Area Real Estate News & Market Trends

You’ll find our blog to be a wealth of information, covering everything from local market statistics and home values to community happenings. That’s because we care about the community and want to help you find your place in it. Please reach out if you have any questions at all. We’d love to talk with you!

June 18, 2018

REAL ESTATE Q&A: #1

You ask, we answer.

We get a lot of questions on a daily basis here at the office. We decided to start a new blog series where we answer common questions that we receive from buyers, sellers, and agents. If you have a question you would like answered, leave it in a comment below to be featured in the next Q&A blog.

Q: WHAT IS CLOSING COVERAGE?
A: All title companies are required to offer closing coverage protection. This usually runs from anywhere between $20 and $55. This is essentially insurance that protects buyers and sellers from title companies stealing money from them through fraud, theft, or anything else that would result in closing related funds not being properly disbursed. It is an individual’s decision for whether or not they will choose to pay for closing coverage protection.

photography of a person pointing on something Photo by: Lukas on Pexels.com

Q: SHOULD I USE A BUYER’S AGENT?
A: A buyer’s agent is a Real Estate Agent that specializes in representing the buyer, and the buyer only. This means that the Agent will always have the buyer’s best interest in mind. This cannot necessarily be said for an agent who is representing the seller and the buyer. Ask yourself: would you want to risk all of your information being shared with a seller by having the same agent as them? Using a buyer’s agent will also save you a lot of time because they will be the ones actively seeking homes and scheduling showings for you.

Q: WHAT IS AN ESCALATION CLAUSE?
A: An escalation clause is when a potential buyer tells the seller they will offer a predetermined amount more than what the opposing buyer is offering; up to a certain price. An example would be saying they will put in an offer $10,000 more than the opposing offer, up to $240,000. Mike Ferrante of the 21 Mike Team from Century 21 HomeStar suggests that this may not be the best route to take because then the seller knows your highest offer. He recommends just going in with your best offer instead of proposing an escalation clause.

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Q: SHOULD I GET A PRIVATE HOME INSPECTION?
A: The simple answer is yes! Think of it as spending a small fee in order to protect a large investment you will be making. Although your Realtor may be highly trained and experienced, you cannot rely on him or her when it comes to home inspections. You should leave it up to a trained home inspector that will take their time to do a thorough inspection on your home so that no potential problem goes unnoticed. There are three options after the home inspection results are available. The first option would be to go through with the deal if you are happy with the home and the turnout. The next option would be to discontinue the offer in the event that the home inspection did not go well. Or, as an alternative to walking away, you can request that the seller make repairs.

Q: WHAT IS A PRE-FORECLOSURE?
A: A pre-foreclosure typically takes place when a homeowner has stopped making payments on the house. The bank then begins steps towards foreclosure by issuing a foreclosure notice to the resident. During this time, the house is not open to be shown to potential buyers by Agents. However, Real Estate sites like Zillow will advertise these homes as listings in order to drive traffic to their platform.

Ask a question to be featured in the next Q&A series!

Written by: Amber Logan
21 Mike Team of Homestar Century 21, 31005 Bainbridge Rd #5, Solon, OH 44139
May 29, 2018

IMPORTANCE OF LISTING PHOTOS

Helpful tips for perfecting listing photos.

Buying a home is one of few instances where it is socially acceptable to judge something based off of looks. Most of the time, a potential buyer's first impression of a house is formed when they look at pictures of it online. The layout of real estate apps and websites ensure that the pictures of the houses are the first thing a potential buyer will see; this is significant because 90% of buyers are now house hunting online.

white wooden kitchen island    Photo by: Sarah Jane on Pexels.com

The more, the merrier. If a buyer is interested, they are going to want to see a lot of pictures of the property.

Photos taken professionally will make a greater impression. Consider hiring a professional photographer. If taking pictures on your own, use a camera of appropriate quality.

Good lighting is key for great photos. Photos taken during daytime will allow for natural light to assist in making the space feel open and airy in pictures.

Ensure the house is clean and decluttered before taking photos. It is hard for a buyer to imagine himself or herself living in your home if the pictures show the house filled with your possessions.

Put pictures of the home’s best features first. This will grab the attention of the potential buyers and keep them clicking to see more.

Rooms look best if photographed from the doorway. Photographing from the doorway allows for more of the room to be seen, thus allowing for a more accurate depiction of the room’s size.

Take some exterior photos from an angle. This will better show the dimension of a house.

Upkeep the landscape for exterior photos. Curb appeal is a big selling factor of a house, even in pictures.

architecture boating canal cottage   Photo by: Pixabay on Pexels.com

A picture is worth a thousand words.

Written by: Amber Logan
21 Mike Team of Century 21 Homestar, 31005 Bainbridge Rd #5, Solon, OH 44139
Posted in Seller Topics
May 24, 2018

GARAGE SALE 101

A way for your neighbors to find deals and you to make a profit.

