Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Home Staging For Condos - Six Tips On How To Avoid Having "An Elephant In The Room" by Jeannene Edwards

When staging condominiums there are fundamental principles which MUST be applied. Too often sellers believe the art of home staging and condo staging is exactly the same thing. This way of thinking will cause them to make their FIRST mistake . . . which could result in their condo sitting along side countless others . . . long after the buyers have gone home!

The following is a list of additional mistakes to avoid when staging your condo for sale:

Think Square Footage - Many condominiums have limited space. When planning your furniture layout, instead of thinking square footage . . . think square inch, and make each one count!

Size Really Does Matter - When shopping for furniture focus on scale and proportion, NOT bigger is better! Oversized furniture may look great on the showroom floor, but when you get it home it will look much different. You will swear that the "elephant in the room" is definitely not what you ordered!

Flex Areas - Condo living calls for carefully planned, creatively designed, multifunctional spaces known as flex areas. Because of the growing demand to meet the diverse needs of today's condo buyer, more and more manufacturers are offering proportionately scaled, multipurpose furniture to their lines. They include upholstered slipper chairs that fold out into guest beds, ottomans that serve as extra seating and storage, high-low tables that instantly transform from cocktail tables into dining tables for entertaining . . . just to name a few. And for the savvy targeted condo buyer, staging a multi media/home office area is always advisable.

Defining Spaces - Whether you prefer the clean, contemporary lines of ultra urban or the graceful warm feel of timeless traditional - remember to use COLOR to define your spaces and create memorable WOW effects. Too often sellers believe that by keeping the walls neutral, it will make the limited space of a condo look larger. Actually the opposite is true. By bumping out a few accent walls with well chosen COLORS you not only will add excitement to the room, but visually add depth, giving the illusion that the space is larger than it is.

Presentation Is Everything - Choose fewer, but larger, more dynamic artwork and accessories. This is one of the most frequently made mistakes by sellers who believe you should do quite the opposite. Just remember . . . scale down your furniture and scale up your artwork and accessories to successfully stage a condo with limited space. Your presentation and end result will certainly be more dramatic . . . and memorable!

Jeannene Edwards, owner of Interiors Defined, Inc. is a professional home stager and licensed interior designer in Orlando, Florida. In addition to her interior design and home staging services, Jeannene has merged with David Edwards Construction, a division of Interiors Defined, Inc., enabling them to offer complete architectural design and building services to further meet the needs of their clientele. Jeannene is a notable speaker known for her training seminars, award winning designs and 'how-to' articles published in newspapers, magazines and trade manuals nationally. For information regarding the IDI Step-by-Step E-Staging Guide or any of the other many design services being offered by Interiors Defined, Inc. please contact Jeannene Edwards or David Edwards at: http://interiorsdefined.com/, http://idihomestaging.com/, and http://davidedwardsgc.com/

Denver, the Springs among best cities for relocating

Colorado has two metro areas on the recently released 2007 "Best Cities for Relocating Families" lists.
The Denver-Aurora area ranked No. 21 of 50 on the big-city list, or metro areas with populations of 1.25 million or more.
Colorado Springs was No. 4 on the list of small metro areas, with populations of 350,000 to 575,000.
The Fort Worth-Arlington area of Texas ranked No. 1 among large cities. Other top 10 big cities included Kansas City, Indianapolis, St. Louis and Austin, Texas.
Knoxville, Tenn., was first among mid-sized cities of 575,000 to 1.25 million population. Other top mid-sized markets included Wichita, Kan.; Salt Lake City; Oklahoma City; and El Paso, Texas.
The Provo-Orem area of Utah came in first for small metro areas. Also ranked high on that list were Durham, N.C.; Corpus Christi, Texas; Spokane, Wash.; and Madison, Wis.
The lists were produced by Worldwide ERC of Washington, D.C., a relocation industry trade group, and Primacy Relocation of Memphis, Tenn. Primacy is a third-party relocation firm.
Metro areas were rated based on factors such as crime rate, cost of living, education, climate and housing market. Housing data evaluated ranged from affordability to property tax and rate of appreciation.
"Without a doubt, the state of the housing market is having a huge impact on relocation decisions of both employers and the families who are being transferred," Michelle Vallejo, president of Primacy, The Americas, said in a statement. "The cities on [these lists] represent some of the stronger real estate markets ..."
The rankings are published every spring, and this is the third year Worldwide ERC and Primacy have teamed up to produce them.
Source: The Denver Business Journal

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Offering $100 Commission On The MLS Won't Sell Your Home! Seller Learns The Hard Way. by Scott Daniels

I`m at Publix early this morning when I bump into a former prospect who we gave a listing presentation to in February. They decided to go with a "By Owner" program" in which they paid a ridiculous amount of money to "Sell their Home" by themselves!

As PT Barnum once said "There`s a sucker born every second" sadly in this case he maybe right!

The house is located in Pembroke Pines,Florida it`s a 3bed,2ba,2CG pool home and it`s listed for $400,000. It needs some work and the seller refused to listen back than about the price. I explained the home should be listed at $370,000 in order to move! They called me insane, told me about their impression of the market and laughed me out of the house!

The company they hired places the home on the MLS in a "Limited Representation" capacity. They`re offering $100 commission if you can believe this to the buyers agent! Needless to say, the house won`t sell now or 10 months from now without the right commission! He pleads with me to bring him "buyers"!

The conversation is as follows:

Seller: Look, I`m stuck here we`re not receiving any buyers to our home! We need to move before September.

Me: I can appreciate your predicament, the problem is that you`re with another company who placed your home on the MLS. Why are you offering $100.00 for commissions?

