6 Tips for Keeping Your Home Tidy During Showings

Keeping your home looking like a furniture showroom for long stretches isn’t easy. Here are a few tips to keep your house ready for showings while you’re still living in it.

Attack the Clutter

As you prepare your home for showing, start with a major de-cluttering. Throw out, recycle or give away things you don’t use. Getting rid of junk will make your home more appealing to prospective buyers and free up space for you to neatly store things when it’s time to tidy up for a showing.

Rent Storage Space

Keeping things neat is easier when you have fewer things. An off-site storage unit can help (and you can keep it as messy as you like).

Start Packing

Packing most of your dishes and large baking and cooking items frees up cabinet space that you can use to stash items you use on a regular basis. It also gives you a head start on packing for your move.

Rope off a Room or Two

If you can, temporarily rope off rooms or areas from the kids, pets or spouses to contain your mess in a smaller space while your house is listed. But remember to make those rooms look nice, too, before the showing!

Buy Hiding Spots

The home sections of discount stores are filled with attractive fabric boxes and fashionable bins that can simultaneously hide junk and match your decor.

Stash it under the Bed

Invest in a couple of under-the-bed bins that you can use to store everything from socks to kids’ toys in when faced with a last-minute showing.

When showing your home, it pays to work with a professional. Call my office and get started today!

Roberta L. Voss, JD, e-Pro, CNE, SFR, CDPE

The Voss Team

RE/MAX Professionals

602-697-0730

robertavoss@remax.net

Thevossteam.com
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Prepare Your Home for an Open House

Ready to sell your home and feeling a little stressed out about the open house? Don’t be! Open houses are a great way to showcase your home with potential buyers coming through your door. Make sure to do these outdoor items before your open house so that interested buyers will want to make an offer on your home:

Keep It Mowed

Having a lush and well-kept lawn is one of the simplest landscaping elements that can increase the resale value of a property. Initial impressions are important in selling a home and one of the first things that potential buyers will notice is the front lawn. Make sure to mow your lawn the day before an open house in order to keep an overall fresh look. Allowing your lawn to grow too long may deter some buyers or even subconsciously cause them to discount their potential offer. If you can’t make time to mow the lawn before the open house, consider hiring a lawn care service to do it for you.

Clear It Away

Whether it is leaves, weeds, or trash that blew into your yard, make sure that your lawn is in top condition at the start of an open house. Rake leaves and clear away debris that has gone unnoticed for far too long. Pick up sticks that may have fallen from a recent storm and make sure to kill and remove all weeds in the lawn and garden beds in order to leave a good impression. Do a thorough overview of your lawn before an open house to make sure that things have been picked up and put away.

Add Some Color

Invite potential buyers into your home by adding pops of color near the front door. A simple pot with bright flowers will leave a positive impression on those entering your home. You may also consider adding a few planters near walkways to subtly welcome potential buyers.

Light It Up

Most open houses are planned in the afternoon where lighting most likely won’t be needed, but that doesn’t mean that you should ignore your outdoor lighting. Update your outdoor patio lights that will look sharp even without the lights on. Or consider adding walkway lighting that adds a safety feature to the home. Solar pathway lights are easy to install and are also energy efficient.

Fix the Small Things

Could your mailbox use a coat of paint? Is there a ripped window screen that needs to be replaced? Be sure to do these things prior to an open house. Other areas that are easily overlooked include a rust spot on the front door or a lightbulb that is burnt out on the patio lighting. These small projects are easy to forget when trying to sell a home but may become detractors for potential buyers. Make sure that everything is in tip-top condition so that potential buyers will see only the good parts of your home.

Roberta L. Voss, JD, e-Pro, CNE, SFR, CDPE

The Voss Team

RE/MAX Professionals

602-697-0730

robertavoss@remax.net

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Why You Should Hire a Professional

When everything in today’s world is just a short Google search away, you may find yourself wondering why you should hire a real estate professional to help you buy or sell a home.

