Every morning on my Chicago area social media feed, I see acres and acres of empty rooms posted by real estate professionals. So many empty dining rooms, breakfast rooms, kitchens, living and bedrooms. Do I stop and click on the photo, intrigued to have a look at the room, the house, the property? No, I just scroll on by … Do I read the eloquently written description? Do I appreciate the professional photography? No, I just scroll on by … Why? It’s that they all look the same; devoid of any senses, any flavor, any style.
#1. An empty home leaves an empty canvas to paint negative thoughts on. Prospective buyers will find imperfections or they’ll not be interested or overlook features. An empty home amplifies negative thoughts.
#2. Empty homes lack a vision of its layout. What is this room? A staged home shows off how the home flows and how each space can be used.
#3. An empty home is void of imagination and feeling. People buy homes on emotion. An empty property is just a HOUSE, a staged property becomes a HOME. Home staging creates the emotion that your prospective buyers envisioned.
#4. The National Association of REALTORS 2015 Profile on Home Staging found that 81 percent of buyers find it is easier to visualize a property as a future home when it’s staged.
“A staged home may seem like it has furniture that’s fixed in place; but what is going on in the buyer’s mind is a very kinetic process. With a home that is staged, they see a family – celebrating home.” –Julea Joseph
See the difference for yourself: Here are some before and after photos.
DAILY REAL ESTATE NEWS | WEDNESDAY, MARCH 11, 2015
Fifty-four percent of Americans say that they believe getting a mortgage is easy—a record high number for Fannie Mae’s National Housing Survey, which is a monthly poll of about 1,000 Americans’ attitudes toward the housing market.
The February 2015 edition of the survey finds a strengthening employment sector and consumers' growing confidence in the economy are leading to improved attitudes about the housing market.
"Continuing improvements in consumer attitudes in this month’s National Housing Survey lend support to our expectation that 2015 will be a year of the economy dragging housing upward," says Doug Duncan, chief economist at Fannie Mae. "The share of consumers who think the economy is on the right track rose to a record high since the inception of the survey nearly five years ago and for the first time exceeded the share who believe it’s on the wrong track.”
Duncan notes that consumer confidence is getting a big boost from employment growth, which also reflects consumers’ increasing optimism over the ease of getting a mortgage today.
“We continue to see strength in attitudes about the current home buying and selling environment and consistently high shares of consumers saying they expect to buy a home on their next move,” Duncan notes. “At the same time, we still need to see further growth in consumer optimism toward personal finances and income for more robust improvement in housing market attitudes."
Here are some additional findings from February’s survey:
The average 12-month home price change expectation remained at 2.5 percent.
The share of respondents who say home prices will go up in the next 12 months declined to 46 percent, while the share who say home prices will go down dropped to 6 percent.
The share of respondents surveyed who say mortgage rates will rise in the next 12 months returned to 48 percent.
The number of those surveyed who say now is a good time to buy a home remained at 67 percent in February; the number who say now is a good time to sell fell by 4 percentage points to 40 percent.
The percentage of respondents who expect their personal financial situation to improve over the next 12 months dropped to 46 percent.
The number of those surveyed who say their household income is significantly higher than it was 12 months ago dropped 5 percentage points to 24 percent.
"This month kicks off spring home buying season," says Len Kiefer, deputy chief economist at Freddie Mac. "Between now and the end of June, we’ll see about 40 percent of all home sales for the year."
It’s that optimism that has Freddie Mac forecasters expecting 2015 "to be the best year for home sales and new home construction since 2007, when total home sales were about 5.8 million for the year," according to their U.S. Economic and Housing Market Outlook for March.
An improving job market is driving young professionals, ages 25 to 34, back to the labor force. The millennial age group now has 76.8 percent of its generation employed, as of last month, up from 75.9 percent last year.
Freddie Mac economists predict that rents will continue to rise at or above inflation this year, which will likely push more prospective buyers into home ownership. Rents rose 3.6 percent, on average, in 2014, and are up nearly 11 percent over the last three years, according to Freddie Mac’s report.
Meanwhile, Freddie Mac economists expect that the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage to rise slightly this year to a 4 percent average. The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.86 percent this week.
Looking to give your home an upgrade but lacking a big budget? There are tons of small home tweaks all packing serious redesign punch. Here are five home upgrades for under $100.
Paint. Painting has long been the budget designer's best friend, as a coat of paint can make a room feel fresh and new, and leaves ample room for creativity. You can completely recolor the whole room, or add an extra accent pop on one wall.
