7 Staging Tips to Win with Buyers

This Guest Blog was written by the Professional Stagers at Chancellor Designs. Here are their recommended staging tips to help you win with home buyers and help sell your home:

Today’s market moves fast. Buyers expect to either find a “great deal” on a house with some rough edges, or fall madly in love with a move-in ready home. Home Staging gets your home ready to be the latter, making sure that buyers connect emotionally with your home and make a top offer. We focus on the things that increase the market value of your home, setting the stage for love at first sight.

There are seven key areas to get a home ready to win over potential buyers.

1. De-clutter and Organize
Removing extra furniture helps rooms appear more spacious and creates a flow. Also, keeping objects that are not needed for everyday use stored away, rather than displayed on horizontal surfaces, makes a home feel orderly and peaceful for showings. As an added bonus, it will help you with the impending move as you are packing up anyway!

2. Deferred Maintenance, Updates and Repairs
Has that “honey do” list piled up? Now is the time to tackle it. Completing any deferred maintenance ensures that buyers can move right in without hesitation. Consider additional updates that, though relatively inexpensive, add value to your home and get buyers excited, such as new light fixtures, appliances (almost always receive your money back) or a backsplash. If you’re at a loss for inspiration, seek out an expert opinion to get the ball rolling and to help you make the right design choices that will be most appealing to your target audience.

3. Paint
Paint is an inexpensive update with a significant return on investment. A fresh coat of a current neutral color palette makes a room fresh and inviting. Not to mention a crisp paint job creates the feeling of cleanliness. This kitchen feels brand new with just a coat of paint.

Before & After:
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4. Curb Appeal
First impressions speak the loudest. Ensure that the yard is tidy and well-watered. Fresh mulch and flowers go a long way in attracting buyers (another investment almost surely to more than pay for itself). Curb appeal makes potential buyers excited to see the inside of the home and ensure they’ll do more than a quick drive bye without venturing inside. When it comes to home buying, people definitely judge the book by its cover. Read More

May 2015 RMLS Market Action Report

The just released May 2015 RMLS Market Action shows a 1.7 month inventory, which is the lowest we’ve seen in 10 years. In addition, average prices have increased and the market time has dropped to a staggering 55 days. This amount includes the time in escrow, which means homes spent an average of a couple of weeks on the market. Check out our latest infographic below:

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New listings are up compared to last month, but still lower than a year ago. This plus a solid increase in closed sales has contributed to the decreased inventory. A shortage of listings is driving a seller’s market where multiple offers in some areas is the new norm. Interest rates are starting to creep up which may cool the market (but if Greece’s economy crashes and burns it may help our rates).

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Home Odor Removal

Does your home have a strong odor problem? If you have pets, smoke or cook aromatic food, it may. If your home has gone through remediation because of fire or flooding, it also might need home odor removal. It’s not something many homeowners want to think about.

Typically when we discuss odor removal, the options include treatments that require a lot of time, money and labor.  Often, the conversation includes removing carpets and the pads under them, sealing with Killz, or the “ozone machine.” Now, there is a new method that might be a viable option.

You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression.

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March Case Shiller – Showing Promise

This morning, S&P Dow Jones Indices posted the latest results of the S&P/Case Shiller Home Price Indices. Case Shiller looks at information with a 60 day lag, so this latest report covers March 2015. The Case-Shiller Indices compare home prices by looking at actual current home sales and comparing them with previous selling prices for that home.

A look at the 10-city composite shows a year-over-year change of +4.7% in prices, while the 20-city composite (including the Portland metro) saw a +5.0% change. Portland metro, specifically saw an increase of 6.9%, which is evident in our current seller’s market. Read More

The April 2015 RMLS Market Action

The April 2015 RMLS Market Action report for the Portland metro was just posted today. It covers the home sale data for the previous month – in this case, April. The data shows another drop in inventory in months. This trend has kept us at 2005 inventory levels while we are seeing a significant increase in available listings. The available inventory just can’t keep up with home sales. The results include an increased average price worth noting and low average time on market.

