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Friday, January 25, 2013

Selling your home? Why is tile and hardwood all the rage?

1. Think like a buyer, to understand why carpet is falling out of fashion. Today's buyers are seeking low-maintenance, high-performance home finishes that allow maximum versatility and healthfulness for their families. And wall-to-wall carpet triggers many of those concerns:
  • Maintenance: By and large, buyers see carpet as something that requires regular, professional cleaning -- or labor-intensive self-cleaning -- at a couple hundred bucks a pop.
  • Performance: There are certainly high-end carpets that wear well over time, but many of the carpets that are installed by sellers just prior to putting a home on the market do not qualify. These light-colored, inexpensive carpets often look old and worn relatively early in their lives, and buyers know this.
  • Versatility: A buyer of a home with carpeting everywhere is somewhat limited in their decor and design choices by the preferences of the seller before them. By contrast, hard flooring finishes allow the buyer a near-infinite range of decor palette choices.
  • Healthfulness: Buyers see traditional carpeting as something that off-gases toxic fumes and traps dirt and allergens that may exacerbate family members' allergies or other respiratory issues. Many see hardwood and other hard flooring finishes as more healthful and sustainable for their families -- and for the planet. To boot, buyers who have pets and children know that these little wild family members can be very hard on carpet.

What is with all the hating on carpeting? | Inman News

Digital Media Usage Among Home Shoppers

NAR Research: NAR and Google Study of Digital Media Usage Among Home Shoppers |

Report Highlights

- 90 percent of home buyers searched online during their home buying process
- Real estate related searches on grew 253 percent over the past four years.
- Buyers use specific online tools during different phases of the home search process
- How important "local" search terms and websites are for buyers
- How mobile technology cements online to offline home buying — including the reading of online reviews
- How video and YouTube satisfy buyers' research needs
- The role of age and gender in driving real estate decision making in the market by being the top demographics who searched online and took the next steps offline
- Top states for searches around first-time home buyer tips and specific housing segments like senior housing and foreclosures

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Home values continue to climb (Very nicely in the Mountain Region!)!)

The Federal Housing Finance Agency's (FHFA's) Purchase-Only Home Price Index rose 0.6 percent between October and November, 2012, and has climbed 5.6% in a year.

Prices appear to have bottomed in October 2011, and have since returned to June 2010 levels.

The 5.60% average of increase in home values nationally is made up of regional averages.  The Mountain region leads the increases in home values.  Here is a sampling of the annual Home Price Index data from the FHFA's 9 U.S. regions (Oct-Nov 2012) :
  • Pacific : +11.1% (Hawaii, Alaska, Washington, Oregon, California)
  • Mountain : +14.8% (Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Arizona)
  • Middle Atlantic : +0.5% (New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania)
  • East North Central : +2.3% (Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio)
  • South Atlantic : 7.0% (Delaware, Maryland, District of Columbia, Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida)

Nationwide, home values remain roughly 15% below the April 2007 peak.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

6 Unexpected Advantages of Having the Right Agent

By Tara-Nicholle Nelson | Broker in San Francisco, CA

I once worked with a buyer who had to fly to the other end of the world within a couple of days after we placed her offer. Needless to say, she was agitated and anxious about the prospect of being so far away during inspections and contingency removals, especially since I’d earlier stressed how important it was for her to be present.

Rolling with the punches and poor timing, we sat down just before she left and talked through the timeline, including which events would take place on every day of her absence - including some harmless glitches that commonly arise along the way.

I never will forget her laughter when the occasional glitch of this sort did, in fact, come up. She would say: “I would have been stressed out by that. But since I knew to expect it, I’m not!”

The list of pleasant surprises in real estate matters is really, really short. Normally, we all want things to tick along precisely according to plan, and almost anything unexpected causes us inconvenience or plain old stress. But there is one relatively common set of real estate surprises that is actually quite delightful: the unexpected perks of working with the right real estate pro.

Most sellers come to their real estate agent relationships expecting help selling their home on a particular time frame, and marketing the place to make that happen.  Buyers are most often seeking an agent’s help finding the right home and negotiating to buy it.

But both buyers and sellers are often pleasantly surprised at the other resources, strategic counsel and expertise their agents ultimately provide.  Here are some of the biggest benefits that catch them off-guard:

Read on for the 6 Unexpected Advantages of Having the Right Agent