SELLING YOUR HOME DURING THE HOLIDAYS

  • With the holidays are approaching, most sellers are wondering if listing their home is worth it, or if it will just sit on the market, vacant, for months. Most sellers are thinking about the market back in the day when homes would sit on the market for months with no activity, but that is not necessarily how the Real Estate market in Las Vegas works. Before, potential home buyers were too busy with attending/hosting parties, cooking meals, buying presents or planning out future vacations with their families. With all of that going on during the holiday season, there was just no time for to look for a future home in Las Vegas. The past few years, that has been the complete opposite, with the internet, smart phones, Ipads, and all of the electronics we have access too,  that has made the home buying market year round. Today’s home buyers never stop looking online for home, they could be on their way to work, or watching TV with their family, and they will have some sort of electronic searching for homes. Even if they are not checking in their daily life, they will be checking a night before bed when it is quiet and they can focus. A hectic work life also takes a big role on future home buyers. Most serious home buyers are hard working, and put in a lot of time working; which makes it a little more difficult for them to spend an entire day looking for homes in the Las Vegas area. Despite the always-on real estate lifestyle, many sellers are convinced buyers cannot be bothered during the holiday seasons. Making not only the real estate market shortened, it also makes the competition lighter as well. If your home has been on the market for a few months, and you are getting little to no activity on it, maybe try lowering the price on it, most buyers will pass up your home if they think it is overpriced, no matter how beautiful you think your home is. Even if you need to list it a couple thousand dollars under market value to get it sold faster, that will really benefit both you as the seller and your buyer. Make sure you are aware that home typically does not sell in 24 hours during the holidays, if you are patient with your listing, your home will sell. If you as the seller of the home, do not want to constantly be badgered about your listing during the holidays, do not list your home. You will probably show your home to 15 people and only 1 of those people will be a serious buyer, and even they might not “love” your home. TRY LISTING YOUR HOME THROUGH AN AGENT, agents in the Las Vegas area have more resources than just a self list seller. It will also protect you and your home, when you list you home by yourself, you are trusting random people (who sometimes are not with a real estate agent) into your home.  Listing your home during the holidays is not like it used to be. List now and sell your home before the New Year.

THINGS YOUR SELLER SHOULD KNOW

When you are representing a seller in a transaction there are certain things that come up that are not only very awkward to talk about, but also are things that you wish your seller knew before they even decided to sell the home. More than likely their current furniture is not what we would call “show ready.” While it is probably how they like to decorate it could really turn off the buyers if that is not their particular, and can actually make the buyer not want the home. Cluttering furniture in the home is a real big turn off, it makes people feel cramped. You do not have to have to pay to have your home staged, but if you do not go by the less is more concepts your seller will really pay for the cost in the closing. Be aware if your seller is trying to hide things from you. If they are avoiding certain questions or inspections there is probably a reason behind it. Check and make sure the faucets aren’t leaky, and make sure there is no water damage on the home. Doing these things will really make a different in your sellers home value. When buyers and other agents find little things like that, they typically want to go after the seller to have them fixed; they also usually want to do a more in depth inspection on the home, so disclosing even the small things to them will really make a different in the transaction between the buyer and seller. Before you start the selling process with your client, disclose to them that not every upgrade with make their home value sky rocket. Doing things like upgraded the entire kitchen, or re-doing the back yard can make more people look at the home but there is no guarantee that it will make the value of the home go up; things that will make it go up are painting the walls, and replacing carpets (if damaged and stained). Get your sellers prepared to spend a few bucks on their home. There will be little repairs that come up, and upgrades you will want to do to your home to make it show ready, but if they are prepared they can do these things, take their time, and list it when they are all complete; instead of listing it and then doing the repairs while buyers and other agents are showing the home. If your seller is planning to sell the home while their furniture/they still live in it at least make sure the owner has the home professionally cleaned to make it feel more “move in” ready. The buyer is more than likely going to buy a home that is move in ready, so showing them a home that is messy with a whole bunch of repairs needed will really turn them off on your home. Having open and honest communication with your seller will be the only things that will make your sell go smoothly for both parties.