Garage sales can be a fun and rewarding way to declutter your household: especially for those who are looking to move. About 50% of movers are said to have hosted garage sales of their own before putting their house on the market. Many of us are guilty of having belongings that are serving no purpose and just taking up space in our homes. This article will take you through the steps of putting on a garage sale while also providing helpful tips along the way.

 

SAY GOOBYE TO CLUTTER. The first step of putting on your garage sale is to go through your home and determine what is actually being used and what is not. Now is the time to gather the clothes that no one fits in, the toys that haven’t been touched in months, and that “As seen on TV” product that you haven’t even thought about since you brought it home from the store. You will soon begin to realize that you have a lot more stuff than you thought you did, however this is okay because soon it will be replaced by money in your pocket.

 

NOT ALL YOUR TRASH IS TREASURE. You don’t want to waste your time by pricing things that are not going to sell. Think about whether an item may be too worn or broken to sell to your neighbors. An alternative option for these items would be to donate them to your local thrift store; or if the condition is too poor for that, just throwing them away.

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Photo by: Mike Mozart

THE PRICE IS RIGHT. Two completely different routes can be taken when it comes to pricing your items. First, is the most obvious option. Come up with simple prices that you would be comfortable selling your things for. Consider offering deals such as “Buy 1, Get 2 Free” for items such as plates or stuffed animals. The other route is to merely not price your items at all. Consumer Reports suggest that your garage sale customers are likely to offer higher prices than what you would have originally asked for if you let them come up with the prices they're willing to pay first.

PERFECT TIMING. It is most common for garage sales to occur on the weekend. This is due to the obvious fact that more people are able to attend due to not having to go to work. It is also smart to have the garage sale carry on through a span of 2 to 3 days. This will also maximize the amount of people that will be able to attend. A good range of days would be from Friday-Sunday. Also, consider inviting neighbors to also participate in the garage sale. People will be more likely to come if multiple homes are participating because then there will be more items available.

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Photo By: Dan Keck

GETTING THE WORD OUT. This is probably the most important step when it comes to maximizing the outcome of your sale. In order to sell anything, people have to come to your sale and in order for this to occur, people must know about the sale. Social media platforms can be used in order to promote your sale to family, friends, and surrounding neighbors. Try posting about it to community Facebook groups or on your neighborhoods Nextdoor app. The most common and earliest method would be to use physical signs to put up in the surrounding area. Some real estate offices- such as the 21 Mike Team of Century 21 Homestar- offer free to borrow professional garage sale signs to the community.

THE DAY HAS COME. Remember to relax. It may be stressful, but at the end of the day, garage sales are supposed to be a fun experience for all. Be friendly to your customers. Also, be prepared to negotiate. Don’t forget that any offer is a good offer taking into consideration that you were not even using these items beforehand.

THE AFTERMATH. It is very unlikely to sell everything that you put out for your garage sale, so don’t feel defeated if you don’t. Since one of the main goals of a garage sale is to free up space in your house, you do not want to end up putting these leftover items back in your home. Once again, you can donate to your local thrift store or give the items away for free to a friend. If you’re still set on making more money, take a shot at using a platform such as eBay to sell the items online.

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Photo by: Mike Mozart

Now you’re a yard sale PRO. Good Luck on your new venture!

Written by: Amber Logan
21 Mike Team of Century 21 Homestar, 31005 Bainbridge Rd #5, Solon, OH 44139
Posted in Community Topics
May 23, 2018

A NEW APPROACH TO OPEN HOUSES

Everybody likes a party.

21 Mike Team of Century 21 Homestar is now encouraging team members to follow this open house approach.

Showing up minutes before the scheduled start time. Setting out flyers of the listing alongside a stack of your business cards. Waiting for a potential buyer to come through the door so you can recite your preplanned list of questions regarding whether or not a realtor already represents them.

You may recognize these all too familiar steps as part of your routine open house procedure. However, this is not always effective. If you are motivated to increase your open house attendance and interest for your listings, continue reading.

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DON’T FORGET THE NEIGHBORS. When advertising the open house, don’t forget about those who are right in front of you: the surrounding neighbors. Inviting the neighbors to the open houses is great exposure for you and your team: plus, you never know who might know someone that is in the market for a house or a Realtor to represent them. Arriving at least an hour early to the open house to door knock is very ideal.

AVOID THE AWKWARDNESS. In order to feel less invasive when doing pre-open house door knocking, bring along flyers of the home. Having something to give whoever opens the door will help alleviate a possible uncomfortable encounter. The flyer will also give the neighbor something to refer back to later on if need be. Also, if no one answers the door, you can leave a note on the flyer expressing your apologies for missing him or her and stick the flyer somewhere appropriate for the homeowner to see later.

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INCENTIVES ARE A NECESSITY. Other than to be nosy and get an inside look at their neighbor’s house, why else would a neighbor make an effort to attend your open house? Have something to offer the attendees of the open house such as simple fingerfoods. People will be more likely to attend if they know they will be able to get something free in addition to being able to view the house. This will also leave a great lasting impression of you and your agency on everyone who attends.

