lower-than-expected offer is by asking the buyer to pay closing costs or refusing to pay for repairs.

4.  Not Working On Your Home’s First Impression

It’s very important to have a house as perfect as possible when listing it for sale.  If you’ll be living in the house while it’s on the market, clear the clutter, remove personal photos and knickknacks, and be sure it’s kept clean and tidy.  Go through room by room and depersonalize.  Maximize space and make sure each room tells a story.  Curb appeal also is important.  Be sure shrubbery is trimmed and exterior paint looks fresh, and don’t neglect smaller details, such as adding mulch to flower beds and plantings.

5.  Covering Up Problems

The number one rule is, disclose, disclose, disclose.  It’s the best way to avoid lawsuits.  If you know your house is in need of repairs, but you prefer not to pay for said repairs, be upfront about the issues that need addressing.  There’s no way around a seller disclosure report, and most home issues, such as a leaky roof or foundation problems, will come up in a home inspection anyway.


Thursday, February 5, 2016

Real estate looks promising for 2016

Real estate for 2016 is expected to be a positive force for the overall economy.  In 2015, the nationwide value of all homes grew by $1.1 trillion. The 2016 estimated total nationwide is $28.5 trillion. The value of the entire housing stock nationwide grew 4.1%.  However, housing value nationwide isn't distributed equally. California is home to about 12% of the U.S. population but accounts for nearly 25% of the total home value. California's market is driven by the high value metropolitan areas of San Francisco and Los Angeles.

An improving job market, still-low interest rates, and some easing in credit requirements for loans are all signs that point to a stronger market in 2016. Still some challenges remain:
        1.  Tight inventories push prices up and decrease housing affordability.
        2.  Appraisal issues of "low" or "late" appraisals can squash pending deals.
        3.  New mortgage disclosure rules can delay closings and have an impact on sales. All cash buyers have even stronger negotiating power now.


Wednesday, January 21, 2016

Get Your Home Ready for Sale in 2016

Staging a home for sale is simply preparing a house to be sold. There are many different aspects to staging, but there is a simple foundation to all of it.  There are several steps you can take to stage your home for sale — and many of them don’t cost a dime. Here are five free things you can do to prepare your home to sell.

​Clean! Sparkling counters and appliances go a long way in a home for sale.  The number one thing people think about while in a home is whether or not they believe it is clean. A home that is absolutely pristine presents as well cared for.  Clean all windows inside and out. Dust all door frames, light fixtures, ceiling fans and blinds. Don’t leave a single spot in your home untouched. Potential buyers look everywhere, so make sure the entire home is clean.

Depersonalize.  Just furnish the room with the absolute minimum items.  Pack up almost all personal photos and family keepsakes. If you have a great photo of your family enjoying a camping trip or other family activity, you can leave it out on display if your home is being marketed to families. This one family photo plants a seed of happiness in a buyer’s mind, making them think how happy their own family could be living in the home.

All other photos, portraits and keepsakes must be packed away out of view — and ideally, stored outside the home. In general, family photos and keepsakes draw a buyer’s attention to your family and keep them from seeing your home as their potential home.  You’re not selling the family, you’re selling the house — so always let that be the center of attention.

Pack it Up!  You could probably live comfortably for a short time with about half the things you own, especially if you have lived in your home for more than a few years. We all tend to collect things. Whether we use them or not doesn’t matter, but what does matter is showcasing the space your home has to offer potential buyers. You cannot showcase rooms that are full of stuff — especially too much furniture.  Pack up as much as you can live without, then store it offsite if possible. Store packed boxes and extra furniture neatly away from living spaces no matter what. If you have to store items in the garage, make certain you leave enough room for a car.

Manicure Outdoor Spaces​  Even if the yard is simple, cut grass and clean pathways make an impact.  Outdoor living is now a part of everyday life for most of us. Potential buyers will absolutely consider the outdoor spaces as critically as they do indoor spaces. If you don’t have the budget to freshen the landscape with flowers and decorative items, you can still make sure the yard is perfectly manicured.

Keep your yard watered, and cut grass to approximately 3 inches high. Any shorter takes away from the fresh green look, and any longer starts to look unkempt.  Foliage should be very neat and properly shaped to match your neighborhood. Trim the trees so that a 6-foot-tall person can easily pass under them. This makes the trees appear taller, and gives the yard a clean, tidy look.  Power wash the sidewalk, patio, deck, driveway and fence. You will be amazed what a difference this will make in the look of your home.