BUILDING A USER FRIENDLY REAL ESTATE WEBSITE

Have you ever thought about the fact that your website might be the reason some people are turned away quickly. There are a few things that really just irk future tenants, buyers, and sellers. The majority of consumers start their house search online. But could your website’s housing search functionality be turning off potential buyers? One thing that instantly turns clients away is having to many search bars, and tabs and things to click on to find a home. Making it completely simple could really change the cliental on your website. Having your website minimal will also help your clients. When your website has every ounce of information on it, and it a lot of photos and listings, it overwhelms the buyer. Most of the time, simple is more with Real Estate Websites. Do not get me wrong, having the important information is necessary like size, beds and baths, but having information like the room sizes, and what color the walls are painting can really overwhelm them. Asking your clients for too much too soon can also scare them away. Having them instantly sign up for updates, or accepting the location terms can scare them away, but having a section where they can search for rentals and listings all over the valley without hassle. Clients who are searching for homes and realtors on the internet typically do not want to do a question and answer because half of the time they are just checking on the market what is going on in their neighborhoods. According to realtor.com 43% of adults who are searching for homes will not be ready to purchase a home for up to a year. Having a website where clients can go and just browse will keep them coming back in the future when they are ready to find a realtor and ready to purchase or sell their Las Vegas home. Also with keeping your website simple, keeping your marketing like post cards, flyers, and email blasts simple with keep your cliental intrigued. If a client gets an email that is as long as a short story regarding your homes, and prices they will more than likely delete it before it even gets read, but if it a bright flyer with photos and less writing that will make them want to reach out to you to ask you about the home. GET PROFESSIONAL PHOTOS FOR YOUR MARKETING; yes I said it. I know it seems like a waste of monies, and you seller does not want to pay for it, but 90% of Las Vegas Real Estate sells come from the internet first. If you have a listing where the photos are just blah it is going to make a future buyer click off of it faster than they clicked on it; but photos with bright lighting, and a staged home will really bring attention to your listings; same thing goes for your website. You will receive as much feedback as the work you put in. If you slump together a listing without care, you will more than likely not get positive feedback; but if you take your time and build a user friendly website and user friendly listings it will keep people coming back to your website for all their Real Estate needs.

HOUSE HUNTING DURING THE HOLIDAYS

If you’re house hunting over the holidays, you’re likely a serious buyer with an immediate need.  Perhaps you have to relocate for a new job opportunity, or there’s been a change in your personal life? Regardless, while you may assume it’s not an ideal time to be looking — namely because there isn’t much to look at — there are some advantages to buying this time of year. First and for most, there is less competition in the real estate market this time of year. This makes it easier for you to take your time while house hunting, and making it so that you do not go against multiple offers or go through a bidding war for a certain home in the Las Vegas area. During the warmer months, and especially in summer you can put an offer on a home that has only been on the market for 3 hours and there will be multiple offers on the home, in the winter it is so much slower making it easier to get into your dream home. More than likely, if someone is listing their home during the holiday seasons, it is because they desperately need to sell the home. Rather it is because they got a new job, and have to move fast, or if it is because they want to sell the home before next year’s taxes, there is typically always a reason on why the home owner is selling right in the middle of the Holiday Season. You will more than likely get a fast loan approval around the holiday season, with the lenders slowing down with less cliental they will be more available for you and your home loan. Some lenders might even be willing to reduce fees during the off-peak season in hopes of gaining your business. Regardless, don’t just go with the first lender who comes along. It pays to shop around. Get multiple quotes and check out lender reviews online before you go with the first one you find. HOME SELL VALUE GOES DOWN DURING THE HOLIDAYS; yes I said it. As we all know, the buying and selling market have been at an all time high, and seems like it is just going up and up, but studies show that homes go down in value more in December than any other month in the year, so when you are putting in offers on homes, you will not need to be as aggressive with the bidding wars as you would in the peak of the Summer. Buying a home seems like all fun and games, but do your research with EVERY aspect of the home, think about what agent you want to represent you, and what lender will have your back and give the best deal, then do research on the community you are looking in, not every home is worth what it is being sold for. There are thousands and I mean thousands of research pages online, and even getting an agent you trust will give you ALL the information on the properties you are looking at and purchasing will make this really go smoother.

