6 Ways To Improve the Resale Value of Your Home

By doing simple upgrades to your home, you can look to re-sell it at a much higher rate. Here are some simple ways to improve the quality of your home so that its resale value can be through the roof.

  1. Nice Kitchens Add Value

Buyers of all kinds have long focused on the kitchen, but it holds particularly true to the newest wave of first-time homeowners – the millennials. A modern or updated kitchen topped the list of ideal home features in many surveys on millennials, who registered this part of the house as the most important. With more and more people going back to the basics of preparing their own meals, the kitchen deserves to be one of the prime features of any home.

With this in mind, if you plan to sell, don’t rip your kitchen down to the studs. A smaller investment can have serious impact. For as little as $5,000, you should be able to add a new suite of appliances, as well as a new countertop and flooring, giving you a much fresher, more coordinated look. Applying a new coat of paint to the walls or cabinets and updating the hardware can also breathe new life into the space.

For example, you can improve both the quality and aesthetics of your kitchen if you upgrade your appliances and try out stainless steel finishes. Though it has been around for decades, this appliance finish conveys a clean, contemporary design which tells your buyer subconsciously that all your appliances are modernized. For the latest spin on stainless products, look for new versions of black stainless steel from KitchenAid, LG and Samsung, each with a softer, less reflective finish, but the same cachet as the original.

  1. Pay Attention to the Landscape

Tangled trees and unkempt bushes can obscure views, darken interiors, promote mold and block a good look at the house. This, in turn, can be a major turn off for many potential homebuyers.

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People forget about their trees more than almost anything, yet landscaping is one of the top three investments that bring the biggest return. According to a 2007 survey of 2,000 brokers conducted by HomeGain, an online real estate marketing site, an investment of around $400 or $500 dollars in landscaping can bring a return of four times that amount. It could really make a significant difference in the price. It might cost you more in upgrading your home, but landscaping might just be that one thing you need to close that deal on the house.

  1. Make Your Home Energy Efficient

There’s a lot of consideration for potential buyers if the house that they look to buy is already energy-efficient. Lowering your home’s energy costs can save you money for as long as you live there, and it is expected to be a major selling point down the line. People, according to most surveys conducted by home brokers, look for energy-efficiency more than they look for safety.

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Older homeowners who have felt the sting of escalating energy costs tend to be driving the interest. However, there are some early adopters among younger buyers, too, especially in regions of the country with more extreme weather. If they can see that your appliances are tilted on energy saving, it’s a good sign for them. Also, oftentimes, smart buyers ask for previous electricity bills and judge how much they can potentially spend when buying the home. That being said, it’s best if you can start being an energy saver as soon as possible.

Of course, never forget about water heating, which accounts for 16 percent of energy costs in the typical home. Spending $1,800 to $2,400 on a new unit is another way to impress efficiency-minded buyers.

  1. Functionality Over Aesthetic

Stain-prone stone countertops, grime-collecting ornate cabinets, and dust-catching wall-to-wall carpet used to be symbols of luxury, but today’s homebuyers are more likely to equate them with extra work. The younger generation in particular would much rather spend their time entertaining at home than fussing over it.

This means that beyond a home’s cosmetic finishes, it’s important to keep the major mechanical systems in working order. Many first-time buyers may have used up much of their savings on the down payment, so they want to know that the heating system, plumbing and electricity have been recently updated. Central air conditioning is also in demand because it eliminates the need to switch window units in and out.

In addition to including the age of the system, it helps if you can also point to its reliability. For example, Consumer Reports surveys have found American Standard and Trane to be among the least repair-prone manufacturers of gas furnaces.

A new roof can also help prevent fears of water damage, ice dams, pest infestation and other home disasters that can result from an old, shoddy roof. For a typical 2,300-square-foot house, you might be able to put on a new shingle roof for as little as $6,000. You’d also need to make sure that your floor is built well (including the backyard or the parking space) so looking for good asphalt paving services should be on top of your list.

Furthermore, more carpets are being replaced with long-wearing hardwood flooring with a durable factory finish. Engineered wood flooring, which uses a thin veneer of real wood or bamboo over structural plywood, tends not to wear as well as the more solid alternative. It does have the same look but costs less, making it a good choice if you plan to sell soon.

