Archives For Buyers

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Brooklyn has been buzzing for some time now, from Park Slope parents to Williamsburg hipsters. Now, another neighborhood is drawing the attention of homebuyers looking to invest—Gowanus.

Once one of the most polluted waterways in the country, Gowanus borders the neighborhoods of Red Hook and South Brooklyn to the west, Park Slope to the east, and Sunset Park to the south. It’s also the site of Brooklyn’s first Whole Foods grocery store, and developers are eyeing the location for a 700-unit rental project right along the canal. But beyond gourmet groceries, an influx of creative entrepreneurs, musicians, and artists has made this neighborhood popular.

We found a few properties posted on Househappy that are in or on the edge of Gowanus.

This nearly 1,000-square-foot condo features two bedrooms, two updated baths, a renovated custom kitchen, washer/dryer, wood burning fireplace, terrace, and additional basement storage, along with very low maintenance in a co-op that has just paid off their underlying mortgage.

168 Huntington St. is listed by Nielsen Sadownick Team.

This two bedroom, two bath condo features keyed elevator access directly into the apartment. An open, sun-filled layout offers 984 square feet of living space, beautiful hardwood floors throughout, washer/dryer, high ceilings, a private storage unit, and a balcony. The modern kitchen has granite countertops and stainless-steel appliances.

391 Dean St. is listed by Rodolfo Lucchese.

Gowanus Canal Photo: Instagram

Some prefer to buy move-in-ready homes that require little work, but not this couple. Joel and Heidi Allen purchased a tiny foreclosure with an extensive renovation in mind.

The couple turned this boring 1970s suburban ranch into a beautiful modern home. The renovation included the addition of two carports, a larger entryway and kitchen, and even a second story with lake views. The most amazing part? Joel and Heidi did most of the work themselves. Now that’s impressive.

This article can be found in its original form on Design Sponge.

Photos: Design Sponge

Sellers are often surprised to hear that it isn’t always big changes that get a potential buyer’s attention. Rather than admiring that expensive new bathroom, buyers are more likely to notice that the kitchen drawers don’t open properly or that the floor is scuffed. Before you spend thousands of dollars on major renovations, check out Houzz‘s checklist of inexpensive upgrades that may help sell your house:

Quick-clean the exterior and landscape. Make sure your home’s curb appeal is top notch by checking that your garage doors are working properly and gutters are clean. For your yard, cut the lawn, trim the bushes, and wipe down any lawn furniture.

Make the door and doorbell stand out. Give your doorway a fresh coat of paint and make sure that the doorbell actually rings. Even if many homeowners don’t use the front door, it is the first area prospective buyers will see up close.

Evaluate every entrance. Think about the entrances to every room and update hinges or knobs if needed.

Look down. Most people will come inside a home and wipe their feet; when they do, they’ll be noticing the flooring, so make sure your carpets are clean and your floors are polished.

Select the right scent. A musty scent is the last thing prospective buyers want to smell when they walk into a home. Find a scent that you love and use it throughout the house—a scented candle goes a long way.

Spot treat any blemishes. Fix scuff marks, fill nail holes, and paint cracks so that your walls and moldings look as good as new.

Have a place for everything. Tuck away or neatly organize things to eliminate clutter. You can always add extra storage if needed.

Check the tracks. Make sure all drawers open smoothly. Buying new tracks and tightening handles are much cheaper fixes than replacing cabinetry.

Give the appliances some elbow grease. Clean your oven, refrigerator, sink, and any other appliance that will be included in the home.

Finish with finishes. Replacing faucets, showerheads, and towel racks are low-cost updates that can brighten up a bathroom.

This article can be found in its original form on Houzz.

Photos: Houses for sale via Househappy.org

medium_e5334f5e-cc6a-409e-bf04-0d845d7f0021Remodeling spending is expected to jump in 2014 as the housing market steadies and homeowners begin to look at adding value to their homes. The following five areas are where homeowners are expected to spend the most remodeling dollars this year:

Bathrooms: An updated bathroom can be a huge advantage when selling a home. Furthermore, remodeling a bathroom is often one of the less expensive rooms to make over. Homeowners are likely to recoup 72.5% of the cost at resale according to Remodeling Magazine’s annual Cost vs. Value report.

Kitchens: Even a minor kitchen remodel (replacement of cabinet fronts, oven and cooktop, countertops, sink and faucet, and flooring) is shown to recoup 82.7% at resale.

Exterior Updates: After kitchens and baths, landscaping projects are high on the remodeling list for homeowners, said Liza Hausman, Houzz’s Vice President of Community. Many people choose to create outdoor entertainment spaces to add more usable square footage to their existing home.

Age-in-place improvements: Remodeling the first floor to create a master bedroom and bath is a common way for retirees to reconfiguring their space to prepare for the years ahead.

Additions: Adding on a family room, expanding the kitchen, or building a master suite are all more expensive projects and will be lucrative for contractors and designers in 2014. Large additions were shown to recoup 68.8% of their cost at resale.

This article can be found in its original form on MarketWatch.

Photo: Househappy.org

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View from a home for sale in Oakland, CA; via Househappy.