THINGS YOUR SELLER SHOULD KNOW

When you are in the middle of a Las Vegas Real Estate transaction there are a few things that your buyer should know, but probably doesn’t know because they were not educated on them. Most of the time owners want to sell their home fast, and want it done their way; unfortunately that is not how the real estate market works here in Las Vegas. You don’t want to hurt your clients’ feelings. But undoubtedly there are a few things that pop up in the course of transactions that you wish sellers already knew, so that you could avoid having some awkward conversations with them. Start with the way the home is presented, the sellers décor is not always how the buyer would decorate so it makes it very hard for the buyer to picture their own furniture in the home; yes, your clients might have the home absolutely BEAUTIFUL, but when you are selling your home do not decorate like it is your home. Make it very modern and how a “show” home looks. Very open, clean and neutral. Clutter, in particular can make your home feel very crammed when the buyer walks in and it will instantly put a bad taste in their mouth. No I am not saying you need to go out and get you home staged but defiantly make sure your sellers know Less is More. Also another big thing that puts a bad taste in your buyers mouth is how the home is painted, if you have all sorts of bright colors on the wall like red, brown, and green that might push them to the NO side of the buy, having the home either painted white, or neutral colors will really open up the home and make it feel bigger. If you are the seller, do not be secretive with your agent. Sellers need to disclose even the small things that are wrong with the home, like leaky faucets. When your agent knows what is wrong, they came make sure it does not come back to bite you at the end of the transaction. Make sure your seller knows remodeling their home does not guarantee a price increase. While remodeling projects may enhance a property, the projects homeowners take on are never a guarantee of payback at resale. Of course if they redo flooring and kitchen, it will catch a buyer’s eye, but there is not for sure that your home value will increase as much as it cost to re-do those things. Make sure your seller is ready to fix some things in the home. Sellers may have to spend a little bit of time getting their house ready to be sold, things so simple that you have been living with for years can turn your buyers eye or make the deal fall through because “they thing your home needs a lot work” easy things like replacing the trim the dog scratched up, or power washing the driveway/garage and the back yard patio (if you have one), and even fixing a leaky sink that has caused a little damage to the drain. Having things that catch the buyers eye look pristine will really keep them interested in your Las Vegas home.

FINDING A BETTER RENTAL

Have you been renting for a while, and you want to upgrade into a better home but you do not know where to start looking? I am going to give you a couple of tips on how to make sure you secure a GREAT new rental. First and for most, start with what you are looking for in a new home. Knowing how many bed and bathrooms you require to live is a good place start, and then looks to see if you want a back yard or porch. Even if it things as little as you want a home that has no paint on the walls, or having the whole painted can make your search a lot easier. After you have wrote down what you are actually looking for in a home, set your budget accordingly. Do not start looking at home out of your price range that you would not be able to afford comfortably. Most places require you make about two times the monthly rent to qualify. Divide your pay in half, and start looking in that price range. You can look on multiple websites for properties in your price range and in your preferred neighborhood. After you have done a little research, set a plan to meet with a leasing agent to show you the properties. Here at Black and Cherry Real Estate, we have leasing agents that will show you, and help you apply for properties, free of cost to you as the renter. It makes looking for a rental simple and stress-free. Get out there and look at these properties, you never know if you will like the same house you loved online by just looking at the photographs. Once you go see the property ask as many questions as you can think of. You do not want to get stuck in a lease in home you do not like because you did not ask questions at the beginning. Ask if the owner is willing to paint, or replace carpet, or fix landscaping, and have the home deep cleaned. Ask about the deposits, how much they are and how they work. Next you will want to meet with the Property Manager/Landlord of the home. Pay attention to how fast they respond, how educated they answer your questions, and how they plan to manage the property! Ask them about the application and the lease process and see company’s rules and regulations and how things will work once you move into the home. Once you have ask the manager all those questions, and after you see how they are you will see if they are someone you want to rent from for a year or plus! When you are on your way to getting a new home, you will want to consider all of these tips. If you start to see red flags with the home before you move in, it might be time to look at a different property. Take your time, and do not rush into a home you are unsure about.

