The final item to complete when preparing your home for the market is the staging of the home. Once the staging is completed, though, the sellers may look at their staged home and say “this isn’t how we would live in the house” and immediately start moving furniture around to where they would like it. Sometimes a half a day can be spent deciding where two chairs and a couch will be relocated. Sellers feel they know their house the best and what they think a buyer would like, but in reality, it’s how they would like to live in their home.
I advise my clients that the purpose of staging a home is to maximize the effect for buyers and to trust that a professional stager knows what will entice a buyer to bring a great price for the home. Once your home is staged, please don’t UN-stage it.
So what gives here? This coming year of 2014 may just be the UN-est year of all. Let me explain.
As we begin this year, we have an UN-usually low inventory of homes for sale, maybe the lowest on record. There is still an UN-believably low interest rate for mortgages. The prices for homes have reached over their UN-imaginable peak prices from 2008, setting all time high median and average prices. Yet, potential Home Sellers remain UN-moved by these facts and are continuing to stay in their homes, Then, UN-forgivably, the tax implications of selling a highly appreciated asset like a home which has been lived in for a few decades, has increased significantly as well. Further, the UN-employment level in this area has rapidly fallen and the cars and G-buses are jamming up the highways again.
What do you get when you combine all of these UN’s and an all time record high on the Dow Jones index? You get an UN-precedented residential real estate market as 2014 begins. Start your UN-gines!
It is a remarkable time in the Silicon Valley and Peninsula Real Estate markets as desperate Home Buyers are seeking to buy when the inventory of homes for sale are at their lowest in history! I have deemed this the UN-inventory! Being that home prices are now at all time record prices, what is holding back home owners and potential home seller’s from putting their homes on the market?
The reasons I have come across are varied but the top ones are that they don’t know where to go, the capital gain tax rate has increased significantly and they will owe more tax and that if they sell and buy another property they will lose their Proposition 13 property tax base. It also seems that home owners prefer to stay in their homes as they get older and have access to in home care for the long term as well. To make this even more difficult, there are long waiting lists for senior housing choices making it difficult for them to make a move.
Buyers are now lined up bidding on almost any reasonable home that is listed and bidding the home prices up substantially! Usually the spring brings on the most number of homes for sale, but this market is far from usual and there is no way to predict accurately how many homes will be put on the market for sale as 2014 begins. Regardless, until more inventory comes on the market, there will continue to be desperate home buyers!
If you own a property in California, this is just a friendly reminder that tomorrow, Monday, December 10th is date that property taxes are due before they become deliquent and subject to a 10% penalty. You can also go directly to the assessor’s website to pay your bill online. There is a slight fee to do this online but as long as your Property Tax payment envelopes are postmarked on or by December 10th you’ll be okay.
I ask that you verify this for yourselves by looking at your tax bill or going online to one of the county sites below or to your own county where you own a property.
Santa Clara County is http://payments.scctax.org/
San Mateo County is http://www.sanmateocountytaxcollector.org/
These links were obtained from a Google Search so please make certain for yourselves that these are valid sites. As far as I can tell they are. Hope this is helpful for you.
If you don’t own a property, did you know that property taxes are deductible? Let me know if you have any questions.
The last few ingredients in the transformation is a professional cleaning of the entire home and a power washing of the exterior.. This includes inside cabinets, all appliances, kitchen, bathrooms, garage and especially the windows and skylights. It is amazing how much more light comes into the home and how the views to the yard are dramatically improved. I advise that the window coverings throughout the house should be removed or only have some sheer window panels on either side of each window so that the most light can enter the home. The power washing of the driveway, sidewalks, patios, decks and exterior of the home will give the outside a fresh and clean appearance and be inviting to home buyers also.
Finally, a professional staging of the home is required. If the home is vacant, the entire home should be staged in every room. If the seller still lives in the home, the stager can advise what furniture to keep and what to store in the garage or off-site. Then the stager can accent the home with artwork and decorative items. This UNreal transformation will make a dramatic difference in what the home will sell for on the open market and get the seller some UNreal Results!
Transforming a home for the market is an intense experience but a rewarding one. The first step is to clear the home of almost all of the belongings. You can store most of the items in the garage but storage off site is better. The second is to touch up the cosmetics with paint, carpet and hardwood floor refinishing. Updating with better lighting and plumbing fixtures is also advised. Installing a new counter in the kitchen and new stainless steel appliances gives the kitchen a remodeled feel. Third is to refresh the landscaping with grass and colorful plants.
These improvements will help the buyer feel comfortable that they can move in to the home immediately. More in Part 3…
What is the value of preparing a home for sale? How much do you spend for the best return on your home preparation investment? The advice I give is that usually spending between 1% to 2% of the proposed value of the home is about the right amount to spend.
This depends on a couple of factors. If it is just cosmetics such as paint and carpet, hardwood floor refinishing, replacing some outdated lighting and plumbing fixtures and refreshing the landscaping, it should be closer to 1%. If it involves deferred maintenance such as an older roof, pest control work or major systems issues like heating and plumbing, it would be closer to the 2% number.
My advice, in most cases is that if you spend more than that, you are speculating that the market is going to reward your efforts. Its not advisable to gut and remodel a home for a buyer who might not appreciate what you just spent and tear out your improvements. More in Part 2…
The market continues to stay UNbelievably hot and no end in sight! Even a 103 year old farm house I listed sold for over asking price with multiple offers! The neighborhood lore goes that the home was moved onto the site from the old Flood Estate in Atherton to make way for the Hetch Hetchy waterway. It was a beautiful home albeit nothing had been done in decades to the home in terms of improvement and the home. Even the heating system was just a wood stove in the middle of the living room. The home had been sitting on a post and piers without a concrete perimeter foundation all these years, yet it came through the Loma Prieta earthquake unscathed!
The funny story is that the sellers hired me because they saw my “no hair” ad which has been running in the paper and thought I had a good sense of humor. The sellers felt that their 103 year farm house with a wood stove for heat, needed someone with a sense of humor. It turns out that this was one of the most pleasant and memorable sales I have ever had. The sellers were the “salt” of the earth kind of people and I am glad for such a positive result.
An UN-expected Home Moving Productivity Tool- Pleasant Smells
Home Moving can be stressful for the entire family. It doesn’t matter what your situation. Single or have children. Have a three thousand square foot home or one-bedroom apartment. Moving across town or over to the next county. Sometimes all the excitement and build up you feel prior to a move can vanish into anxiety, exhaustion and overwhelm.
Besides getting organized and planning your home moving project, what else can you do to support yourself? Why not include some pleasant smells in your environment? Bake some cookies in the oven or boil some cinnamon on the stove. It can make the moving process (move prep, packing and unpacking) all little more enjoyable? You might even find yourself– and those who are helping you — with more energy, increased productivity, and an improved mood!
When you are moving, there are certain items that are very important to have at hand. These include prescriptions, reading glasses, toiletries, chargers for your phone and computers and keys to your vehicles and new home. Also, this could include remotes and cables for your TV’s. You’ll be ready to get all hooked up at your new home right away. This should all be packed in a “Go Box” and placed in your own car for the move to the next home.
If you flying to your new home, another suggestion is to just imagine that you are going on a trip and staying at a hotel for a week. Simply pack a suit case as if you are going on this one week trip. In this case, you are simply taking a trip to your new home. You’ll be so happy you put this list of items in a safe, convenient and findable place! Here are some additional tips from a professional moving service- http://www.allreasonsmoving.com/blog/2013/01/29/moving-efficiently-with-family/