Now more than ever, you need an expert on your side who is going to guide you through the complicated processes and not let anything get in the way of achieving them. Buying or selling a home is definitely not a DIY project you want to mess up. Here are a few ways a professional can help you navigate buying or selling a home:

There’s more to real estate than just finding the home

It has been noted that there are over 230 possible steps that need to take place during every successful real estate transaction. Don’t you want someone who has been there before, someone who knows what these actions are, to ensure you achieve your dream?

You Need a Skilled Negotiator

Today’s market is cut throat and hiring a talented negotiator could save you thousands, perhaps tens of thousands of dollars. Each step of the way – from the original offer, to the possible renegotiation of that offer after a home inspection, to the possible cancellation of the deal based on a troubled appraisal – you need someone who can keep the deal together until it closes.

Know what the home you are buying or selling is actually worth 

How are you to know exactly what is going on in your local housing market with it comes to the flood of information on the news and on the Internet about home sales, prices, and mortgage rates? How do you know what is accurate? Who do you turn to in order to competitively and correctly price your home at the beginning of the selling process? How do you know what to offer on your dream home without paying too much, or offending the seller with a lowball offer?

Hiring an agent who has his or her finger on the pulse of the market will make your buying or selling experience an educated one. You need someone who is going to tell you the truth, not just what they think you want to hear.

Bottom Line

Today’s real estate market is highly competitive. Having a professional who’s been there before to guide you through the process is a simple step that will give you a huge advantage and I’m here to help. Call my office to explore your options today!

Roberta L. Voss, JD, e-Pro, CNE, SFR, CDPE

The Voss Team

RE/MAX Professionals

602-697-0730

robertavoss@remax.net

Thevossteam.com
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4 Reasons to Sell Your Home this Summer

Instead of wondering whether or not you should sell your home this fall, consider selling this summer. Here are 4 reasons to sell your home this summer:

1: Buyer Demand Will Remain Strong

Buyers are out in force looking for their dream homes! Buyers are often competing with one another for the listings that are available! According to NAR, the median days on the market for a listing was only 24 days last month!

2: There is Less Competition Now

Housing inventory is still under the 6-month supply that is needed for a normal housing market. This means that, in the majority of the country, there are not enough homes for sale to satisfy the number of buyers in the market.

3: There Will Never Be a Better Time to Move Up

Prices are projected to appreciate by 4.8% over the next year according to CoreLogic. If you are moving to a higher-priced home, it will wind up costing you more in both down payment & mortgage payment, if you wait.

4: It’s Time to Move on with Your Life

Look at the reason you decided to sell in the first place and determine whether it is worth waiting. Perhaps the time has come for you and your family to move on and start living the life you desire.

If you’re considering selling your home this summer give my office a call to help you navigate your options.

Roberta L. Voss, JD, e-Pro, CNE, SFR, CDPE

The Voss Team

RE/MAX Professionals

602-697-0730

robertavoss@remax.net

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Three Things You Should Know About the Market

A lot is happening in the world, and it’s having a direct impact on the housing market. The reality is this: some of it is positive and some of it may be negative. Some we just don’t know yet.

The following three areas of the housing market are critical to understand: interest rates, building materials, and the outlook for an economic slowdown.

1. Interest Rates

One of the most important things to consider when buying a home is the interest rate you will be charged to borrow the money. Recently, we have questioned, “Are Low-Interest Rates Here To Stay?” The latest information from Freddie Mac makes it appear they are. We are currently at a 21-month low in interest rates.

2. Building Materials

Talk of tariffs could also affect the housing market. According to a recent article, the National Association of Home Builders reports that as much as $10 billion in goods imported from China are used in home building. Depending on the outcome of the tariff and trade discussions between several countries, there could be as much as a 25% boost in the cost of building materials.

3. Economic Slowdown

Previously, it was stated that we could expect a recession in late 2019 or early 2020. As spring approached, however, it’s been reported that economists had started to push that projection past 2020.  Now, three leading surveys indicate that it may begin in the next eighteen months.

