Jan 09

10 top tips for selling your property in January

January is the busiest time of year for property sales so it needs to stand out from the crowd.

Selling your home can be a very stressful time, which can be made even more difficult depending on the time of year.

For example, there can be a lull in property sales during the Christmas period but January is the busiest time of year for selling homes. So how can you ensure your house or flat stands out from the crowd?

Elliot Castle, CEO and founder of the home-buying company We Buy Any Home, reveals how you can add value to your property and make it stand out in January…


If your festive decorations are still up in the middle of January, then it could give the impression that you haven’t made an effort to make the house look presentable – don’t leave a bauble in sight!


People tend to want to stay indoors during January, so make sure you add a few cosy touches to your home ahead of viewings. This will make it as appealing as possible for potential buyers. Try setting the heating at an optimum temperature, covering furniture with throws and cushions, and adding rugs to laminate floors.


Welcome house viewers in from the cold with a hot drink, and make sure you’re prepared for any of their additional requests. By doing this, viewers will feel right at home, and will subconsciously associate your property with warmth and friendliness.


January may not be the typical time of year for blooming gardens, but you can certainly add life to your outside space by giving the patio a good clean and adding some garden accessories, such as bird feeders, and even some nice lanterns with candles.

Garden lantern


Ensure your hallway is decluttered and tidy ahead of viewings to stop the space looking cramped. A good tip is to hang a mirror on either side of the hallway wall, to give the illusion of a bigger space.


Adding the perception of height to a room is a great way to make it seem like you have a larger space. Do this by using high-legged tables and chairs to elevate the room, as well as high hanging paintings and prints.


Never underestimate the power of freshly painted white walls. These not only give the illusion of a bigger space, but also provide an all-over crisp and clean look.

Painted white walls


Clever storage solutions are a must for any room with limited space. Make the most of multi-purpose items such as trunks which can be used as coffee tables, and as a place to store household bits and bobs neatly out of the way.


If your home has dark coloured walls, add cream and white accessories such as rugs and throws. Neutral and airy tones can help to bring ‘light’ into a room. Remember to keep the colour palette soft with whites, beiges, light blues and greys to really maximise the feeling of space.


First impressions really do count, so make sure the first thing your buyer sees is a tidy exterior. If your front door is looking a bit shabby, buy a new doorknob, a brass letterbox or a stainless-steel house number – these small touches can instantly make your home appear more welcoming.

Source: housebeautiful.co.uk  ~ BY 

Nov 24

Best Financial Investments for Your Home

By Craig Middleton

Over the last couple of years, rehabbing TV shows have become increasingly popular. In these shows, people fix or introduce new features to their homes while adding substantial market value to the house in the process. If you own a home, you can make many of these types of fixes or additions to increase the value of your home, too. You can also enjoy these changes for as long as you live there. Some of the best financial investments you can make to your home include:

Major Problem Fixes

The first high-return investment you should make in your home is to correct all major problems. If your home has serious issues, such as a broken air conditioner or a pipe leak, fixing those issues should be priority No. 1. Repairing or replacing the roof and siding can be a great investment, and potential buyers will generally factor in both the time and cost of having to fix it. Problems like these are always easier to fix when they’re small than later after having put them off.

Exterior Improvements

Investing in the facade of a home can also bring great returns. Replacing garage doors is one of these investments. If your garage door looks new, your house will look new, as well. Painting the outside of your home is another good investment in the exterior. If you don’t want to take the time and money to fully repaint your home, pressure-washing can be a quick way to make the outside of your home look much more presentable.

Entryway Improvements

Another good investment is to invest in a new entryway door. Like the garage door, the front door is important in making a good first impression on a potential buyer. Replacing your front door with a steel door can also make your home safer; increasing the safety of your home can be another great selling point for a potential buyer. Replacing windows is another way to make the outside of your home look better, as well as improve the home’s energy efficiency.

Fixes and additions to the inside of your home can be a great financial investment. A fresh coat of paint to the interior can add value by making the home look cleaner and brighter.

Update Bathroom, Kitchen and Appliances

Improving your home’s bathroom, particularly visible elements such as vanities, lighting, toilets and tubs, can create a high return. For bathroom improvements, you may obtain a better return on investment by spending your money on items in the bathroom that a potential buyer would see, instead of completely gutting the bathroom.