  1. Investing in Smart Technology

High-tech features offer notoriously bad returns on investment because technologies tend to evolve quickly. For example, one of the biggest flops in recent years is the fully wired audiovisual system. That being said, you should be investing on smart technology – those kinds that don’t fall off easily – rather than simply the trending ones.

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Certain smart devices add to home value and interest, including programmable thermostats. It has practically the same benefit with a range of products, such as lights, door locks, and security systems. Those smart features have broad appeal with millennials who grew up on smartphones, so they’re used to being able to control things at their fingertips. Surely, their age group would pay three to five percent more if they can control everything with their mobile phone.

A whole house generator might also be a good investment. Power failures are a reality for a lot of homeowners. As such, stationary generators can usually power the entire property. A professionally installed unit can range from $7,000 to $15,000, according to Porch, a website connecting consumers with home service pros. The Generac 6241, priced at $3,500, excluding installation, is a top pick.

  1. Invest in Good Advertising and Photos

Lastly, to increase the value of your house, your overall advertisement should be crisp. The first step is to look for a real estate agent who can really sell houses. Then, make sure your real estate agent offers great photos that show your home in its best light when it comes time to list. With this, home buyers seeking for a new place can appreciate your home from the pictures online before even making a decision to visit.

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Look for a frugal way to get a good advertisement by hiring a photographer, or researching online on how to take good photos of your house. Time and time again, customers would always be attracted by the first impression, especially when your advertisement photos are really good.

8 Factors a New Real Estate Buyer Should Know

If you’re new to the playing field of real estate, buying a property might be an experience that could turn out to be a bit too confusing for you. As it is, it’s nothing like buying your favorite snack at a convenience store; it’s not just you giving cash in exchange for a house. There are many terms and conditions that you still need to understand fully before anything else. If you’re a new buyer – or a relatively new one – and wanting to lessen the cost on a property you desire, here’s what you ought to know:

Price

Of course, the seller wants the highest price they can get while the buyer wants the smallest price they can get. Buyers and sellers try to negotiate the best price possible for them. The thing is that that “magic price” is obviously going to be different for both parties.

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There’s nothing else to do than for both of parties to meet halfway.

Buyers don’t want to overpay or price themselves out of a resale in the future; while sellers want to make sure the deal makes sense and fits well in their financial plan. If you want to get the best initial price, you should have an idea of the pricing, then take into account the market situation, and other factors that might affect the price.

Closing costs

One thing that many new prospects in the real estate market take for granted is the closing costs. Closing costs are fees associated at the closing of a real estate transaction. The closing point is when the title of the property is transferred from the seller to the buyer. Closing costs are incurred by either the buyer or seller.

Buyers have to pay prepaid closing costs for their mortgage. This payment is for the money that the mortgage lender holds in escrow, for items like taxes and insurance. Usually, a buyer may ask a seller to pay a flat amount toward their closing costs, or up to a percentage for what’s an allowable contribution for the lender. Sometimes this can be up to 3% of what’s included in the mortgage.

What you can expect is that if a buyer asks the seller to make a concession on their behalf, they’re likely going to have to pay a higher asking price.

Closing date

Due dates and closing dates affect the monthly cash flow from the buyer to the seller. Also, sellers almost always negotiate for the best case scenario for themselves, like upping up the speed of when the money will be remitted to them. This might be a small factor, but something that you should still be mindful of.

The money involved in real estate is not that liquid in terms of free use or being able to be used in other engagements. Initially, the cash involved is further used in any remaining project development activities (i.e. documentation, final aesthetic touches and labor costs). In this regard, the closing date serves as a benchmark for both parties’ next steps.

Financing Contingencies

Financing Contingencies are clauses in a real estate contract that stipulate various conditions that must be met by the buyer and the seller for a sale to go through. For example, many buyers write into the contract that being able to close on the sale of their own home is a condition of the offer to purchase the new home. That way, if the sale of their own residence falls through, they are not obligated to go through with the purchase of the new property.

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If you’re a buyer competing with all cash offers, you need to figure out if they can drop the financing contingency. This can help shorten the closing time line. Buyers can do this by having their mortgage fully approved prior to making an offer. As such, the pre-approval shows that their finances are in order and they can afford the property.