BE A FRIEND FIRST. It’s hard not to jump straight to the point when a potential buyer comes into the house by asking them whether or not an agent already represents them. However, this does not benefit you or the potential buyer. By you asking a yes or no response question, it gives the person an easy way to get out of the conversation: thus denying you the opportunity to talk more about your abilities and offerings as an agent. Coming straight out with this question may also bother the client because you are making it clear that you are only interested in talking to them in hopes of getting a deal. Try having a normal, friendly conversation beforehand. This can ease you into the questions you really want to ask, without making you seem intrusive. Remember to smile and make yourself approachable for questions that the potential buyers may have: but be mindful not to hover over them. You want everyone to leave the house with good thoughts on the house and the Realtor presenting it, you.

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CHOOSE ACCORDINGLY. Obviously it does not make sense to have every open house be a big event. Pick wisely. Decide which attributes of a house you want a house to have in order to be considered for this approach. Ask yourself, would it be beneficial to do this for a home’s first open house? Only for big houses? Maybe for homes that have been on the market for a long time? Is there an event going on in the close surrounding area the same day that could help drive traffic to the house? Has the home just had a significant price reduction? Is the neighborhood lively? It really depends on what homes you believe will benefit most form this approach. 

Think outside the box.

Written by: Amber Logan
21 Mike Team of Century 21 Homestar, 31005 Bainbridge Rd #5, Solon, OH 44139

 

Posted in Realtor Tips
May 22, 2018

SELLERS GUIDE TO MULTIPLE OFFERS

The exciting but stressful situation of receiving multiple offers on your house.

You put your house on the market: anxious to begin receiving offers or nervous that you won’t receive any in the time that you’re expecting. Finally, you receive an offer! ...And another! Maybe even a third. For some, it will be clear which offer they want to choose to accept. But what if all of the offers have their perks and you’re at a loss when it comes to which one to choose? You don’t have much time to decide, what should you do?

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Photo by: Siaron James

REVISIT YOUR ORIGINAL WANT AND NEEDS. At the end of the day, you should not accept anything that you will not be happy with in the long run. This is a big decision and milestone in your life. Remind yourself of what you originally asked for in terms of price, closing time, etc.. Write it down and refer back to this list when you compare the multiple offers that you have received.

ONE LAST OFFER. Before you sit down to make your final decision on the offers, present the potential buyers with an opportunity to put in their best and final offer. This gives them a chance to add any other extras or make any changes that could supply them with a better chance at being accepted, that they may have been holding back: which in return, gives you the opportunity to receive a better offer.

MONEY, MONEY, MONEY. One of the biggest, if not THE biggest, element of an offer: the price. It will be clear which offer is the best in this aspect: the higher one of course. However, even though this is a big component of the offer and your decision, beware of being blinded by the dollar signs. This article will mention other features that are also very important when it comes to deciding which offer to accept. Although it may be difficult -especially for a first time seller or a seller that is really looking to make the biggest profit- do not make the mistake of basing your decision solely off of price offering.

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Photo by: Pixabay on Pexels.com

TIME FOR A REALITY CHECK. This goes hand in hand with the step of comparing the price offers. You have to be 100% honest with yourself when asking thinking about this question: Is your house really worth as much as the potential buyers are offering? If so, great! If not, you have some thinking to do. Banks require home appraisals for people who are looking to receive money to aid in buying a home. If the appraisal finds that your house is actually worth significantly less than what you are trying to sell it for, the bank may reject the potential buyer’s request for money. Then, your buyer is suddenly unable to afford the original mortgage discussed.

WHAT MAKES IT UNIQUE? Is the buyer offering anything extra that you had not originally asked for or read in the competing offers? If a potential buyer is very interested in a house, they will sometimes include extras that will set their offer apart from others to show their interest in hopes that the seller will believe their deal to be the best. Examples of additional terms a potential buyer may offer are as follows: making a large down payment or deposit, paying some of the buyer’s closing costs, or offering to outbid any other bidders by a fixed amount.

CLOSING TIME. This is one that is only important if you need to sell the house by a certain time- or maybe even stay in it for a period of time. If you already have new living arrangements set up, you will more than likely want a closing date that is sooner rather than later. In this case, the offer with the quickest closing date will appeal to you. On the other hand, if you have yet to find or a close a deal on your next place, you will seek a closing time that will give you a little more flexibility when it comes to arranging your next living situation and moving out.

CONSIDER CONTINGENCIES. Contingencies are the criterion that has to be met by a seller in order for an accepted offer to become finalized. This means that the more contingencies a buyer has, the more likely it is for an error to occur that will result in the offer not being finalized. Then you will be back at square one with your house-selling journey. Just because a buyer’s offer has a lot of contingencies, does not mean it will not go through: it is simply something to think about.

"The hardest decisions in life are not between good and bad or right and wrong, but between two goods and two rights" -Joe Andrew

Written by: Amber Logan
21 Mike Team of Century 21 Homestar, 31005 Bainbridge Rd #5, Solon, OH 44139

 

Posted in Seller Topics
July 31, 2017

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Posted in Market Updates