Kitchen remodels can be another way to significantly improve the value of your home. For kitchen remodels, you’ll want to spend money on functional items such as cabinets, drawers, pantry doors and appliances. Appliances such as refrigerators don’t have to be completely new, but they should keep up with current trends. Kitchen remodels should also suit the home. A kitchen that looks like it belongs in a $300,000 home will feel out of place in a $150,000 home.

Adding high-efficiency appliances to a home can modernize it and also save you money on electricity. Some states and cities have tax programs that could reduce your taxes if you buy and use high-efficiency appliances that require less electricity.

Overall, you should research the investment potential of your home before making any purchase. If you are trying to increase the value of your home, you need to make sure your fix or addition will increase the value of the home not only for you, but also to potential buyers.

This article is intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as professional advice. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of RISMedia.

Source: RISMedia.com

Oct 18

Moderate California, Bay Area Home Price Gains Forecast for 2018

  • The California Association of Realtors’ 2018 forecast calls for 4.2 percent single-family home price appreciation next year.
  • Affordability is expected to further diminish, with only about one-quarter of California households able to afford the median-priced home by the end of 2018.
  • The state’s unemployment rate will fall to 4.6 percent, while mortgage rates will rise to 4.3 percent.

California home price appreciation should slow next year, although there appears to be no end in sight for the state’s severe and prolonged inventory shortage.

That’s according to the California Association of Realtors’ 2018 housing market forecast, which says that the median sales price for an existing single-family home in the state should close out 2017 at $538,500, up 7.2 percent year over year. CAR predicts that appreciation will slow to 4.2 percent in 2018, putting the median price at $561,000 by the end of next year.

Here in the Bay Area, price growth is also expected to cool next year, according to the latest forecast from John Burns Real Estate Consulting. The company expects new home prices to increase by 1.3 percent in the San Francisco metro area and by about 4.5 percent in the East Bay, San Jose, and Santa Rosa metro areas, all lower than this year’s predicted appreciation rates.

In a statement accompanying CAR’s report, Senior Vice President and Chief Economist Leslie Appleton-Young said that California’s housing inventory has been particularly tight at lower price points this year, while the higher end has had more favorable supply conditions. She expects that trend to persist in 2018, as buyer demand is projected to remain strong.

“With tight inventory being the new ‘norm’ for the past few years and at least the upcoming year, we’ll continue to see fierce competition driving up prices, leading to lower affordability and weaker sales growth,” she said.

By the end of 2018, CAR forecasts that just 26 percent of households will be able to afford the median-priced home, down from 29 percent this year. Home sales should grow by 1.0 percent year over year in 2018 to 426,200 units.

Healthy economic conditions and historically low mortgage rates are expected to drive continued demand for California real estate in the coming year. CAR predicts that the state’s unemployment rate will dip to 4.6 percent in 2018, while mortgage rates will finish the year at 4.3 percent.

Source: blog.pacificunion.com

Aug 25

Why Fremont ranks as California’s ‘healthiest’ home ownership market

Fremont ranks as one of the healthiest markets in California for homeowners, with San Jose not far behind. But what does “healthy” market mean for first-time buyers?

Fremont is the most stable and affordable housing market in the Golden State, according to Smart Asset, a personal finance technology company. San Jose ranked No. 4 on the list, while Oakland ranked No. 7.

“Homeowners in a healthy market should be able to easily sell their homes, with a low risk of losing money over the long run,” SmartAsset said in a statement accompanying the new data.

The study considered four factors: stability, affordability, fluidity and risk of loss. Affordability — measured as home costs as a percentage of income — made up 40 percent of the housing health index, while each of the other three factors accounted for 20 percent.

Homeowners in Fremont spend an average of almost 14 years in their homes, with just 2.8 percent of homes having negative equity, according to the report. Only 7.8 percent of the homes in the city have decreased in value. Fremont dwellers pay just 22.5 percent of their income in housing costs and can expect to sell their residences within about 25 days of putting them on the market.

San Jose residents also spend, on average, 14 years in their homes, with just 2.7 percent of homes having negative equity. Just 9 percent of homes have decreased in value. San Jose locals spend about 24.4 percent of their income on housing and can expect to sell their homes in 21 days.