Sale Leaseback

A leaseback is an arrangement where the seller of an asset leases back the same asset from the purchaser. In a leaseback arrangement, the specifics of the arrangement are made immediately after the sale of the asset, with the amount of the payments and the time period specified. Essentially, the seller of the asset becomes the lessee and the purchaser becomes the lessor in this arrangement.

Fortunately, a leaseback is neither debt nor equity. In fact, a sale leaseback is more like a hybrid debt product. The buyer does not increase its debt load but gains access to capital through the sale of assets. This is much like the corporate real estate version of a pawn shop transaction. The company goes to the pawn shop and in exchange for a valuable asset, receives a certain amount of cash. The only difference is that there is no expectation for the company to buy back the asset.

Additional Repairs

It is also often very helpful if you pay attention to the physical details of a property when buying a home, especially when there are things that need to be repaired. When a home is out-of-date with appliances that don’t work – cracked ceilings or pool foundations, for example – a buyer can ask for a lower price because of the cost to bring the home back to current standards. These factors can net you essential discounts.

This is why there are advertisements like “Need help selling my houses and I’m embarrassed. Get a cash offer.” In this case, professional realtors help those who want to sell subpar assets and are not confident enough because of some issues with their properties. Whether you are seller or a buyer, keep in mind that this type of unit tends to go for a lower price.

Furniture and Appliances

The previous homeowner’s personal property, such as chandeliers, window treatments and cabinets, should be part of the deal. Whatever is excluded needs to be stated when the contract is finalized. Sometimes, having furniture also grants you functionality that you didn’t know you needed, and can make you make the most out of your money.

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Meanwhile, the appliances should also be taken into account. The stove, dishwasher, microwave and any built-in appliances may come with the property. Again, these things should be included in the contract.

Home Inspections

There are many benefits to having a home inspection before you purchase a house. According to home inspectors, homes are sometimes not particularly well cared for by homeowners, who are slow to fix leaky faucets, replace heating or A/C filters, or clunky furnaces.

If properties with homeowners living in it can be uncared for, imagine what condition a foreclosed home can hide. For example, mold can grow if the water hasn’t been turned off, which renders the environment moist. If the home is boarded up and there is no ventilation for weeks or months, black mold can grow fairly quickly.

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Because of the importance of a proper home inspection, you should make the purchase of the home contingent on your approval of a home inspector’s report. When making a written offer for the home, simply make the home inspection a condition of the purchase. If your home inspection comes back clean, you can proceed with the sale with confidence. However, if the report is negative, you can reduce your offer, make the seller pay for any repairs, or even back out of the contract altogether.

8 Steps in Buying your New Home

Buying your own home and starting a brand new household is not an easy task. Since everybody think it is easy, they eventually commit a lot of mistakes. People most often buy a home that’s more expensive than what they can afford. People oftentimes look at sweet deals and end up in a pile of debt because the deals are actually based on ridiculous credit interests. People also take mortgage plans that they cannot pay off in the long term just because their income cannot match their expenses.

All these factors greatly contribute to why starting up a household is not only a difficult but also a demanding task. It requires a lot of thinking and planning beforehand. You wouldn’t want to just jump into buying a house in a suburb just because it’s a “great” deal. Now, if you are just starting to plan to buy your house, here are the steps that you should consider following for you to make it through your mortgage alive.

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Step 1: Know Thyself

The first step is to evaluate your financial capabilities. Know how much you can and willing to pay. You can always start with understanding your credit score.

A credit score is a number calculated from a formula created by Fair Isaac based on the information in your credit report. You have three different credit scores, one for each of your credit reports. Credit reports are kept by the three major credit agencies, Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. They show whether you are habitually late with payments and whether you have run into serious credit problems in the past.

Generally, a low credit score may hurt your chances for getting the best interest rate, or getting financing at all. So get a copy of your reports and know your credit scores. There’s an online app MyFICO.com where you can check your credit score.

After clearing your credit score, you can now look at your assets. Know how much all your debit is as of the moment, so you can start setting your budget.