FALL DECORATING FOR LAS VEGAS 2017

Hey there. How is your September going? Can you believe it more than half over? I sure cannot. If you have put of decorating, like I have you are running out time to deck your house out for fall, not only are you running out of time but if you are anything like me you probably do not have hundreds of dollars to spend on seasonal decorating. Areas you should think about decorating in your home to bring fall to life is, a mantel, coffee table, front porch, and dining table. Start with things you already own; that is the best way to save money when you are budgeting. Do not go to the store and buy a bunch of things because when you come home you might not have enough room for everything or have a place for everything you just bought. Whatever you plan to decorate first, clear it completely off. For instance if you plan to decorate the mantel first, clear everything you have on it off; that includes your family pictures and plants and all the other things you have stored up there, start with a clean slate. Then get all the things you already own and things you want and start placing them on the mantel. You will notice
you truly do not need to buy a whole bunch of new things, maybe just one or two little things from the dollar section at target. Once you have everything out and you know what you actually need/want and you won’t over shop, start at thrift stores and the dollar tree. You would be surprised by how many knick-knacks you find at those stores that are cute, dainty, and just fill the empty spaces in your home. Some great things you can find at the thrift store are old picture frames, candle holders, old books, fake pumpkins, faux leaves and pine cones. When you are shopping around try and use natural elements to tie fall into your Las Vegas home. Keep an eye out for pumpkins, apples, squash, and fall plants like dried flowers, sticks, branches, leaves, acorns, and reclaimed wood. When you are looking around, try and get fake items that can be painted; even a banged up pumpkin with scratched paint can be repainted and put on shelves like it is brand new. While you are shopping around, keep in mind DIY projects you would like to do; thinks like home made painting, or printing your own pictures to put into frames, and something as simple as putting dried flowers into a mason jar will really compliment the oranges and yellows in your home and make it feel more rustic and fall-like. That is just the start of DIY projects you can do to your home in Las Vegas. Any trend that you love, I can almost guarantee there are 50+ DIY hacks you can find online to make it on a budget. So before you go out and spend hundreds of dollars on new decorations get online and look up things you can make right from your house, and decorate with the things you already have.

KEEPING YOUR TENANTS HAPPY

When you are working in property management, you will run into tenants who you would think are a picture perfect tenant; they never pay late, they rarely ever call with complaints, and they are just overall good tenants; but just when you think everything is going good, they surprise you by putting in their 30-day notice out of nowhere and you do not really know what you did “wrong” in a sense. Aside from it being very costly for you to turn a property back to move-in ready, these types of situations are very confusing; what even made your tenant leave? Tenants fail to renew their lease for a lot of reasons, but I am going to give a couple of the common reasons tenants do not stay in home they seemed very happy in. One of the main reasons a tenant will leave their home is their personal life might have shifted; maybe they got a new job and it is too far from their home, recently expanded their family, or maybe they are leaving this state to move closer to family and loved ones. There is nothing a landlord/Property Manager can do in this kind of situation, and it usually sneaks up on you with very little warning. Maybe you as the Property manager pay very little attention to detail, sometimes tenants get upset when they are dealing with repairs on the home and you as the property manager do not feel it is very urgent and it can wait over a couple of days, but too a tenant everything in their home is an emergency, rather it is the water heater that just busted, or something more simple like a toilet that is constantly running and hiking up their water bill. To a tenant both of those are very important and they should be looked at the same in their eyes. This brings me to my next point, lack of communication can put a nasty taste in the tenants mouth, when they call/email their property manager they expect a response in 24 hours no matter what the call is about, no news is good news but making the tenant feel like you actually care about them being in the home will keep them in it for a long time. Most of the time, property managers and landlords do not give their tenants a reason to trust them, they do not always feel like it is an open window for communication and they can talk to you about any problems they are having in the home. Tenants like to be treated with transparency, and open honestly. Lastly, sometimes it has absolutely nothing to do with the management of the home, sometimes it is the overall neighborhood, or the people that live in community. Maybe it is an older couple and there is too many kids, or too many dogs in the neighborhood, or maybe they are looking to downsize or even Up-size the living situation. The easiest way to not be blindsided with a 30 day notice is to keep the communication open with your tenants. Make sure they know they can talk to you about any problems with the home, and actually listen to them when they are talking to you.