Oakland homes sell the fastest of those ranked in the top 10 healthiest markets — a seller in the area can expect his or her residence to move in about 19.4 days. Dwellers spend, on average, 13 years in their homes, with 5.1 percent of residences having negative equity. Locals spend about 25.3 percent of their income on housing costs.

Of course, the market is healthy in these regions for sellers and established buyers, but what about first-time buyers or those with modest incomes looking to get into homeownership? Unfortunately, they’re still being priced out of the market.

Last month, the median price of existing single-family homes hit $1.13 million in Santa Clara County, up from $1.06 million a year earlier, according to data from the California Association of Realtors.

Housing prices in the region have skyrocketed in recent years with the median home price in San Jose consistently hovering around $880,000, compared to the national figure at $211,731. The increase in regional housing costs has forced many workers to move further from their jobs or to new tech hubs with cheaper housing.

Still, there are plenty of eager buyers. According to a March report from Redfin, around 63 percent of San Jose homes sold above list price in February, the highest share of “over asking” bidding in the United States. Oakland came in No. 3 with 59.1 percent of the region’s homes selling for more than what was listed.

Source: bizjournals.com ~ By: Gina Hall

California, Bay Area Inventory Continues to Shrink in August 9/22/17

  • The median sales price for a single-family home in the nine-county Bay Area was $856,200 in August, an annual gain of 10.2 percent.
  • Eight of nine Bay Area counties posted home price gains from one year earlier.
  • Inventory dipped both statewide and in all nine Bay Area counties from August 2016.

Source: blog.pacificunion.com

The number of homes for sale declined statewide and in every Bay Area county from one year earlier — particularly entry-level properties — keeping prices at a 10-year high.

The latest monthly home sales report from the California Association of Realtors says that the median sales price for a single-family home in the state was $565,330 in August, up 7.2 percent from one year earlier. August marked the sixth straight month that home prices were higher than $500,000 and the third consecutive month that annual gains topped 7 percent. Year-over-year appreciation for the lowest-priced segment of homes was even higher, at 10.7 percent, further complicating matters for first-time buyers trying to get a foot in the door.

“These homes are selling faster than historically and for top dollar, adversely impacting entry-level buyers who are already struggling to afford to buy their very first home,” CAR President Geoff McIntosh said in a statement accompanying the report.

The median sales price in the nine-county Bay Area was $856,200, up by 10.2 percent from August of last year. Eight of nine counties posted annual price gains, ranging from 0.6 percent in Marin County to 17.9 percent in Santa Clara County. Year-over-year appreciation was flat in Solano County.

San Francisco overtook San Mateo County as the state’s most expensive housing market, with a median sales price of $1,380,000. San Francisco buyers also paid the highest premiums in California — 114.8 percent of original price. The state’s three other seven-digit real estate markets are also located in the Bay Area: San Mateo ($1,375,000), Marin ($1,207,120), and Santa Clara ($1,150,000) counties.

The driver behind the price growth will be all-too familiar to anyone who follows California and Bay Area real estate: more willing buyers than available homes. CAR says that active listings dropped by 11.9 percent from last August, while the months’ supply of inventory was 2.9, down on both a monthly and yearly basis. McIntosh noted that the state’s inventory of starter homes is particularly tight.

The months’ supply of inventory also dropped from the previous month and year in the Bay Area, falling to 1.9. The number of homes for sale declined from last August in all nine local counties, with Santa Clara, Alameda, San Francisco, San Mateo, and Contra Costa counties having the state’s most severe shortages.

Homes in the nine-county Bay Area left the market in an average of 15 days, five days fewer than they did in August 2016. Santa Clara County was California’s fastest-paced real estate market last month, with homes selling in an average of 9.5 days.

Jul 27

Sizing Up the Competition: How Many Offers Are You Betting Against?

Executive Summary:

  • Competition has increased again in Bay Area housing markets this summer, with 6 in 10 homes selling over the asking price.
  • In Alameda and San Mateo counties, 8 in 10 homes are selling over the asking price, generally speaking.
  • According to Pacific Union data, sellers in Alameda and Santa Clara counties received on average four offers per listing, while San Francisco and Contra Costa county sellers received an average of three offers. Other counties averaged two offers per home.
  • Homes priced below $2 million received three offers on average, while those priced above $3 million received two offers.
  • Staging a home helps increase buyer demand and brings at least one more offer than homes that are not staged.