Bottom Line

We are in a strong housing market. Wages are increasing, home prices are appreciating, and mortgage rates are the lowest they have been in 21 months.  Whether you are thinking of buying or selling, it’s a great time to be in the market. Give me a call today and I will help you navigate your options!

Roberta L. Voss, JD, e-Pro, CNE, SFR, CDPE

The Voss Team

RE/MAX Professionals

602-697-0730

robertavoss@remax.net

RE/MAX National Housing Report for May 2019

Home Sales Accelerate While Inventory Hits 34-Month High

May home sales ticked slightly higher year-over-year, ending a 9-month streak of declines, according to the RE/MAX National Housing Report. At the same time, inventory grew for the eighth consecutive month, representing the most units for sale since August 2016 in the report’s 54 metro areas.

Homes sold quickly, as evident in the Days on Market average of 47 – the second-fastest May average in the 10-year history of the report. And home sales increased 15.3% from April to May – the second-highest April-May jump in report history.

Home sales were up 0.4% over May 2018 – the first year-over-year gain since July 2018. The number of homes for sale increased by 4.9% year-over-year to set a report record for the highest May growth. However, based on the pace of home sales, May’s 2.6 Months of Inventory was down compared to April’s 2.8 months and the 2.9 months of May 2018.

The Median Sales Price of $259,500 was up 3.4% year-over-year, representing the lowest May increase since 2011.

“The spring selling season was in full bloom during the month of May, offering both buyers and sellers something to like,” said RE/MAX CEO Adam Contos. “Buyers are generally finding increased selection along with moderating price increases.  At the same time, in general, sellers are selling their homes quickly while still enjoying some price gains. Bottom line, the market is operating efficiently right now, and homes are selling, on average, at a good clip.”

Closed Transactions

Of the 54 metro areas surveyed in May 2019, the overall average number of home sales is up 15.3% compared to April 2019, and up 0.4% compared to May 2018. Leading the month-over-month sales increase were Billings, MT at +64.2%, Burlington, VT at +61.6%, and Minneapolis, MN at +35.8%.

Median Sales Price – Median of 54 metro median prices

In May 2019, the median of all 54 metro Median Sales Prices was $259,500, up 3.3% from April 2019, and up 3.4% from May 2018. Three metro areas saw a year-over-year decrease in Median Sales Price: San Francisco, CA at -5.1%, Honolulu, HI at -3.2%, and Billings, MT at  -1.6%. Three metro areas increased year-over-year by double-digit percentages: Milwaukee, WI at +14.2%, Boise, ID at +13.6%, and Albuquerque, NM at +10.2%.

Days on Market – Average of 54 metro areas

The average Days on Market for homes sold in May 2019 was 47, down five days from the average in April 2019, and up two days from the May 2018 average. The metro areas with the lowest Days on Market were Omaha, NE at 25, and San Francisco, CA and Denver, CO, both at 26. The highest Days on Market averages were in Augusta, ME at 106, Miami, FL at 87, and Hartford, CT at 84. Days on Market is the number of days between when a home is first listed in an MLS and a sales contract is signed.

Months Supply of Inventory – Average of 54 metro areas

The number of homes for sale in May 2019 was up 4.5% from April 2019 and up 4.9% from May 2018. Based on the rate of home sales in May 2019, the Months Supply of Inventory decreased to 2.6 from 2.8 in April 2019 and decreased compared to 2.9 in May 2018. A six months supply indicates a market balanced equally between buyers and sellers. In May 2019, of the 54 metro areas surveyed, only Miami, FL at 6.2 reported a months supply at or over six. The markets with the lowest Months Supply of Inventory were Boise, ID at 1.2, Omaha, NE at 1.3, and Manchester, NH and San Francisco, CA, both at 1.4.

 

Contact me or my team for more information on the market status and we will be glad to help you!