SPICE UP YOUR FALL CLEANING

Let’s face it; cleaning your house at anytime of the year can seem like a drag. Why not spice up your cleaning? Here are some of my favorite things to clean this time of year, things that most of us forget. Deep clean all your pots and pans. By putting them in hot soapy water in the BATH TUB, yes I said it, the bath tub. Let them all soak for a few hours. We all have those pans that we never reach for, and over time they will collect dust, and if you are anything like me, you will not rinse this pan, you will just use it as if it freshly cleaned! You might think that they counter top spray you have deep cleans your home. But no, you spray and it wipes it right off. Try making a specific bottle with distilled vinegar, douse your counters and tables with this, let it sit for 30 minutes, wipe away, and then spray with whatever counter spray you have, and wipe again. This will leave your counters as clean as possible, they might smell like vinegar, but the smell will only last a few hours. Cleaning your over may seem like the last thing on your list, or at least it’s the last thing on mine. Spray a mixture of vinegar and hydrogen peroxide all over your oven, let sit for an hour, and wipe away with a microfiber clothe and watch all the spills in your oven come up easy and seamlessly! To remove those stubborn finger prints from your stainless steel appliances mix an equal mixture of rubbing alcohol and water, spray onto dirty areas, and wipe away with a microfiber cloth. We all hate those large dark stains on the carpet. To get those right up you will want to spray the tops of them with white shaving cream, and then blot. For crusty, dirty stains, spray the shaving cream on to the spot, and scrap of gently with a credit card, and then clean up with cool water. When cleaning the ashes out of the fireplace, sprinkle the used, wet coffee grounds onto the bottom, scoop up the entire mess. This with help collect all the ashes on the bottom, the damp coffee grounds with mix with the ashes making it easier to pick up! To keep your decorative towels fluffy and nice while you are washing them, add ¼ cup of white vinegar to the final rinse cycle, and avoid using fabric softener while washing these towel, the softener builds up and makes them less absorbent. To clean those pesky shower door tracks that create mold, douse your towel in cleaner, and wrap around the tip of a screw driver, and slide back in forth, that will get into the tight spots you might not be able to reach! These are just a few on the list for cleaning your Las Vegas property during the fall! Hope they worked for you, like they worked for me.

BUYING YOUR FIRST HOME

Have you been renting and you are thinking about taking the big leap on purchasing your first home? Most people start thinking about the basics of owning a home like being able to make modifications without getting permission from someone. When you are in the hype of the moment you do not think about little thing you will be responsible for, like fixing a broken AC or a leaking fridge. For many people, buying a home is still the marker of adulthood; it has been part of the American dream for a long time. It’s important to know your own personal financial situation and your own goals before making the leap from renting to owning a home. Buying a home in the Las Vegas area typically requires some money down and paying for closing cost, there is ways around this, but you will end up getting a high interest rate and no one wants that right?  With the market right now it is hard to keep your eye on a home you love, while trying to save for it. Houses are going on and off the market in less than 72 hours; so lenders are recommending people save money for a down payment before they even start looking because how fast properties are turning. Once you have gotten all your up-front costs out of the way, you will need to start thinking about your budget on how much you can realistically afford; most people just think about the mortgage they have to pay, but do not think about home owners insurance, property taxes, and other little expensive that come with owning your own home. Speaking of that home-loan term, one factor in deciding whether or not to buy a home is how sure you are that you want to stay in one place. Is your job secure? Do you like the town or city? Can you see yourself staying for the long term? You don’t necessarily have to live in the home for your entire mortgage term: You could rent out your home at some point or sell it. But what if you aren’t able to when you want to? Will you be OK staying where you are? It’s a good idea to at least think about how long you need to stay in that home to recoup those upfront costs you made. When you are purchasing a home, it is smart to also think about yourself; is this house going to push you further from your other goals like buying that boat you’ve always wanted, or stop you from putting extra money in your 401(k) for later in life; will buying this house use up all you emergency savings fund leaving you with nothing and having to start over? These are the types of questions you should be asking yourself when you are looking into buying your first home.  If you are sure one hundred percent that you are ready to buy your first home, do it. Nothing feels better than having something of your own that no one can take from you, or can claim for themselves.