Pacific Union’s recent second-quarter real estate reports showed that Bay Area housing markets are sizzling again, and buyers are facing tough competition. Overall in the Bay Area, 6 in 10 homes sold over the asking price in the second quarter, while in Alameda and San Mateo counties, almost 8 in 10 homes sold over the asking price. Naturally, some price ranges were in greater demand than others. For example, in the East Bay, competition increased for homes priced up to $2 million but cooled off for higher-priced homes.

Figure 1 illustrates the share of homes that sold over the asking price in the East Bay in June and the average premium obtained. Click here to see how bidding wars played out in other Bay Area regions.

Figure 1: Market competition in Pacific Union’s East Bay region

Knowing that Bay Area housing markets are competitive and that many buyers are making offers on a limited inventory of homes, we wondered how many offers are generally made on a home. To better understand market conditions, Pacific Union collects compelling transactional data. According to nearly 3,800 transactions in which Pacific Union professionals participated, Alameda and Santa Clara counties saw the highest average number of offers per listing in the first five months of 2017 — four. Figure 2 summarizes the average number of offers in each county and by price range. San Francisco and Contra Costa counties averaged three offers per listing. When looking at price ranges, lower price ranges remain in the most demand and generally received three offers, while listings priced above $2 million averaged two offers.

Nevertheless, Santa Clara County again stands out, with homes priced at $3 million and higher receiving six offers on average. About 4 percent of homes sold in 2017 in Santa Clara County were priced higher than $3 million.

Another highly competitive market segment are homes priced between $1 million and $2 million in Alameda County, where there were five offers on average per listing. Twenty-three percent of homes in Alameda County sold in that price range this year, which is an increase from 18 percent seen during the same period last year. Rapid price appreciation in some popular Alameda communities, along with continually declining inventory of lower-priced homes, is driving this increased demand.

Figure 2: Average number of offers in Bay Area counties by price range

Source: Pacific Union transaction questionnaire. Results based on 3,736 responses collected between Jan. 1, 2016 and May 31, 2017. Updated July 19, 2017.

Furthermore, as our recent analysis of the impact of staging on the time on market showed, homes that are staged sell quicker than those that are not. Similarly, Pacific Union data shows that staged homes also received more offers than those that were not. On average, staged homes received one more offer than those that were not. However, staging made the largest difference in Alameda County, where staged homes received five offers versus the average of three offers received for nonstaged homes. Figure 3 summarizes that average number of offers received for homes that were staged and those that were not. Across all Bay Area communities, data suggests that staging helps draw in buyers and boost competition.

Figure 3: Average number of offers on staged and nonstaged properties

Source: Pacific Union transaction questionnaire. Results based on 3,736 responses collected between Jan. 1, 2016 and May 31, 2017. Updated July 19, 2017.

Article Source: blog.pacificunion.com ~ By: Selma Hepp

Jun 23

Mortgage Rates Start Summer Near 2017 Lows … Will It Hold?

Find out how the recent Federal Reserve rate hike could affect your home-buying and refinancing plans.

This month the Federal Reserve hiked rates for the third time in seven months. Does this mean the end of low mortgage rates? Let’s take a closer look to see how it impacts your home-buying and refinancing plans.

What is a Fed rate hike, anyway?

The Fed Funds Rate is an overnight bank-to-bank lending rate. While this rate isn’t available to consumers, the Federal Reserve (America’s central bank) uses it to help influence overall rate levels in the economy.

When times are tough, the Fed lowers the Fed Funds Rate to stimulate the economy. In the heat of the 2008 financial crisis, it cut the Fed Funds Rate all they way down to .25 percent, and kept it there until December 2015, when it felt the economic recovery had solidified.

Then it started hiking in increments of .25 percent, and have done so four times: December 2015, December 2016, March 2017, and June 2017.

Even though the Fed Funds Rate has now risen to 1.25 percent, traditional mortgage rates haven’t risen much — and, in fact, are near 2017 lows as summer kicks off.

Certain mortgages are already up 1%

When we say “traditional mortgage rates” are holding near 2017 lows, we mean rates on primary mortgages that most people get on their homes.

However, one mortgage product that’s directly impacted by these Fed hikes is the Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC).

HELOC rates are based on two components: a set base rate called a “margin,” plus a fluctuating rate called an “index.”