Get new drapery. New curtains for the living room or bedroom can offer an interesting new look with minimal effort and cost. Go seasonal with colors--think yellow for spring and bright blue for summer--or simply swap to a heavier fabric once winter arrives.
Lighting upgrade. Install new lighting in a previously drab room to give it an immediate visual upgrade. Bathrooms are often in need of a lighting upgrade, but another frequent offender is the front entryway, where guests view your home for the first time.
Replace hardware. Replacing the hardware on your cabinets is an easy way to give your kitchen a bit of bedazzling without breaking the bank.
Create a door shelf. Adding a shelf above a door way not only creates more storage room, but is an elegant place to display photos or books. Simply add a wooden shelf above your door and then paint it to match the door's trim.
Smart Re-Listing Ideas as Spring Approaches
Smart Re-Listing Ideas as Spring Approaches
DAILY REAL ESTATE NEWS | THURSDAY, MARCH 05, 2015
If you have clients who took their homes off the market during the winter chill but are ready to re-list, here are some tips worth sharing to get the listing back in tip-top shape.
Atlanta real estate agent and commentator Rhonda Duffy advises consumers to take on spring cleaning tasks now. "Go through every room with a box to put away anything that you know you won't need again until you are in your new home, she says. This includes personal items, clothes that you won't need until next season, or toys or other items that clutter up rooms."
Duffy says that repairs or replacement of any seriously damaged appliances is important, but "now is not the time to update or renovate. Simply do a thorough spring-cleaning of your home and yard to transition it back to its ready-to-sell glory. Add some color in your home or yard by adding potted plants or bouquets of flowers to make your home even more inviting."
Practitioners should consider freshening up listing photos, even if the existing ones are only a few months old. "Features of a home might look different now than when pictures were first taken. "There is no need to replace every photo, but consider showing the outside of a home as it looks today, or the master bedroom with different lighting," Duffy adds.
It may also be helpful to re-word your listing description. Talk up the different features of your home that can be most appreciated and use fresh language to entice buyers to see your home for themselves, she says.
Sign of Homebuying Rebound Soon
DAILY REAL ESTATE NEWS | WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 25, 2015
After several recent drops, mortgage applications reversed course last week, with those for home purchases jumping 5 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association's latest report. The rise, which reflects data from the week ending Feb. 20, also came despite higher mortgage interest rates, MBA notes. (The survey includes adjustments for the President's Day holiday.) Nevertheless, purchase applications still remain 2 percent lower than the same week a year ago.
Meanwhile, applications for refinancings continued to fall last week, dropping 8 percent to its lowest level this year. The drop prompted MBA's overall mortgage application index, which reflects both applications for home purchases and refinancings, to fall 3.5 percent for the week.
"The one exception to this trend was VA refinance volume, which increased 27 percent last week as certain lenders refocused on VA production," says Mike Fratantoni, MBA's chief economist. "The VA share of total applications increased to 9.6 percent from 8 percent the week prior as a result."
The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.99 percent last week, up from 3.93 percent the previous week, MBA reported.
1. Walk-in closets: Large closets, particularly in the master bedroom, is among one of home shoppers’ top priorities, according to the NAHB survey of builders and remodelers. Indeed, 31 percent of 1,000 home owners recently surveyed by PulteGroup said they’d sacrifice another household feature in order to have his-and-hers closets in the master bedroom.
2. Luxurious laundry rooms: Buyers are looking for more than just a place to stick their washer and dryer. They want upgraded laundry rooms – complete with skylights, built-in ironing boards, space for folding clothes, extra storage, and upgraded appliances, according to the NAHB survey.
3. Energy efficiency: Home buyers are looking to cut utility costs, and energy efficiency appliances and products can be one way to do that. Low e-windows, Energy Star appliances, and programmable thermostats are more in demand among home shoppers.
4. Great rooms: These large open spaces that often merge dining rooms, living rooms, and kitchens continue to be in high-demand among home shoppers, according to NAHB’s poll of builders. “Great rooms are wonderful places where everyone in the family can sit around, or where the kids can do their homework while you get dinner ready,” Stephen Melman of NAHB told MainStreet. “Today’s great rooms are large, bright and just make you feel good being there.”
5. Taller first-floor ceilings: More home buyers want the first floor to stretch beyond the typical eight-foot ceiling. They’re asking builders for nine-foot ceiling heights. The taller ceilings can open up living rooms, dining rooms, and other spaces on the first floor. But home shoppers say they can do without the cathedral ceiling in the family room, which can be too costly to heat and cool. Also, they aren’t preferring the higher ceilings on the second floor, which many home buyers say they want to feel more cozy, Melman says.