Step 2: Set your Budget                        

You now need to determine how much you can afford. While the most common way is to add all your income and subtract your expenses, you can now document every detail of your finances easily with online applications such as CNN Money’s Real Estate Calculator. If you want to go for an easy-to-use yet professional app, you can try Quickbooks Online to guide you every step of the way by allowing you to use accounting disciplines in keeping track of your finances.

future home

For a more accurate figure, ask to be pre-approved by a lender who will look at your income, debt and credit to determine the kind of loan that is in your league. The rule of thumb is to aim for a home that costs about two-and-a-half times your gross annual salary. If you have significant credit card debt or other financial obligations like alimony or even an expensive hobby, then you may need to set your sights lower.

Step 3: Show the Money

At this point, you need to come up with cash for your down payment and closing costs. Estate sellers wouldn’t just straight up give you a house out of installment deals. Normally, they would want to get 20% of the home’s price as a down payment. If you can put down more than that, the lender may be willing to approve a larger loan. If you have less, you’ll need to find loans that can accommodate you.

Once you’ve considered the down payment, make sure you’ve got enough to cover fees and closing costs. These may include the appraisal fee, loan fees, attorney’s fees, inspection fees, and the cost of a title search. They can easily add up to more than $10,000b – often running upto 5% of the mortgage amount.

If your available cash doesn’t cover your needs, you have several options. First-time home buyers can withdraw up to $10,000 without penalty from an Individual Retirement Account. You can also receive a cash gift of up to $14,000 a year from each of your parents without triggering a gift tax.

Step 4: Look for an Agent

Most real estate sellers list their homes through an agent. Just a reminder – these agents work for themselves. It follows that they can offer more time to focus on your account, holding you accountable to your financial obligation. Then again, since these agents are usually self-employed, they would want you to pay as quickly as possible to ensure you clear the loan as early as possible, and for them to get their commission in the earliest time, too.

couple embracing in home

Professionally speaking, you would want to have an “exclusive buyer agent”. Sometimes, buyer agents are paid directly by the buying clients themselves, on an hourly or contracted fee. Other times, they split the commission that the seller’s agent gets upon sale. A buyer’s representative has the same access to homes for sale that a seller’s agent does, but his or her allegiance is (supposed to be) only to you.

Step 5: Look for your desired house

There are tons of criteria for looking for your desired house,but it all boils down to location, location, location.

Location of the house tells you whether living there is economically advantageous so you can easily find a new job or entrepreneurial opportunities. The location can also determine if your house would be perfect for the quality of life you seek for your family.

just bought home

When the house already checked the more important criteria, you can now look into the added features like that of aesthetics or bonus amenities.

Step 6: Make an Offer

Now that you’ve found the house that you want, have a little help with your exclusive agent so that you can make your bid. If you’re working with a buyer’s broker, then get advice from him or her for an initial offer. If you’re working with a seller’s agent, devise the strategy yourself.

Know that negotiation is an art. Try to line up data on at least three houses that have sold recently in the neighborhood. If you really want the house, don’t lowball because it would irk the seller too much.

Remember that your leverage depends on the pace of the market. In a slow market, you’ve got muscle; in a hot market, you may have none at all.

Step 7: Iron out the Contract

Have your lawyer or exclusive buyer’s agent review the documents to make sure the deal is contingent upon: a.) you obtaining a mortgage, b.) home inspection that shows no significant defects and c.) guarantee that you may conduct a walk-through inspection 24 hours before closing.

It would also be best if you can make a good-faith deposit – usually 1% up to 10% of the purchase price – that should be deposited into an escrow account. The seller receives this money after the deal has been closed. This serves as your safety net in case of a problem: if the deal falls through, you get the money back only if you or the home failed any of the contingency clauses.

Step 8: Close the Deal

A couple of days before the actual closing, the lender sends you the final HUD-1 Settlement Statement that lists all the charges you can expect to pay at closing. The HUD-1 Settlement Statement is a form prepared by closing agents itemizing all charges imposed on a buyer and a seller in real estate transactions. The HUD-1 is used primarily to settle reverse mortgage and mortgage refinance transactions.

keys to home

Review it carefully and thoroughly. Make sure that everything that you and the seller have settled is intact. This form includes deal elements like the cost of title insurance that protects you and the lender from any claims someone may make regarding ownership of your property. The cost of title insurance varies greatly from state to state, but it usually comes in at less than 1% of the home’s price.