The index for HELOCs is the Prime Rate, which is a rate that is directly tied to Fed Funds. In fact, the Prime Rate is the Fed Funds Rate plus 3 percent.

We know that the Fed Funds Rate is now 1.25 percent after recent hikes. This means that the Prime Rate is now 4.25 percent.

Therefore anyone with a HELOC now has a rate of 4.25 percent plus whatever their margin is. Margins are typically somewhere between zero and three percent in addition to Prime, and your margin is based on your credit quality and how much or little you’re borrowing relative to the price of your home.

HELOC rates rising 1 percent because of recent with Fed hikes means that your monthly interest cost on a $100,000 HELOC is now $83 more per month.

If have or need a HELOC to get cash out of your home but don’t want to risk your rate rising further, here’s how to evaluate the difference between a HELOC, home equity loan, and a cash out mortgage.

Traditional mortgages are holding at 2017 lows

The reason rates on primary mortgages most people get haven’t spiked like HELOC rates is because primary mortgage rates are tied to trading in mortgage bonds, not the Fed Funds Rate.

Most U.S. mortgage loans up to $424,100 are packaged into mortgage bonds, and these bonds trade daily in global markets. Mortgage rates fall when prices of these bonds rise on economic uncertainty, and vice versa.

Rates have been holding near 2017 lows as demand for mortgage bonds remains strong. The reason for this demand is that these bonds are considered a safe investment when policy initiatives in Washington and global economic growth looks uncertain (like it does now).

Where do mortgage rates go from here?

Thirty-year fixed mortgage rates on loans up to $424,100 are currently at or just below 4 percent as of this writing — please note mortgage rates change throughout each day.

The Mortgage Bankers Association updates its rate forecasts monthly, and the June forecast calls for rates to rise very slightly — about .125 percent to .25 percent — from current levels as we move through the summer. And they call for rates to be around 4.375 percent as we move into the holidays.

These projections can change monthly as the economic and political environment evolves in the U.S. and globally, but for now you can see that rates might rise by about .375 percent by year end.

On a $300,000 loan, this would mean your payment rising by $66.

Not that $66 is small, but in the context of the global rate market, this is a relatively small increase that shouldn’t fundamentally alter how much home many people qualify for.

Source: zillow.com ~ By: JULIAN HEBRON

May 17

Recent News of Interest to Home Buyers, Home Sellers, and the Home-Curious.


When the Great Recession hit the Bay Area less than a decade ago, it hit hard, as jobs evaporated and home prices plummeted seemingly overnight. But the ensuing tech boom has been a powerful one, propelling the region’s largest cities to the top of a list of the nation’s most-recovered markets.

That’s according to a recent analysis by realtor.com, which examined 150 U.S. housing markets to determine which have best recovered from the recession based on home price growth, new construction, unemployment and foreclosure rates, and household incomes. Nationwide, the median home price hit $227,000 last year, surpassing its previous 2005 peak, and it is now 26 percent higher than the 2011 trough.

Seven of the 10 most-recovered U.S. real estate markets are located west of the Mississippi River, with San Jose in the No. 1 spot. The median home price in San Jose was $835,200 in 2016, up 57 percent from its low five years earlier. Between 2008 and 2009, the unemployment rate skyrocketed by 5 percentage points to 11.1 percent, but Silicon Valley‘s economy was relatively quick to recover, with companies like Tesla Motors and Facebook leading the way.

San Francisco is the nation’s second best-recovered housing market, with the median sales price at $754,500 in 2016, up 53 percent from the 2011 trough. Although San Francisco’s unemployment rate nearly hit 10 percent in 2010, optimistic tech workers rode out the storm, starting companies such as Uber and Pinterest during the economy’s darkest days.

The only other U.S. city to enjoy better postrecession appreciation than the Bay Area is Reno, Nevada, where the median sales price has jumped by 77 percent since bottoming out in 2011.

Source: blog.pacificunion.com

Nov 11

First-Time Buyer Activity Gradually Bouncing Back in 2016

First-time homebuyers have been busier in 2016 than they were the previous year, getting a boost from both wage growth and mortgage rates that are still hovering near record lows.

