Tuesday, May 14, 2019

How to Improve Your House before You Sell

How to Improve Your House before You Sell

How can you maximize the value of your property when selling?

Maximizing the value of your property before you sell not only gives you the potential to sell your property more quickly but it also means more money for your next home. In this article, we look at the most cost-efficient ways to improve the value of your home prior to selling.

There are three main ways to go about adding value to your property before you sell.


As a general rule of thumb, even the most cost-efficient home improvements will only net you around 80% of the cost of having them done. This may be an option if you’re having trouble selling or are looking for a fast sale but are not recommended for sellers wanting to add value to their homes.

New bedrooms – attics, extensions and basements can be turned into additional bedrooms and generally add the most value to a property.

Conservatories – Increasing the floor print of your property and giving more focus to any outdoor space you have can make it feel more spacious and attractive to potential buyers.

Kitchens – Kitchens, much like bathrooms, can be very tricky to get right as personal preference means many buyers may be turned off by a particular style of kitchen. However, of all the rooms in a house, the kitchen generally has the greatest impact on buyers so it may be worth looking at remodeling.


In contrast to renovations, there are many minor repairs and low-cost fixes you can make that will have a significant impact on the final selling price of your property. We’ve listed the most important below.

The roof and guttering – Both of these should be clean and in good repair. Many homebuyers will judge the structural quality of the property from the state of the roof.
Interior walls – Repainting or wallpapering the interior walls automatically creates a feeling of cleanliness and newness that many buyers find attractive.
Floors (Carpet, vinyl, floorboards or tiles) – Particularly stained, dark or worn flooring can have a significant impact on the perceived value of your property. Only consider this if the flooring situation is very bad. Loose floorboards, on the other hand, should be a high priority as they suggest poor structural integrity.
Bathroom fittings (Sink, toilet and bath) – Resealing wobbly bathroom fittings makes them feel more solid.
Dripping taps and leaks – Dripping taps and leaks are a sure sign of a poorly maintained home to many buyers. They can often be repaired for pennies.
Scratches – Small surface scratches can be removed using Tibet almond stick.
Broken fixtures and fittings – Small DIY jobs, such as new light switches or door handles, can have a sizable impact on the value of your property.

Cleaning and de-cluttering

In order to make your property more attractive to buyers, you need to create an inviting atmosphere. The following will help to put a positive image in a buyer’s minds.

Eliminate smells – Where possible, keep pets out of the house when it is being viewed as they often create strong odors that new people entering your house will find very powerful. Similarly, do not smoke inside the property when it is on the market.
Use storage – Put some furniture into storage for the weeks or months that your property is on the market. This helps declutter and gives your property a more open, inviting feel.
Clean thoroughly – Homebuyers often scrutinize the smallest things very closely. Be sure to clean top to bottom as often as possible.
Exterior – Any outside areas should be clean and well tended as buyers often make a first judgment from the curb. This will also make sure your property looks good in estate agent windows.
Lighting – In general, homebuyers like bright, airy spaces. Open the curtains and keep the windows as clean as possible.
Gardens – If you have a garden, keep it well tended and if possible, make it appear as private as you can. Most people dislike being overlooked by neighbors in their own property.

In addition, a home inspection from a surveyor may cost money but could bring to light any significant issues particular to your property. In general, try to remove yourself from the emotions of your property and look at it as a commodity you are trying to sell.
By www.plentific.com

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Steam ovens, wine cellars rank among top features to sell an SF home at a premium.

Home buyers are looking for amenities that signify a certain lifestyle, and that lifestyle involves homemade pizza served with a well-paired wine, according to Zillow’s annual Home Features That Sell Survey. The survey looked at marketing terms in home sales nationwide, but “pizza oven” and “wine cellar” were particularly popular keywords among San Francisco listings.

Nationwide, homes that marketed these features sold for 23 percent and 31 percent higher than their expected values, respectively. The terms added even more value to “entry-level homes” priced in the lower third of their local markets, according to the survey. “Home purchase decisions can be emotional and a home may command a premium if it speaks to a home buyer’s aspirations,” explained Zillow’s Director of Economic Research Skylar Olsen.

Based on the survey results, it appears that many home buyers’ aspirations are centered around the kitchen. Professional appliances, outdoor kitchens and pot fillers were all in-demand features that could raise a home’s sales price, with “steam oven” the most popular keyword overall. Listings that included this term sold for 34 percent over the expected sales price nationwide, according to the survey.