Make sure that you see through all these steps meticulously. Buying your first home is very important, and you wouldn’t want to make mistakes that can injure you for a long time.

The Art of Negotiation: How To Make It Big In Real Estate

More often than not, real estate transactions boil down to negotiation.

Sellers won’t give the lowest price any more than the highest paying buyers are willing to pay. If you’re a buyer and you want to get your dream house in Hollywood, you’ll need to negotiate. If you’re a seller and you want to sell your property in Texas, you’ll need to negotiate. Negotiation is part of a creative process, and here’s why:

Professionals negotiating.

Negotiation is an Art.

It is generally wrong to pose an aggressive posture in any of your interactions with real estate agents, be it as a buyer or a seller. Contrary to popular belief of “you should be in a commanding position”, you actually should be easy to get along with and easy to talk to.

Then again, you should never forget that you are in that meeting or in that open house for one reason: to find the best way to address your real estate needs. This means that while you are negotiating the deal, every piece of information that you provide to the other side (to the buyer if you’re the seller, and vice versa) should be carefully released at just the right time, spoken in just the right way and designed to improve your position in the transaction.

Arguing over the asking price.

The “art of negotiation” is not just a simple isolated exchange between two parties, but rather a continuing effort. You must remember every action that you take during the entire transaction, beginning with submittal of offer to close escrow. Many real estate transactions where the buyer or seller got past the “offer and acceptance” phase and then acted like the deal was done, only to find themselves not having a deal because of cold feet.

As the saying goes, it ‘ain’t over till the fat lady sings. Thus, don’t give up your position too early: don’t make unnecessary concessions, and don’t compromise without gain.

Don’t be clumsy. You might insult the other party.

This is perhaps the main reason why many negotiations fail. There is an art to creating an offer to buy a home at the best price, and it’s not just about being the cheapest or tuning out to be the most affordable. It’s about the manner in which the transaction is handled.

Most people understand that if you walk up to a person selling their home and you bring a rather condescending tone on how they do business, the chances are that the seller will actually look at your offer as pretty low.

This is because you have put the seller into a “compromised position.” You have forced the seller’s sense of pride to overrule their desire to sell the home to you. Once you have put the seller in this position, it is difficult to correct it. Very few buyers are able to correct the mistake of insulting the seller. Pride is a really big deal.

On the other hand, insulting the buyer is just a mortal sin. There’s no way you can make up for a hurting buyer. You may well have botched your chance of selling a house, and may just end your career if the word spreads about your professional misdemeanor.

A mental arm wrestle.

As such, most people understand the obvious concept, but people often don’t realize how many different ways they can put either a seller or buyer into this defensive position. For example, buyers take the approach of including a defect-list in their offer which highlights every undesirable feature in the property, doing so to support a low offer.

At the end of the day, this is the same thing as saying “your house is undesirable and here is why”. The seller is insulted and either discards the offer, or counters at a higher price than they might have if they were not insulted.

Low-Ball offers don’t work.

A crazy low-ball offer is another common way to insult the seller. For most real estate buyers who are serious about finding a home that truly meets their needs, low-balling is a mistake. Buyers spend a lot of time searching for the right home, even before they look for a realtor. Once they find a great home and start writing an offer, their priority now shifts from “finding the dream house” to “winning this negotiation and get the house below fair value”.

More often than not, you won’t find “below market value” and “perfect home” in the same transaction. This is simply because its whole concept defies logic: how many times have you shopped for a product and have been willing to pay a premium for a particular product because it has all the features you highly desire?

The point is that just attempting this tactic often kills the deal, and the buyer usually ends up at square-one when the day ends. You’ll just waste a lot of time, or probably throw away a chance at your dream home. Stay focused on your true goals and negotiate realistically.

With this is mind, you can finally sell your Houston house for cash like you’ve always wanted.

Real estate tug of war.

Negotiate with Information, not Opinion.

Subjective price negotiation is a common scenario in almost every real estate transaction. Though it comes as a normal case, the challenge is to put your foot down on the best price that is justified by market comparables, yet giving an offer that is presented in such a way that it does not insult the seller.