In its 35th annual Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, the National Association of Realtors said that first-time buyers accounted for 35 percent of U.S. home sales between July 2015 and July 2016, up from 32 percent the previous year. Historically, first-time buyers have typically accounted for 40 percent of home purchases in NAR’s survey.

Growing wages are likely helping many first-time buyers get in the game, with the median annual household income increasing to $88,500 in 2015. First-time buyers with a mortgage made down payments of 4 percent, compared with 16 percent for move-up buyers and 10 percent for all buyers.

The down payment remains the largest obstacle for all U.S. homebuyers, echoing results of a TD Bank survey earlier this year. Almost half of all buyers who are having difficulties amassing a down payment cite student loans as the culprit, with another 40 percent pointing to credit card debt.

First-time buyers face the additional challenge of not have proceeds from a previous home sale, which was the second most common way of securing a down payment behind personal savings. Owners who sold their homes this year received about $43,000 more than purchase price, helping them to trade up for larger properties.

Single first-time buyers must also must contend with competition from married couples, who accounted for 66 percent of home sales. In a recent analysis of NAR’s report by Inman News, Pacific Union Chief Economist Selma Hepp recounts her own experiences as a single homebuyer in the Los Angeles area, noting that couples — who benefit from dual incomes — are her biggest competition. Single women made up 17 percent of home sales over the past year, compared with 7 percent of single males.

First-time buyers account for about one-third of U.S. home purchases, and they tend to be younger and more tech-savvy than other demographics. So it’s no surprise that 44 percent of all buyers began the home research process online. More than 80 percent of respondents characterized online listing photos and detailed property descriptions as very useful.

But when the time comes to take action, the vast majority of both homebuyers and sellers contact a real estate professional to guide them through the process, a respective 88 and 89 percent. Only 8 percent of home sellers opted to market their properties themselves, the lowest share since the report’s inception in 1981.

Source: blog.pacificunion.com

Sep 27

8 Surprising Factors That Can Affect Your Home’s Value

Besides the obvious factors, there are some quirky elements that can affect your home’s value. Find out what they are.

Surprise! You might know more about real estate than you think. For example, you know that square footage, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, lot size, and location determine home value: A 4,000-square-foot, five-bed, five-bath beachfront home for sale in Miami, FL, will almost always be worth more than a 2,000-square-foot, two-bed, two-bath home on a quarter-acre lot 20 miles inland.

But those obvious factors aren’t everything you need to calculate your home’s property value estimate. Other, less obvious features can negatively or positively come into play — features you might not have considered. Here are eight frequently overlooked (and not always fixable) things that, for better or for worse, can impact the value of your home.

1. The name of your street (really!)

People typically prefer the street they live on to have a name versus a number. It’s true nationwide (with the exceptions of New York, NY, and Atlanta, GA, where there is no difference, and Denver, CO, where numbers are favored). According to a study by Trulia, “street” is the least expensive address suffix by price per square foot, and “boulevard” is the most expensive.

2. Your house number

Ever heard of house numerology? This is the practice of assigning a single-digit number to your home based on its address. Let’s say your address is 1219 Main St. Add 1 + 2 + 1 + 9 to get 13. Then add 1 + 3. Your house would be 4: good for investments and security but bad for adventure and excitement. While this type of house numerology may be passed off as a superstition, buyers who subscribe to this theory may overlook potential homes because of their numerology calculations. However, whether or not you’re into numerology, house numbers do matter. If your address is 13 (a universally unlucky number), you might choose to price your home slightly less than your neighbor at number 12 did.

3. Sketchy neighbors

The closer you live to your neighbor, the more important it will be for your tastes, habits, and personalities to jibe with theirs. “In a condo, the last thing a potential buyer wants is to purchase a unit where the neighbors above are noisy or inconsiderate,” says Thomas Miller, who specializes in Washington, DC, real estate. Owners of single-family homes can thank fastidious neighbors with good taste to increase the values of all nearby homes. But, of course, the opposite is also true: “I know a homeowner who had great difficulty selling their home because their next-door neighbors constructed a giant memorial dedicated to Michael Jackson on the front lawn,” says Miller. The next time you want to complain about your homeowners’ association, picture that image.

4. Mature trees

Tree-huggers and environmentalists unite! It’s common practice for developers to cut down most of (or all!) the trees on a property to build homes. But mature trees almost always enhance property values. Still don’t believe it? Check out the National Tree Benefit Calculator to see the full benefits of planting specific types of trees. If you have the space, make a trip to your local nursery to discuss the best tree options for your home.