 

Roberta L. Voss, JD, e-Pro, CNE, SFR, CDPE

The Voss Team

RE/MAX Professionals

602-697-0730

robertavoss@remax.net

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Surprise Dad with 5 DIY Home Improvement Projects

For Father’s Day this year, get your dad something he’ll really appreciate – help him tackle his home improvement to-do list. Here are a few suggestions:

Trim the Yard

Don’t stop at simply mowing the grass and weeding the beds. Try adding some class with edging. Plastic, rubber, and stone edging pieces are easy to install and a simple way to clean up the yard.

Wash the house

Rent a power washer from your local home improvement store and with just a few hours of work, you can return Dad’s home and driveway to its former glory. Be careful around windows, doors, and screens because the high-pressure flow could cause damage Dad won’t be thrilled about.

Service the AC

Take a look at his air conditioning system. You can clean or swap out the filter on your own. Leaving it too long can clog the system and cause the air conditioning to malfunction. Take a look at the pan under the unit. If there’s water in it, there might be a clog in the drain line that you can flush yourself. If the unit needs more help, schedule a pro for regular service and pick up the tab for Dad.

Finish the Deck

Give the man who has it all a nice space to unwind by cleaning, sanding and staining the deck. A good power wash will brighten the wood by blasting off a layer of grunge and a coat of stain will help seal out the elements and keep the wood intact.

Build a Fire Pit

Get creative with gravel, stone, and bricks and don’t forget to buy chocolate, marshmallows and graham crackers for the inaugural s’mores.

Roberta L. Voss, JD, e-Pro, CNE, SFR, CDPE

The Voss Team

RE/MAX Professionals

602-697-0730

robertavoss@remax.net

Thevossteam.com
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4 Things to Do Before Hiring an Agent

If you’re looking to buy the right home, it often starts with hiring the right real estate agent. How do you determine which agent is the one for you?

Narrow down your real estate agent options with these four steps.

Read About Them

Want to know what it’s really like to work with a specific agent? Get a feel for the experience by reading what past clients have to say about them.

“An agent can tell someone all day long that they’ll work hard for them. But positive reviews from past clients really say it,” says Jeff Bowers, Broker/Owner at RE/MAX Pro Realty in Charleston, South Carolina.

Make Sure They Know Their Stuff

Homebuying and selling is a competitive space. Understanding the ins-and-outs of what you will face as a buyer or seller is critical, so it’s not a bad idea to have an experienced agent in your court.

“An agent who doesn’t sell many homes a year, or is a part-time agent, is not sharpening their skills and staying on top of the market,” says George Pilant, Managing Broker at RE/MAX Northwest in Tacoma, Washington. “Skill and success require a mastery of fundamental real estate tasks. Mastery comes through practice and repetition, and a productive agent is continually practicing their craft.”

Test Their Local Knowledge

In order to help you buy or sell a home quickly and efficiently, a good understanding of the location you are interested in is key.

“An experienced agent that understands local area/neighborhood dynamics is important. The economy, unemployment, job growth, upticks and downsizes in businesses, traffic, construction, and climate all influence real estate market supply and demand, pricing, days on market, concessions, etc. And all feed into the home-buy or home-sale equation,” says Jen Horner, an agent with RE/MAX Masters in Salt Lake City, Utah. “As every real estate market has its intricacies, the experience is a must to navigate these dynamics.”

Ask the Right Questions

When interviewing a potential agent, make sure to ask them questions about what to expect from them during the buying/selling process. How often will they communicate with you, how do you get in contact with them? Having a knowledgeable, productive agent is important, but so is having a personable, easy-to-work-with agent.

“A home purchase is a serious investment – most likely a consumer’s largest investment. Therefore, the importance of choosing the right agent is paramount,” says Horner. “Experience is important, but the ability to mesh and have good communication and rapport is critical as well. Do you get the feeling during your interview that the real estate agent is trustworthy and honest? You need to find a Realtor that’s going to work hard for your best interest!”

Bottom line, call our team and put us to the test.