Use the local market data to prepare and then support your offer: this is by far the most effective tool in price negotiations. Showing a seller market data is way more persuasive than simply saying, “I just feel like you are over-priced”. You can make your negotiation argument stronger by not basing on feelings alone, but rather using the real data that you can get your hands on.

Coming to a financial agreement.

Another reason market data helps is because many real estate agents barely know how to perform a market analysis. Simply put, they don’t really know what the property is worth, nor have property properly appraised. If the buyer-agent produces data that supports their client’s offer, many times the seller’s agent is swayed by the data and recommend that their client accepts the offer.

Meanwhile, this also holds true for the seller. If you can show the facts and the mathematics behind the numbers you are presenting as the best deal for the house (be it cheaper, or simply the right price for the right home), you can easily persuade the buyer to tender to your realtor service.

Structure the offer in a way that it will be accepted.

A good buyer’s agent coaches their clients about the best ways to position themselves and their offer to increase the likelihood of the seller’s acceptance. The saying “first impressions last” fits perfectly in this case.

This is also true for a strong buyer’s market; because if you want to pay the lowest price for a piece of property, you then have to be sure that all the other components to your offer, other than price, are as attractive as possible.

This includes a conditional loan-approval from a reputable lender, timeframe for close of escrow, use of qualified inspectors, amount and type of earnest deposit, contingencies and how they are structured, comparative analysis of the property, and the professionalism and attention to detail in the offer.

A financial compromise.

Remember that while price is very important to the seller, there are other aspects to consider in a deal. For instance, the seller only wants to go through the escrow process one single time to not waste any, so if all the components of your offer must say “I can close”, your lower-price offer may be preferable to a higher offer that says “I am not so sure this is the right house and I may be a pain and NOT close escrow”.

All things considered, real estate is all about proper communication. To master real estate, you should also master the art of negotiation to have the most success.

3 Essentials In Finding Your Dream Home

The reality of today is that there are an enormous amount of factors that contribute to people moving from one place to another. Factors such as being able to have more job opportunities in a different place, family preferences, and overall security can bring about thoughts of moving to a new place or even migrating.

A beautiful modern house.

Thus, it is important that you look deeper on the factors to watch out for when scouting for a better home.

The thing is that there are various facets to consider to find the perfect place to live. This is important so that you can establish your life in a new property with ease. However, there are a great number of facts to consider, so many that confusion sometimes arises in this regard. It is just important that you take time to look at what really matters most. Prioritizing these factors may just get the job done for you.

C Is For Comfort

What comfort does the new home you’re looking at provide? A seemingly obvious fact is that people will always look for a place that brings about a sense of comfort and relaxation. With good reasons, considering that you are actually going home to this property every day!

A happy family.

There is nothing wrong with being thrifty and finding the cheapest possible purchase of a new house. However, you shouldn’t compromise the comfort of a new home. Besides, it is exactly why you call it YOUR home. At the end of the day, you might just realize that as much as you saved your money, you are not satisfied. This may end up with you finding a new and better place all over again, which is likely to exhaust you, and exactly why you should consider comfort first.

Comfort can be achieved in a plethora of ways. If you are fond of the serenity and tranquillity, then you may consider purchasing a house that is in a suburban area. You may even find yourself a place that is surrounded by a lush environment. On the other hand, if you’re a person who is involved in the hustle and bustle of life, then you may find some place in the city that provides the right amount of space and efficiency to work and saves you commuting time.

On another note, one thing that may bring about your dream lifestyle is security. The sad truth is that the world is evolving to be a dangerous place for all kinds of people; it is significant that you find a home that provides a sense of safety for you and for your family. Finding a neighborhood which implements proper security measures should be of utmost importance. Security brings about a sense of comfort, and comfort brings about the true meaning of living.

Brother and sister

A Is For Affordability

Imagine you need to move to New York for a job that you finally got and had always wanted. Sadly, you have to sell your Houston house fast to get your initial funds to afford a place in the Big Apple. If you got more than enough for the sale, it is your lucky day! However, when the returns seem to be a little less than what you expected, affordability becomes a huge consideration when trying to buy a new house.