These ten major metro areas are expected to see the biggest increase in home prices this year according to CoreLogic Case-Shiller’s latest home price forecast:

1. Oakland, California
Median home price: $545,000
Forecast gain through Sept. 2014: 9.3%

2. Fort Worth, Texas
Median home price: $181,300
Forecast gain through Sept. 2014: 8.9%

3. New Orleans, Louisiana
Median home price: $163,000
Forecast gain through Sept. 2014: 8.7%

4. Richmond, Virginia
Median home price: $220,600
Forecast gain through Sept. 2014: 8.5%

5. Hartford, Connecticut
Median home price: $234,000
Forecast gain through Sept. 2014: 8.3%

6. Tampa, Florida
Median home price: $177,000
Forecast gain through Sept. 2014: 8%

7. Baltimore, Maryland
Median home price: $299,000
Forecast gain through Sept. 2014: 8%

8. Birmingham, Alabama
Median home price: $174,000
Forecast gain through Sept. 2014: 7.8%

9. New York
Median home price: $440,000
Forecast gain through Sept. 2014: 7.4%

10. Memphis, Tennessee
Median home price: $122,000
Forecast gain through Sept. 2014: 7.3%

This article can be found in its original form on CNN Money.

Photos: Househappy.org

Every January, Park City, Utah draws in tens of thousands of movie fans to attend the annual Sundance Film Festival. This influx of nonresidents creates a huge opportunity for real estate agents to up their game and attract potential buyers.

Park City is the lesser-known Hollywood ski town when compared to Aspen, Colorado; however, many celebrities choose Park City because they can keep a low profile there. Celebrities from Michael Jordan to Katherin Heigl own homes in this ski town.

While many locals see the Sundance Film Festival as two weeks of crowded restaurants and paparazzi, real estate agents see the festival as a boost in business. They find ways to turn the thousands of nonresidents who visit into potential buyers––especially those who are looking for an escape from Hollywood.

“I love Sundance. I have sold so many homes through Sundance. At least one person will fall in love with Park City. They may not buy that week but they come back,” says Paul Benson, an agent at Summit Sotheby’s International Realty, who sold three homes for a total of $27 million last year to people exposed to Park City through Sundance. Mr. Benson says the potential buyers aren’t just in the entertainment industry, they are also the investors and the corporate sponsors. He hosts dinners and events to get to know them.

According to a study by the University of Utah Bureau of Economic and Business Research, of the more than 30,000 nonresidents who attended Sundance last year, some 40% said they would return to Utah during the following year.

As far as the real estate market in the Park City area goes, nearly 70% of homes are second homes. The average price for a single-family home in 2013 was $929,000 up about 6% from the previous year, according to the city’s department of economic development. Last year, 34 homes sold for over $4 million and the number of building permits for new homes was up 50%.

In the end, wining and dining festival attendees seems to pay off for real estate agents.

Source: WSJ

Photo: World Ski

8 Mortgage Tips for 2014

Househappy —  January 17, 2014 — 2 Comments

mortgage-ratesEarly 2014 might be a good time for buyers and homeowners to grab a low mortgage rate. If you keep your finances in order and act quickly, you will still have time to grab a great mortgage deal.

These 8 mortgage tips from MSN Real Estate can help you with your decisions in 2014:

1. Document your finances. With the new mortgage rules going into effect this month, lenders will be extra diligent when underwriting loans. Make sure to keep records of your finances, including bank statements, tax returns, W-2s and other assets you own. Lastly, be ready to explain any unusual deposits to your accounts to help close your loan faster.

2. Lock a rate as soon as you can. Rates will likely increase during the year with the Federal Reserve reducing the pace of the economic stimulus program. If you are planning to get a mortgage, lock in a rate as soon as you are able to.

3. Refinance now – if you still can. Those who are still paying more than 5 percent interest on their home loans might still have an opportunity to refinance at a lower rate. It doesn’t hurt to try. Talk to a loan officer and have them look over the numbers.

4. Buyers, use your bargaining power. Lenders lost a big portion of their refinance business when mortgage rates increased. This year, they will give more attention to homebuyers thus creating more competition. Buyers should take advantage of bargaining power and should shop around for the best deal and look beyond the interest rate on the loan.

5. Learn your rights as a borrower. Mortgage borrowers will get more new rights as consumers when the new mortgage rules go into effect this year. Make sure to be aware of your rights so you don’t run into any problems.

6. Take good care of your credit. If you are planning to get a mortgage, make sure to monitor your credit history and score until your loan closes. For the best rates, keep your credit score around 720 or above.

7. Don’t overspend. Lenders won’t want to give you a loan if you have little money left over at the end of each month. Try to keep your debt obligations below 43 percent of your income.

8. Consider alternative mortgage options such as ARMs. Depending on your plans, and how long you think you will keep your house, there are many different mortgage options. Rates on adjustable-rate mortgages can be as much as one percentage point lower than on fixed-rate loans. Although if you don’t know how long you plan to keep your home, a fixed-rate loan may be the better choice.

This article can be found in its original form on MSN Real Estate.

Photo: Total Mortgage