“We were surprised that steam ovens topped this year’s list since it’s a relatively new feature for residential kitchens,” Olsen said. “Their popularity may be attributed to the push for healthy eating, and their use among professional chefs on cooking TV shows.”

Steam is also increasingly popular in the bathroom, with “steam shower” another highly rated keyword. The Zillow survey found that amenity could add over 30 percent to a home’s expected sales price, up significantly from the just under 20 percent premium in 2018. On the other hand, “jetted tubs/baths” seem to be on the decline. In the 2018 survey, a jacuzzi tub added only 6.3 percent to a property’s expected value; for 2019 that number dropped even further to 4.9 percent.

So if you don’t have a steam shower OR a steam oven, is it worth it to add these features to increase property values? Not so fast, said Olsen, who explained that the survey did not look into specific returns on investment per amenity. “Many factors go into how quickly a home sells and for how much,” he said. “However, our analysis found listings that mention these features do sell for more—sometimes a lot more.”

Stylewise, “Mediterranean”, “contemporary”, “exposed beams” and “mid-century” were all terms that are popular in San Francisco and added value to homes nationwide. “Victorian,” not so much, though “Art Deco” is still a desirable term. Zillow design expert Kerrie Kelly said that, overall, buyers are looking for terms that indicate a home is newer, or at least remodeled, with features that make them stand out from the rest.

“They have that something extra,” she said. “Home shoppers who can afford it are willing to pay a premium for those homes.”

By Emily Landes

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Keeping Your House Clean When You Love Dogs

Keeping Your House Clean When You Love Dogs

We love our pets! Altogether, Americans own almost 90 million dogs. Keeping your home clean can be challenging when you have one dog, but it can be absolutely infuriating if you have more than one pet. The budget-friendly tips provided here can help you stay on top of any pet hair, dander, saliva, and odors you may encounter.

Preventing the Flying Fuzz
Change your home’s air filter regularly, more often than recommended by the HVAC unit’s manufacturer. Most homes need a new filter every 90 days. If you have a pet, you need to change your filter every 60 days. If you have more than one pet, that number drops to about 30 days. Consider using filters with a MERV 13 rating. FilterBuy.com offers a large selection of MERV 13 filters that block almost 100 percent of pet dander and many other common household pollutants, including smoke, dust, and mold. You’ll feel better and so will Spot. 

Brush your dog weekly or even daily. Most dogs enjoy this routine, but if your dog balks about it, ease her into it by using a gentle brush and start with a less sensitive area. With a small time commitment, you can cut down significantly on hair flying around.

Keeping Up with the Laundry

Designate some towels as dog-only towels for wiping up saliva and muddy paws, and wash those separately from the family towels. Those towels can get smelly, so use a good detergent and add some extra boost with a DIY oxygen cleaner.

Wash bedding often — yours and your dog’s. You may believe that your dog doesn’t sleep on the bed when you’re gone, but do you know for sure? If you have large dog beds, you may need to visit a laundromat to get them clean. Consider getting covers for those large beds to make them easier to clean. You can also use your bathtub to wash a large dog bed.

Laundering curtains can be difficult and time-consuming; you have to take them down and hang them back up, and that’s a pain. This is a place people often forget about when it comes to keeping the home clean, but if Fido’s favorite spot is by the front window, you have a hair problem on the curtains. You can try using a lint roller or rubber gloves to remove the hair. If you have lots of curtains, you might consider replacing the curtains with something easier to clean, possibly short curtains, a valance, or blinds.

Flooring Issues

Vacuum regularly as well. If you have a long-haired dog, you may need to commit to vacuuming more often, but a weekly routine is probably sufficient for most dog owners. If you have kids, encourage them to help with this task. Be sure to clean your vacuum’s filter often as well. If it’s time to replace flooring, consider putting down hardwood or laminate instead of carpet. Sweeping up dog hair can be easier than vacuuming carpet; this also helps with allergies.

Dealing with Accidents in the House

You know your dog will have accidents in the house. Be prepared with a spray bottle of pet odor treatment, one from your local pet store or a DIY treatment. Blot the spot with paper towels, and spritz with your spray cleaner. Let sit for around 15 to 30 minutes, and blot again. A second treatment may be necessary to completely remove the evidence.