You have to take into account the money you have right now in order to effectively scout for a new house or apartment. This is because of the simple fact that you can’t be in a place that forces you to surrender all your assets. Proper budgeting and estimation may just save you from the hassle it brings in the long run.

Similarly, money plays a huge factor on how you enjoy or thrive in the new surroundings. Since at the start of your move, there will be other expenditures such as purchasing of furniture, house equipment, and other basic necessities to satiate your lifestyle. In the business side of things, you may have other fees that may add to your financial stresses like business permits, equipment, and machinery essentials in your field of work and taxes.

Expensive houses lead to no cash.

Truth be told, moving is not an easy thing to do. It is as if you need all the calculators in the world just to run keep track of things. Whether you have the right amount funds or not, affordability still plays a major aspect in a lot of things, yet it is especially important to be considered in the field of real estate.

P Is For Preferences

You always have to follow your heart, especially when you are trying to buy a new home. A key factor on living the best way and finding a perfect home is that it suits you and your personality.

A lavish mansion.

The analogy is pretty simple. If you think a house’s rooms are stacked and lack space, then you might just find yourself constricted. Find a house that satiates your eyes and lets you breathe. If you think a home’s ceiling is too low, then you may just realize that you’re planted and can’t go any higher.

Buy a home that lets you get up in the morning with no problem, and you can feel the sense of accomplishment with the newest purchase

You have to be satisfied in the home you are prospecting to buy. It is YOUR home anyway. With a sense of having to follow your preferences comes the feeling of being truly at home. If you want a house that is child friendly, then you must purchase a house that has room for a child to grow and thrive. If you are an enthusiast for food, then you might want a place in the house to fill the equipment you need in your kitchen, or rather, a large kitchen.

The list goes on and on with regard to satisfying what you want for your home. What better way to do that than make your house a representation of you? Trusting your intuition is the right thing to do. This is also important in trying to find the best house that says ‘this is the one.’

Moving from one place to another is a part of life that everyone needs to face sooner or later. Since there are a lot of factors you must consider in moving, it becomes almost confusing and mind-boggling. This is why you should look at the most important ones which ultimately sum up the factors that need to be looked at.

It is significant that you consider comfort from your potential home. If you find yourself comfortable in a house, also try considering security and safety. Doing so can help you feel as protected as possible, and that’s important.

Then again, you always have to look out for the affordability of the place. If you have the right amount of money, then you should just go for it. If you don’t, there are always the other ones which give you the same comfort factor. After all, you should follow your preferences.

It is important that you contemplate your wants and needs in your home. Make your place a symbol of prosperity, comfort and security. You may just find yourself living in perfect harmony if you pay close attention to these things.

7 Marketing Strategies for Real Estate Agents

Selling real estate has always been a very competitive business. Agents have created numerous strategies to sell houses, hotels, condos, and apartments. However, most of the time, they aren’t very effective. It could be that the buyers are conservative, or it could be that there are real estate agents who are too aggressive for their own good.

Then again, you don’t need to make a huge step – such as spending a lot of money in a TV advertisement – just to sell property. Perhaps you’re just not doing the small things that really matter to your clients. Clients are humans, just as you are, and they have quite the understandable psyche when it comes to choosing their future homes.

A cutout home.

Nowadays, clients prefer going to social media and browsing listing websites first to look for their needs before they go to open houses. They go to these measures to be more knowledgeable on the market because buying a house is an enormous financial step – for anyone. Clients don’t outright post things like “we buy Houston houses”; they want you to be the cowboy that brings them safely to their Texan dreamland.

To make the sale, it is imperative to understand your clientele, and to understand the marketing strategies that will ultimately help you sell that property.

1. Make Yourself Social Media-Accessible 

If you’re not on social media right now, the general consensus is that you’re a nobody. A few real estate agents are starting to build up their social media profiles, and you should too. Make sure you have social media accounts on all the main channels; Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, and especially Instagram – to showcase all the beautiful homes you’re trying to flip.

Interact with users, share good press, and promote your properties.

The agent's guide to social media.

Social media greatly helps in building a good reputation when it comes to accessibility: clients and potential buyers will definitely choose a real estate agent who can easily be contacted through social. It’s a testament to how “in-touch” you are, which can boost your reputation tremendously.