Roberta L. Voss, JD, e-Pro, CNE, SFR, CDPE

The Voss Team

RE/MAX Professionals

602-697-0730

robertavoss@remax.net

10 Things to Do Before You Sell Your Home

Before you put your home on the market, it is important to ask a professional for guidance on improving your home’s presentation. As your agent, I can tell you what buyers expect in your particular market and at your home’s price point. Check out these 10 steps to get a head start on preparing to sell your home.

Welcome Buyers

Make your front door visible and accessible to buyers. Paint the door, clear debris and clutter from the walkway and yard, mow the lawn and prune hedges. Pot or plant colorful annuals and perennials to attract attention from the street. Fix broken screens, doorbells, roof tiles, shingles, and outdoor lighting, and replace your doormat. Exterior defects can make a poor first impression on buyers.

Make it Sparkle

Cleanliness implies that your home has been well taken care of. Deep cleaning can win points with potential buyers. Buyers judge homes; Especially their kitchens and bathrooms. Try re-caulking and repainting to give these grime-prone rooms a fresh and clean look. Clean rugs and carpets to eliminate unsightly stains or dinginess and eliminate odors. Tidy each room, including cabinets, closets and the garage, before showing. If it seems daunting to do all that cleaning yourself, consider hiring a professional cleaning company to take care of all of it for you.

Start Packing

Cramped and cluttered rooms turn buyers off and make your house look smaller. A home packed with your personal belongings also makes it difficult for others to envision living there. Start by storing away excess furniture, toys and personal decorations, such as family photos. Pack up things you don’t use on a daily basis, and put them in storage or ask a friend to hold onto them. Decluttering your house also gives you a head start on your move.

Paint Wisely

A well-done, no-frills paint job is all you need. Put a fresh coat of paint on white or beige walls, and repaint walls that have eccentric or unconventional colors. Nature-and spa-inspired neutral colors, such as taupe and subtle gray, are the best choices. Do not forget the trim and molding either. Also, a fresh paint job on outdated or worn cabinetry goes a long way, too.

Fix the Small Stuff

Repair or replace broken or outdated hardware throughout your home. You can install new door handles, faucets, towel bars, and curtain rods – fixtures that are readily visible to home-buyers – rather inexpensively. New hardware in the bathroom, kitchen and on windows and doors also improves the functionality and safety of these components.

Update Lighting

Replace decorative light fixtures that no longer fit your home’s cleaner, fresher look. Install new bulbs with the appropriate lighting for specific areas of your home. For example, ambient, low-key lighting fills a room, whereas directional or task lighting works better in areas like a reading nook. Use accent lighting to highlight focal points in a room, such as the artwork above a mantle, to draw buyers’ attention to certain selling points.

Frame Windows

Ensure you have the right window treatments, which enhance natural brightness and boost the appearance of a home. Window treatments also can impact a room’s temperature because they reduce or increase the amount of light entering the space. Adjust window treatments appropriately when showing your home in the mornings, afternoon and evenings.

Set the Table

Fresh, decorative flowers in the kitchen or on the dining room table are always a nice touch. Also, keep place settings handy for your tables so you can quickly set them out right before showings or an open house. Pull out all the formal stops for a dining room, and keep the table casual in the kitchen.

Hide Every Day Items

It’s best not to leave children’s toys and pet belongings out in the open during showings and open houses. Move litter boxes, pet dishes, toys, animal crates and kids’ entertainment to less conspicuous areas of the home, such as an outdoor storage unit or garage before each showing or open house. Also, think about where you can store things like dirty laundry and dirty kitchen sponges.

Don’t Forget the Back

Keep your backyard looking spacious and functional. Plant or pot colorful flowers and keep the landscaping trimmed and neat. Consistently pick up after your pets so buyers feel comfortable touring the yard.

Contact me today to get you started and we can help you every step of the way.