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February Case Shiller: Solid Growth

The February Case Shiller Index was just released this week. This report covers home price changes over 20 metropolitan areas and always has a 60 day lag.

The latest data shows continued solid growth with a 0.68% monthly change for the Portland Metro. This is higher than the 0.50% increase for the 20 city composite. We are still not on pace for the average 4% since January 2000. However, the rate we’ve averaged in the last three years is just under 10% which shows solid growth for our area. It’s unknown how long this rate will continue. However, we’re

Below is a graph showing the current data for the Portland Metro. I have included the 4% line of expected average growth. As you can see, the recent growth rate is edging us closer to where we would be if the growth had been steady since 2000.

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The ABCs of Loan Pre-Approval

This guest blog post about the loan pre-approval process has been written by Shane Musselwhite of Guild Mortgage. If you have questions about the loan process or your specific situation, inquire with a trusted mortgage professional.

DeathtoStock_Creative Community8I know the feeling: the intimidation and concern that comes from going to meet with a stranger to talk about money. I experience a bit of it myself when applying for a loan of any kind and I’ve worked in lending and finance for over 30 years. Above all I hope first time buyers will look at the process as an education that can eventually lead to one of the largest and most important steps in their financial life.

I can’t tell you how many times I have met with clients who walked through my door with concern and fear, and 15 minutes into our meeting, I knew that they were well positioned to purchase their first home. An experienced lender is not in the business to pass judgment and you don’t need to be bashful about your finances. Chances are I have counseled with and helped clients just like you. Read More

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6 Home Improvement Projects that Add Value

Your home is an investment. Home improvements, repairs, and renovations can add value to that investment. However, not all improvements are alike. Whatever your budget is, we want to offer you the projects that will yield the highest returns. Here are six of our favorite home improvement projects that add value to your property.

Getting Started
When considering home improvement projects that add value, look at curb appeal and common areas to bring the highest return on investment. This means the landscaping and entryway as well as the kitchen. The master suite can also be a great starting point. Read More

Low Real Estate Inventory in the Portland Metro

The March 2015 RMLS Market Action report released Monday shows the Portland Metro housing inventory at 1.9 months!  It hasn’t been that low since September 2005. The number of homes listed has been rising over recent months but that is counter balanced by even more rapid sales which pushes the inventory ratio down.

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The Portland metro for this report includes five counties – from Yamhill to Clark. While some areas saw a very low inventory – including 1.1 months in the Beaverton/Aloha area, 1.3 months in NE Portland, and 1.5 in SE Portland, other areas such as Mt. Hood and Yamhill County were considerably higher at 5.8 and 4.1, respectively. Below is a heat map showing the region’s inventory level by zip code.

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Click for interactive version.

If you’re curious about previous high and low real estate inventory and RMLS market data for the Portland metro, search our blog.

Listing Photography – the Good, the Bad, the Ugly

You may have seen our Facebook post about real estate photography gone horribly wrong. That link gave many people a good chuckle, but can you imagine if it was your own home? Sadly, many real estate agents, for one reason or another, choose not to use professional photography.  Beyond the studies that show that listings with professional photographs sell faster and for more money, we want buyers to make an appointment to see your home to verify what they see online, not walk through listings that don’t meet their criteria.  Better photos result in better qualified showings.

DSC_0009Putting a home on the market involves more than just snapping a few pictures, putting a sign in the yard, and posting to the MLS. It’s entirely likely that the day the photographer arrives at your home it will be the best your home has ever looked.  The landscaping will be fresh, everything will be put away in it’s place, the clutter gone or packed away (you’re moving anyways so you might was well get an early start), you may have had staging done with your possessions or rented furniture.  All the things that put your home in the best light.  We’ve heard more than once, “We should have done this years ago.” Read More