Also, if you can provide a good way to entice the customers (perhaps by making good snaps of your houses through Instagram, interior shots in Pinterest, or maybe a 360-degree video of the house through Facebook), you can easily attract more clients.

2. Paint Pictures

Here’s the thing: you’re not just selling a house, you’re selling a residence; a home; a safe, loving place. With the concept of residence, you should understand that the house is situated in a greater area or a flourishing town. It would be very helpful in attracting buyers if you can paint the picture of the general area on where your houses are.

Maybe it is deep into the concrete jungle of New York. If so, paint the picture of your house sitting comfortably amidst the busy streets, showing accessibility to most workplaces. Take pictures of lush sceneries around the place you’re trying to flip.

Snap pictures and post on social media and you can entice customers who look at the bigger picture before buying their own home.

3. Hire A Photographer

Much like any other commercial product, real estate can be sold with good first impressions. Successful real estate relies heavily on great photography, and that’s the truth. Bad photos will diminish interest in even the greatest of properties.

It’s absolutely vital that you have attractive photos of your properties. Hire a professional photographer (preferably with experience photographing homes and architecture), or, if you have sophisticated equipment and are confident in your abilities, have your own hand at it. Just remember that this is one of those times when it pays to bring in a professional.

Photographers, or artists in general, understand the psychology of pictures: the right angle to choose, the correct color scheme, or the best lighting time to take pictures. Because of their expertise, they can attract buyers to tender your real estate service. This tip also goes well with having social media set-up and can help in painting the picture that you want to show to potential clients.

4. Create A Killer Website

Aside from social media, people are looking at websites first before they go to open houses. As a rule of thumb, if you have a disorganized website (or no website at all), there is a big chance that they won’t trust you. So if you need to hire a web developer, do so because it could mean the difference between a huge sale or another missed opportunity.

Get a website!

Today’s consumers prefer to start their legwork online when making major purchases and that does not exclude purchasing real estate. This is where they look up vital information about the possible houses they would buy – like where it is located, how near it is to key places, how much it is, and much more.

Make it easy for users to access all this information – get all your property pages up with great photos, virtual tours and descriptions, and easy access to Google Maps and Google Earth for added convenience.

5. Start a Nurture Campaign

Nurture campaigns are like the breadcrumb paths that Hansel and Gretel followed, except that instead of an evil house at the end, your clients find their dream home.

Lead nurturing is the process of developing relationships with buyers at every stage of the sales funnel, and through every step of the buyer’s journey. It focuses on marketing and communication efforts by listening to the needs of prospects, and providing the information and answers they need.

Your real estate agent has the keys to your next home.

Basically, what you want to do is to leave your clients a trail of quality breadcrumbs (that they should see subconsciously) by tinkering your interactions with them based on previous actions that they’ve taken.

It works like this: if they first attended an open house with you, send them an email about other nearby houses on the market. While you’re with them, try to know what their likes and dislikes are. In this way, you can lead them into some of your other houses available for selling.

Another example is if they attended your first time homebuyer’s seminar, send them your “10 Things Every New Homebuyer Should Know” eBook if you have one. This could lead them to a conclusion that your services are better (but do not make false advertising!). Deliver content that will help your clients take the appropriate next step, depending on where they are in their journey to finding their dream home.

6. Create A Newsletter

Email marketing is one of the best strategies for building client relationships. It costs less for you, and it is an easy-access guide for your clients.

Collect emails from your website, local outreach, or any other methods you can think of. Add them into the mix your nature campaign strategies, and your email marketing is ready to take on more clients. Also, make sure that you send your subscribers informative emails that they might be looking for, such as notices about upcoming open houses, new houses on the market, news about seminars you’re offering in the area, etc.

7. Establish Sponsorships

Consider helping sponsor local festivals, sports teams, or school events. You can also create mini events that can help you promote your brand and service. In this way, you can build a trusting relationship to your potential clients.

According to Naomi Marks of Marketing Donut, small firms can get good publicity and create valuable goodwill by sponsoring a local team, event or good cause – and it doesn’t have to break the bank. This marketing strategy is cheaper than most marketing strategies, and is still very effective.