Archives For Homebuyers

 

Is it possible to take a selfie of a house? Not only is it possible, it’s imperative—88% of prospective homebuyers say that they want to see photos first.

Instagram has set the bar for visual inspiration, with tastemakers, celebrities, and brands posting to the photo-driven social network. So it makes sense that sellers and agents look to the platform for tips on how to best represent homes online.

We rounded up the five most important tips for achieving the ultimate “house selfie.”

1. Snap the details. While it’s important to include major features and overall rooms, it’s also helpful to include details that make the house unique. Whether it’s crown moulding, built-in shelving, or luxe fixtures, show why your home stands apart.

2. Take lots of photos. Taking the “perfect” photo creates a lot of pressure. Once you get into the flow, it’s easy to snap dozens of pics. The more, the better—you’ll find that it’s easier to experiment with composition and lighting when you know you have a large reserve of shots.

3. Be a ruthless editor. Since you have so many photos to choose from, it will be easy to narrow down the best images. Consider diversity when selecting photos to represent your home, both in terms of style and what is shown. Ask for input from trusted sources when reviewing your final selection.

4. Frame, don’t filter. It’s important that the images you choose don’t create a “bait and switch” scenario for prospective buyers. To that end, don’t use filters to enhance your photos. Instead, rely on images that frame the house

5. Follow influencers for inspiration. If you feel unsure of what makes a good photo, follow some design influencers on Instagram to learn more. Here are just a few of our personal favorites:

Bloggers

Old Brand New

Apartment Therapy

The Design Files

Bright Bazaar

Design Sponge

Interior Designers/Architects

Grant K. Gibson

House of Honey

Kelly Wearstler

Jasper Conran

The Architext

Image: @thedesignfiles

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

The Millennial generation (those born between 1980 and 2000) is currently the second largest segment of homebuyers behind Generation X. As this group is only expected to grow, it is important to understand the different wants and expectations of younger buyers.

Here are 6 home “must-haves” of homebuyers under 35:

1. Updated kitchen and bath. The majority of Millennials are looking for updated kitchen and bathrooms because they simply cannot afford remodeling. “Most of their savings will go toward the down payment and furnishings,” explains Jack Curtis, a real estate professional in Dublin, Ohio.

2. Big kitchen, open floorplan. The kitchen is the center of the home and seen as a hang out place for many young buyers. In addition, Curtis says that “today’s young buyers are also more attracted to an open floor plan, rather than a layout that compartmentalizes the home”.

3. Home office. Due to advances in technology, many Millennials now have the option of working from home making home offices more appealing.

4. Location. Younger buyers tend to see location differently from their parents, says Chicago real estate broker Allison Nichols; “My younger buyers look for properties that are in proximity to public transportation and that have a good walking score.”

5. Low maintenance. According to broker Lou Cardillo, “Younger homebuyers prefer low upkeep features in their homes such as hardwood floors and granite countertops because they are attractive and hassle-free.”

6. Online photos. Younger buyers tend to start their searches online, which makes good quality photos more important than ever. According to the National Association of Realtors, 90% of buyers use the internet to search for homes.

The article can be found in its original form on ABC News.

Photo: Homedit

There are many ways that consumers can save energy and spend less––adding insulation, buying a programmable thermostat, replacing single-pane windows, and installing a solar water heater, to name a few; however, many homeowners are considering energy efficient mortgages as an alternate way to go green at home.

Energy-efficient mortgages are a great way to maximize efficiency and finance the cost of improvements that will help you save energy. Fannie Mae, the Federal Housing Administration, and the Veterans Administration loan program all offer energy-efficient mortgages. Though you may make a higher monthly payment, lenders will not move forward with the project unless they believe your home will net cost savings.

In addition to the financial benefits, energy improvements will also help boost your home’s value. According to the Shelton Group, 81% of consumers say energy efficiency “somewhat-to-very-much” affects their home buying decision.

This post can be found in its original form on US News.

Photo: Inhabitat

Homebuyers know that finding the right property can sometimes feel like an overwhelming process with an incredible number of things to consider––location, square footage, number of rooms, backyard. And while we’ve already addressed the things you should check before buying a home, to make the process a little easier, here are 5 things NOT to worry about while house hunting:

1. Paint color––If your style is simple and classic, it can be difficult to envision yourself in a home with a purple kitchen; however, it’s important to remember that the color of the walls is one of the cheapest and easiest changes to make in a home.

2. Furniture/Style––Keep in mind that a home’s decor is only temporary and will be leaving with the previous owners. Do your best to imagine the home as a blank slate.

3. Architectural details (or lack thereof)––Does that wood paneling make you feel like you’re in a hunting lodge? Or have you always dreamed of crown molding? Though you might assume these details can make or break a property, they are actually quite easy to add or remove.

4. Light––Nothing is less home-y feeling than walking in to a dark, cave-like space; but before you dismiss a home completely, consider what small changes you could make to add some light. Are there trees or bushes blocking the windows? Are the windows too small for the room?

5. Current layout––Try to look past how the current owner is using a particular space and look at the bones of the room. Maybe you don’t throw a lot of dinner parties but could really use a family room––consider changing that dining room into your den. Or perhaps that extra bedroom would make a great home office.

This post can be found in its original form on Apartment Therapy

Photos: 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

House for sale in Santa Clarita, CA, one of the 10 safest mid-sized cities in America.

Did you know that in some cases, mid-sized cities have a higher crime rate than large cities? By looking at the 2013 FBI crime statistics for cities with residential populations between 126,047 and 210,309, Movoto ranked 100 mid-sized cities by crime-rate.

Here are the 10 safest mid-sized cities in the nation:

  1. Glendale, CA
  2. Santa Clarita, CA
  3. Sunnyvale, CA
  4. Naperville, IL
  5. Cary, NC
  6. Thousand Oaks, CA
  7. Oxnard, CA
  8. Aurora, IL
  9. Huntington Beach, CA
  10. Torrance, CA

This article can be found in its original form on Movoto

Photo: Househappy.org