Setting up a cleaning routine may be the only way to keep a clean space when you have pets running around. Post a calendar on the fridge to keep track of all the areas that need regular upkeep. Staying on top of the cleaning means you don’t have to do a deep cleaning as often. What’s more, your home will be fur-free and clean-smelling.

By Medina James.
Photo by Pixabay

Friday, March 8, 2019

The patience to listen,
The willingness to understand,
The power to care,
A heart that can share,
That is what makes us the most beautiful creature of this universe... 

Happy Women's International Day!
#happywomensday #womensday #march8th

Monday, March 4, 2019

What will happen to SF home prices if Slack, Airbnb, Uber and Lyft go public?

After the 2008 Mortgage Meltdown, the real estate market heated up like crazy in 2012 with Facebook's IPO and the market has been going up since. With Lyft, Uber, Slack and other tech giants possibility IPOing this year, lower interest rates, the market started to feel like it's heating up in the last few weeks.
There is still limited inventory in desirable areas. I'm seeing multiple offers and over asking prices. What do you think?                                    Janice Lee

If tech firms including Uber, Lyft, Airbnb and Slack go public this year, what will the effect be on Bay Area real estate?

We can look to the Facebook Effect for insight.

The Facebook Effect

Facebook's public offering had such a profound impact on the Bay Area that real estate insiders named it. The "Facebook Effect," felt full force in the spring of 2012 leading up to the company going public in May, continued to reverberate for the rest of that year -- and perhaps still does.

Facebook went public on May 18, 2012. On May 17, Julian Herbon of Basis Point wrote of multiple buyers hovering around limited properties, out-bidding one another with a frenzy unseen even in a market well accustomed to frenzy.

"It's what some are calling The Facebook Effect on San Francisco real estate," Herbon explained. One of the "main themes that set fire to this trend starting in late-2011 was a "rush to buy before IPOs set ever higher bars for tech firm valuations."

Tech valuations

In Hebron's example, tech valuation refers to the idea that the perceived value a company has increases when it goes public; and then, those individuals who hold stock in the company are suddenly owners of some (sizable) portion of that increased value.

Hebron cites LinkedIn's and Zynga's IPOs as evidence, and then points out that Facebook dwarfed them all, especially after the latter acquired Instagram (which was still another high-value tech company), bringing numbers to the billions instead of just millions.

In 2012, valuations of then still-private Bay Area based companies were eye-popping:

– Twitter: $8b+

– Dropbox: $4b

– Square: $1-2b

– Path: $1b

– Airbnb: $1b

-Pinterest: $1.5b
-Quora: $1b

"You can argue against these absurdly high valuations all you want but thousands of liquid millionaires are being created before and after these firms go public—and the impact on our property market is real," wrote Hebron.

Effect on prices 

There is no denying the effect is real. In studying census data, Zillow determined that starting around Facebook's 2012 public offering "home values in the census tracts where likely Facebook employees lived rose faster than in those not home to Facebook employees."

Using designated areas closest to Facebook Headquarters in Menlo Park, Zillow found that between 2012 and 2013, home values around likely Facebook employees climbed 21 percent, compared to 17 percent in all other Bay Area census tracts.

"This faster growth translated into an extra $29,800 in appreciation for the typical home in these Facebook-employee-heavy areas compared to homes in the rest of the Bay Area," said the report.
What's the next IPO to make an impact?

Rumored to be racing ahead of Uber, Lyft has filed filed a statement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for an initial public offering. If all goes as planned, Lyft could be the first major tech IPO of 2019.

According to NBC News, Lyft's currently enjoying a $15.1 billion valuation.

Uber, meanwhile, also plans to go public this year. In 2018, Investopedia wrote "Ride-hailing company Uber Technologies Inc could be valued at $120 billion, when it finally goes public next year."

Meanwhile, both AirBnb and Slack are in the mix to go public, but perhaps without banks, in the manner that Spotify went public in 2018.

Patrick Carlisle, data analyst with Compass Realty, told SFGate that "If the big IPOs actually occur, and the market reacts enthusiastically, one can only assume it will put upward pressure on prices in those areas where the unicorn employees live in greatest numbers."

But then again, maybe not.

What would happen to Bay Area real estate if all four go public in 2019? If the Facebook Effect is precedent, we could be in for a dramatic year.

By Anna Marie Erwert