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5 DIY Tips for Home Staging on the Cheap

 

 

Your home’s been on the market for a while now, and you’re not getting any offers. Your real estate agent has suggested professional staging, but that’s just not in the budget. What’s a desperate home seller to do?

You might consider a staging consultation. Many home stagers will provide room-by-room assessments for homeowners, offering tips about paint colors, furniture placement, improving traffic patterns and more. Most consultations last about two hours and won’t break the bank at $150 to $250.

Or, you can use these five low-cost, do-it-yourself staging tips to create a space that sells:

No. 1: Cut the clutterhouseforsale219

Get boxes and tape, and start packing. Clothes, books, toys, extra pots and pans – pack up everything you don’t absolutely need during the next two or three months. Remember that potential buyers will be opening closets and drawers; if it looks like there’s not room for your things, buyers will assume storage will be tight for them as well.

Too much furniture can also make a space look cluttered. Your home will look bigger if it’s not jam-packed. Go through the house room by room and ask yourself what you can live without. See if your friends are willing to store your things until the house sells, or consider renting a short-term storage unit.

No. 2: Let the sunshine in

“I advise homeowners to open all their window coverings,” says Maureen Bray, owner of Portland, OR-based Rooms Solution Staging. “Don’t just open the blinds — raise them to the top to allow people to see the view and let in light. Home buyers love light, bright rooms.”

Of course, that means windows must be cleaned inside and out, and window sills need to be wiped down.

Got a view you’re not so crazy about showcasing? Consider blinds that can be angled to let in light, or hang sheer panels.

What if you have those heavy, expensive, custom drapes and valances that were popular 20 years ago? “Take them down,” says Bray. “You got your money’s worth out of them. Today’s buyers want light.”

No. 3: Clean, then clean some more

“I always tell people, ‘Clean like there’s no tomorrow.’” says Bray. “A really clean house gives buyers the impression that it has been well-maintained.”

Unfortunately, a one-time cleaning won’t do the trick. You’ll need to keep at it until your house sells. Knock down cobwebs, wipe counter tops, scrub grout, mop floors, wash light fixtures and repeat.

If cleaning bathtubs and wiping down baseboards is simply not your area of expertise, consider hiring a weekly cleaning service. Yes, it’s an investment, but if it shortens your selling time, it’s money well spent.

No. 4: Set the scene

Want buyers to fall in love with your house the moment they see it? First impressions matter. Your lawn must be mowed and edged, bushes must be trimmed, and flower beds must be weeded and topped with fresh mulch or bark. Add colorful flowers near the front door, either in flowerbeds or pots.

You’ll make your home even tougher to resist if you borrow or rent a power washer to clean grimy sidewalks, driveways, stairs and decks. Remember: You want everything to look fresh, fresh, fresh.

No. 5: Take new photos

Once you’ve decluttered, cleaned and planted flowers, take new photos of your home.

According to a 2011 survey, 88 percent of buyers say their home search relies, at least in part, on online listings. It’s important that the photos used in those listings and printed fliers reflect the improvements you’ve made to your home. Photos that showcase your decluttered, squeaky clean, curb-appeal-laden abode will appeal to a broader range of home buyers.

 

 

 

http://www.zillowblog.com/2013-03-07/5-diy-tips-for-home-staging-on-the-cheap/

Homes for sale remain in low supply

house for sale

 

 

The supply of homes for sale is still unusually tight as the spring buying season opens, helping sellers by turning up the heat on already-rising prices.

 

The number of homes listed for sale on real estate website Zillow was down almost 17% in late February vs. a year earlier. In some California markets, they were down more than 40%, Zillow data show.

The supply crunch is likely to last all year, says IHS Global Insight economist Patrick Newport. “We’re still not building enough homes.”

While the U.S. is creating about 1.1 million new households a year, housing starts in January came in at an 890,000 annual rate, the government says.

But as prices rise, more owners will be motivated to sell, easing supply shortages, economists say.

Home prices were up 7.3% in the fourth quarter from a year before, Standard & Poor’s Case-Shiller data show. That was a much faster rise than most economists expected for 2012.

Nationwide, the supply of homes for sale — based on the pace of sales — fell in January to 4.2 months, the National Association of Realtors says. That’s an almost eight-year low. A six-month to seven-month supply is considered balanced between buyers and sellers.

The availability of the most expensive homes in the markets Zillow tracks has tightened more than those at lower price levels.

Homes for sale in what Zillow defines as the top price tier in each market fell by almost 21% in February compared to a year ago. By comparison, the inventory of homes in the middle tier dropped 17% and those in the bottom tier fell 9%.

The price tiers vary by market, based on local prices.

Five California cities in Zillow’s survey are among those seeing the biggest inventory drops, ranging from a 48% decline in Sacramento to a 36% falloff in Riverside. But other cities are also seeing significantly fewer listings. New York is down almost 19%, Dallas-Fort Worth, nearly 21%, and Orlando is off 27%.

Only five of 99 metros showed an increase in listings, led by El Paso, up 19%, and Albuquerque, up 8%. Little Rock, Fort Myers, Fla., and Youngstown, Ohio, also saw increases.

 

 

http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/business/2013/03/10/supply-of-homes-for-sale-still-lagging/1972853/

Are banks easing up on mortgage standards?

Are banks easing up on mortgage standards?

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NEW YORK – March 6, 2013 – A very tight mortgage lending environment “promises improvements this year as the drivers of tough credit standards reverse,” according to Moody’s Analytics ResiLandscape Report. Still, lending will remain tight by historical standards, the report notes.

Tight underwriting conditions have been one of the main obstacles to a housing market recovery. But the credit agency says that those conditions began to ease somewhat this year and likely will continue to do so.

“Rising house prices give lenders more breathing room to extend credit,” the analysts at Moody’s noted.

Over the past year and a half, large lenders have loosened up or, at least, held standards stable on prime loans for mortgage originations, according to the Survey of Senior Lending Officers.

Aiding lenders’ confidence is that mortgage delinquencies have fallen to pre-recession rates.

“Being right-side up on the mortgage improves a borrower’s credit profile. It also lowers the risk of default and increases the likelihood of trade-up buying,” according to Moody’s report.

Mortgage supply will remain constrained, but “improved consumer credit quality combined with steady growth in jobs, low mortgage interest rates and modestly rising house prices makes it clear that more households will be able to qualify for a mortgage,” Moody’s said. “Greater credit availability will, in turn, help drive stronger home sales and stronger price appreciation.”

Source: “Slight opening of credit spigot aids housing outlook,” HousingWire (March 4, 2013)

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http://www.floridarealtors.org/NewsAndEvents/article.cfm?id=288341