Lighten it Up!  Turn on the lights and open the shades.  When showing or photographing your home for potential buyers, open every blind and curtain in your home, and turn on every light. Even the lights over the stove and inside the oven should be on. (Remember, the appliances are pristine — they need to be shown off!)  Buyers are looking for “light and bright,” not “dark and dreary,” so give them light. Help them see how clean and well cared for your home is. Don’t be afraid to move a lamp to brighten up a space if you need to. Let there be light — and lots and lots of it.  It can be a lot of work getting your house ready to sell. Even with no staging budget, you can still take the time to make a few changes that will have a profound impact on your home sale.


Monday, January 5, 2016

10 of the Hottest Home Trends for 2016

In real estate trends typically come slowly and though they may entice buyers and sellers, remind them that trends are just that—a change in direction that may captivate, go mainstream, then disappear (though some will gain momentum and remain as classics). Which way they’ll go is hard to predict, but here are 10 trends that experts expect to draw great appeal in 2016:

1.  Open spaces go mainstream. An open floor plan may feel like old hat, but it’s becoming a wish beyond the young hipster demographic, so you’ll increasingly see this layout in traditional condo buildings and single-family suburban homes in 2016. The reason? After the kitchen became the home’s hub, the next step was to remove all walls for greater togetherness. Perhaps going a step further by adding windows to better meld indoors and outdoors.

2.  Freestanding tubs. Freestanding tubs may conjure images of Victorian-era opulence, but the newest iteration from companies like Kohler shows a cool sculptural hand. One caveat: Some may find it hard to climb in and out. These tubs complement other bathroom trends: open wall niches and single wash basins, since two people rarely use the room simultaneously.

3.  Quartzite. While granite still appeals, quartzite is becoming the new hot contender, thanks to its reputation as a natural stone that’s virtually indestructible. It also more closely resembles the most luxe classic—marble—without the drawbacks of staining easily. Quartzite is moving ahead of last year’s favorite, quartz, which is also tough but is manmade.

4.  Porcelain floors. If you’re going to go with imitation wood, porcelain will be your 2016 go-to. It’s less expensive and wears as well as or better than the real thing, says architect Stephen Alton. Porcelain can be found in traditional small tiles or long, linear planks. It’s also available in numerous colors and textures, including popular one-color combos with slight variations for a hint of differentiation. Good places to use this material are high-traffic rooms, hallways, and areas exposed to moisture.

5.  Multiple master suites. Having two master bedroom suites, each with its own adjoining bathroom, makes a house work better for multiple generations. Such an arrangement allows grown children and aging parents to move in for long- or short-term stays, but the arrangement also welcomes out-of-town guests, according to Nurzia Construction. When both suites are located on the main level, you hit the jackpot.

6.  Fireplaces and fire pits. The sight of a flame—real or faux—has universal appeal as a signal of warmth, romance, and togetherness. New versions on the market make this amenity more accessible with more compact design and fewer venting concerns. This year, be on the lookout for the latest iteration on this classic: chic, modern takes on the humble wood stove.

7.  Water conservation. The concerns of drought-ravaged California are spreading nationwide. Home owners can now purchase rainwater harvesting tanks and cisterns, graywater systems, weather-controlled watering stations, permeable pavers, drought-tolerant plants, and no- or low-mow grasses.

8.  Salon-style walls. Instead of displaying a few distinct pieces on a wall, the “salon style” trend features works from floor to ceiling and wall-to-wall. Think Parisian salon at the turn of the century. HGTV designer Taniya Nayak suggests using a common denominator for cohesiveness, such as the same mat, frame color, or subject matter. Before she hangs works, she spaces them four to five inches apart, starting at the center and at eye level and working outward, then up and down. She uses Frog Tape to test the layout since it doesn’t take paint off walls. Artist Francine Turk also installs works this way, but prefers testing the design on the floor like a big jigsaw puzzle.

9.  Cool copper. First came pewter; then brass made a comeback. The 2016 “it” metal is copper, which can exude industrial warmth in large swaths or judiciously in a few backsplash tiles, hanging fixture, or pots dangling from a rack. The appeal comes from the popularity of industrial chic, which Restoration Hardware’s iconic style has helped promote, says designer Tom Segal.

10. Shades of white kitchens. Despite all the variations in colors and textures for kitchen counters, backsplashes, cabinets, and flooring, the all-white kitchen still gets the brass ring. “Seven out of 10 of our kitchens have some form of white painted cabinetry,” says builder Peter Radzwillas. What’s different now is that all-white does not mean the same white, since variations add depth and visual appeal. White can go from stark white to creamy and beyond to pale blue-gray, says Radzwillas. He also notes that when cabinets are white, home owners can choose bigger, bolder hardware.