 

Roberta L. Voss, JD, e-Pro, CNE, SFR, CDPE

The Voss Team

RE/MAX Professionals

602-697-0730

robertavoss@remax.net

Thevossteam.com
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Should You Fix Up Your Home Before Selling?

 

Whether you’re up-sizing or downsizing, accepting a new job offer in another city, or fleeing to (or from) the suburbs, deciding what you need to do to get your house market-ready can be confusing. Should you go into renovation mode? Or should you sell as is?

Items that impact the home’s operation need to be fixed before you list. Is there a leaky roof, a broken furnace, plumbing or electrical system issues? These are all things sellers are legally obliged to disclose. If not, a home inspector will identify them to a potential buyer, possibly leading to an offer being withdrawn.

However, not all things need to be fixed up. Here are some things to consider when selling your house.

No Renovation ROI

Most home renovations don’t pay off instantly or at all. Complete bathroom and kitchen renovations add the most value but also cause the most disruption and can be very expensive. If these rooms haven’t already been renovated it could be a bad idea to start now, just before selling. Focus on making sure the existing selling features of the home are in great shape.

Stress of Living in a Renovation Zone

If you are fortunate enough to own a larger home with multiple bathrooms and a spare room or two, renovating may not be quite as challenging as it is for those in smaller spaces. However, if you’re not doing the work yourself (and sometimes even then), you’re at the mercy of your suppliers’ timelines of when they come and go from the home. That means you have to live there while renovating even though you’re not going to be the one to benefit. Before you sink $20,000 into a last-minute kitchen transformation, consider smaller renovations. You could just paint or replace cupboard door fronts or add some new hardware to update the look.

Buyers Like the Space or Don’t

If a potential buyer can’t imagine living in a particular space, they’re not going to make an offer, unless they plan to flip or gut and rebuild, regardless of recent updates or renovations. You can’t anticipate how someone else will want to use the space. A study may become a hobby room or a nursery. A small bedroom may become a big, luxurious bathroom. Concentrate on creating a space that suggests multiple possibilities rather than trying to anticipate the needs of someone else.

Move On

Don’t let past house wishes influence your renovation decisions when you’ve decided to move on. It is no problem that you never got around to expanding the master bedroom closet. Your next home may have the big walk-in closet you desire. Don’t just move — move on.

Start on the Outside

Curb appeal starts on the outside, not the inside. Focus your renovation motivation there first. All the energy you spend on interior renovations will be pointless if you neglect your home’s exterior. Get rid of all the bikes your kids have outgrown, re-seed those patches of lawn where the grass is yellow, paint the door and create an approach to your home that’s welcoming. If you’re going to invest in something other than landscaping for the exterior, make it something like new patio furniture that you can take to your new home.

Clean Outweighs New

Nothing will make an offer disappear faster than the sight of a dirty house and hard usage. Grubby walls, scratched floors, torn carpet, cracked tiles, appliances with fingerprints and ratty towels are small things that unpleasantly remind prospective buyers that other people are using a home. You want your buyers to see themselves living in the home. If you really can’t bear to paint over the door frame where you marked your children’s heights over the years, replace it and take the old one with you. Selling your major life investment is about being pragmatic, not sentimental.

Appeal to the General Buyer

While it may be your dream to own a home with a hot tub or a pool, it’s not necessarily your buyer’s dream. The same goes for a home theater, game room or built-in bar. Those renovations may have no appeal whatsoever for an outdoorsy family that spends every weekend off-roading, running marathons or hiking in the mountains. Don’t be the house that’s too much for the neighborhood, or you’ll end up being the house that’s priced way too high. You could end up taking a huge loss as a result.

Bottom Line

Keep your renovations logical and do not dwell on the sentimental. It’s time to move on to your next chapter and sell your investment. Clean up the home and make sure it’s functional updating only what you think will appeal to the general buyer.

Roberta L. Voss, JD, e-Pro, CNE, SFR, CDPE
The Voss Team
RE/MAX Professionals
602-697-0730
robertavoss@remax.net
Thevossteam.com
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