5. Crown moldings

If you’ve worked hard to select just the right neutral and serene paint color scheme that will probably attract the most buyers, you’re doing yourself a disservice if you neglect one important element: crown moldings. “People love crown moldings,” says Alexander Boriskin, a New York, NY, agent. “Of course, everyone loves high ceilings too,” he says. Although you can’t do anything about how high your ceilings are, you can put in crown moldings — even with lower ceilings. Just make sure they work with the scale of the room, and don’t veer too far into the trend zone.

6. Yankees paraphernalia

Yankees fans, relax. We’re not picking on just you. Although this anecdote from New Jersey real estate agent Kevin Lawton happens to be about the New York baseball team, you could insert any team here. “Everything in the home was Yankees,” he says. “[The sellers] even had carpeting in the family room that had baseballs on it.” The verdict? Many people were turned off, especially Red Sox fans. If you don’t want to alienate a potential buyer, you might want to stash the fan gear away while your home is on the market.

7. Starbucks

And Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods. If you have any of those establishments close by, typically within a mile, up goes your property’s value. “Homes near Trader Joe’s have increased in value by an average of 40% since purchased,” says Chris Leavitt, a South Florida and New York, NY, agent and past star of the TV series Million Dollar Listing Miami. “Nearby Starbucks and Whole Foods Markets also enjoyed double-digit gains on home value.”

8. A death on the property

In some states, such as California, sellers must disclose whether there was a death on the property, which can be a deal breaker for some buyers. California agent Tracey Hampson once showed a home where a fatal drug overdose had occurred in the master bedroom. “On average, once the buyers found out there had been a death on the property, two out of five buyers that were interested suddenly said, ‘Thanks, but no thanks.’”

There’s even a name for a home someone died in: stigmatized. “It refers to a home that has been the site of a murder, suicide, or paranormal activity or haunting,” says Michigan agent Kelly Jo Choate. But even if your state doesn’t have a death disclosure requirement, certainly if someone asks, you should fess up. It’s the right thing to do.

Source: trulia.com ~ By Laura Agadoni

Aug 24

Bay Area Sees Annual Housing Inventory Tick Up In July

Although inventory shortages remain an obstacle for Bay Area home shoppers, the crunch eased somewhat this summer, while yearly price appreciation slowed.

According to the California Association of Realtors’ latest home sales and price report, the months’ supply of inventory for single-family homes in the nine-county Bay Area increased to 2.6 in July, up from 2.3 in June and 1.8 last July. Inventory rose in all nine counties from July 2015, although affordability conditions throughout the region remain a challenge for many local residents.

“Even with a shortage of homes on the market, low rates and strong demand have been the norm,” CAR President Pat “Ziggy” Zicarelli said in a statement accompanying the numbers. “Some regions, such as the Bay Area, are seeing an uptick in inventory as high prices are motivating sellers to list their properties for sale. While this could ease the inventory somewhat, supply remains tight, and low affordability is expected to be an issue in the short term.”

In spite of the inventory improvements, Bay Area sales volume dropped by 16.1 percent from the previous July. Year-over-year sales volume declined in all nine counties, ranging from 18.9 percent in Santa Clara to 9.3 percent in Napa.

Annual price growth moderated both statewide and locally. The median sales price for a single-family California home was $509,830 in July, up 3.9 percent year over year. Single-family homes in the nine-county Bay Area sold for a median price of $810,510, a gain of 4.7 percent from July 2015.

Eight of nine local counties posted single-digit, year-over-year home price gains, ranging from 9.6 percent in Marin to 0.7 percent in Napa. Only Contra Costa Countysaw double-digit annual appreciation, at 13.6 percent. San Francisco remains the state’s priciest county, with a median sales price of $1,362,500, followed by San Mateo ($1,350,000), Marin ($1,150,000), Santa Clara ($1,045,000), and Alameda ($800,000) counties.

The pace of sales in the Bay Area slowed ever so slightly from last July, with homes taking an average of 22.4 days to find a buyer. Alameda and San Mateo counties were California’s fastest-moving markets, with homes selling in an average of 18.2 and 18.4 days, respectively.

Source: blog.pacificunion.com