Seller: The By Owner People explained to me that it doesn`t matter a "home will sell if it`s on the MLS". I paid them in advance a fee of $5000!

Me: You`re stuck the By Owner People are paid and the MLS isn`t a cure all for selling a home! I don`t foresee any Realtors showing you`re home.

Seller: How about doing me a huge favor?! I can`t afford to pay you!

We shook hands and said our goodbyes to one another. I can`t believe someone would go through all the trouble of being a FSBO without first hiring a professional who can market and sell a home! This seller is stuck, yes, his property is on the MLS, but what`s the point when you`re offering $100 as commission!

scott daniels
florida list for less realty,inc.

Common Sense Selling Points by Scott Baxter

Selling a home is a pretty stressful event. You are, after all selling the place that you have lived in for years (maybe). either way you look at it, there is likely an emotional attachment to your home and you will want to realize the greatest profit from its sale. It would be nice if buyers could place the same emotional value on your home but that is a bit much to expect from someone who has not lived there. It is your responsibility to make the home presentable (or to hire someone to do so) to buyers. Remember that your home will be in competition with hundreds of homes, or more depending on the size of your area. So how can you showcase your home in a way that will attract the attention of buyers and help your home sell quickly?

There are a number of things that are commonly overlooked when selling a home. Small things that we as owners have come to overlook that buyers will notice straight away. Small dings in the wall, a slight leak from a faucet, the marks of your growing children on the kitchen door frame. All these things are the kind of things that buyers notice when they view a home. Remember that any broken or faulty aspects of your home may lead buyers to question what else may be wrong with the home. The foundational step of a good home showing is cleaning the house.

Like a maniac. No matter what kind or age of home you have the showing process needs to happen in a clean environment. This means cleaning all those little niches that you sometimes gloss over when doing your daily cleaning. Clean out your closets and organize them neatly. Clean behind the appliances, scrub all the fixtures, shampoo the carpets if there are any and wash the windows. You want viewers to walk into your home and feel like it is this clean all the time.

The same should hold true for the outside of the home. Looking at your home with a critical eye is hard but necessary. If your paint needs touching up or a complete redo, don't be afraid to spend the money to get it fixed. You will get it back when the home sells for more than it would without the improvement. Selling a home is like displaying your home in a magazine, it has to look beyond good. Buyers can be pretty fickle when it comes to homes that are not well taken care of or at least appear that way. Don't let this happen to your home, plan ahead for your sale and get your home in shape for it.

Scott Baxter is a long time real estate investor and is also a real estate agent who specializes in Prescott AZ real estate. Scott's passion for real estate has enabled him to become a leading expert in relocation to the Prescott area. Contact Scott today for more information or visit him online at http://www.prescottscott.com

Friday, June 8, 2007

Home Sellers Alert - Top Ten Mistakes That Cost Home Sellers Thousands Of Dollars In Today's Market by Jeannene Edwards

Everyone knows that selling your home in any market can be an exhausting experience, both emotionally and physically. But selling in today's market, glutted with standing inventory, has become especially challenging for sellers and realtors alike!

According to new data released by the Census bureau, the vacancy rate of homes for sale in this Country is at it's highest level since the bureau began tracking it forty years ago. This is not good news for the multiple thousands of people who presently have homes on the market. The prospect of being stuck with a house that doesn't sell for months on end is frightening, and takes an emotional toll leaving some sellers unprepared. Remember, the difference between a smooth, profitable selling transaction, and one that isn't, is usually caused by lack of knowledge and being unprepared.

The following is a list I've designed to make you aware of the ten most common mistakes that cost home sellers thousands of dollars:

1. Establishing the appropriate selling price for your home is critical! Setting the price too high causes a house to sit on the market for a long period of time, and become known as a 'stale' listing. Setting the price too low may needlessly cause you to give away thousands of dollars in profit. Either way you will lose.

2. Accessibility is key when selling your home. In today's competitive market, buyers who can't get easy access to view a home will move on and purchase elsewhere. Remember, the more accessible you make your home, the greater your chances become for finding a qualified buyer who will pay top dollar for a profitable sale.

3. A buyers positive first impression is everything when buying a home. Many sales are lost due to cluttered rooms that weren't de-cluttered, unpleasant odors that weren't addressed, and Spring cleaning inside and out that wasn't done! If a buyer does look beyond these things and make an offer on your home, it undoubtedly will be for much less than your asking price.

4. Minor repairs and simple maintenance will yield 2-4 times the repair cost at the time of sale. Buyers buy what they see, and they will always perceive the repair costs to be higher than the seller will perceive it to be. Simple repairs not being taken care of ahead of time can easily lower the offer on a home by thousands of dollars.

5. If your home isn't warm, inviting, and presented in 'showcase condition' to highlight the homes best features, it will make a huge impact on buyers' perception of value . . . again resulting in a lower offer on the home.

6. Sellers who insist on relying on traditional methods to market their home will be out performed by those willing to be innovative in this competitive market. Thinking outside the box in order to find new strategies for attracting potential buyers will greatly increase your chances for a more profitable sale.

7. You must remember that once you put your home on the market . . . you can no longer view it as 'your' home. You need to depersonalize the space so the buyers can imagine themselves living there. It is a product to be sold, and should be viewed as a dollar and cents business transaction.

8. Our current market condition for houses has been determined by supply and demand. And right now the supply is much greater than the demand. Therefore, many people are taking this opportunity to shop dozens of homes to compare prices as well as value. This is why it is imperative that you offer them a home that is in 'showcase condition', generating a greater perceived value.

9. You can save an enormous amount of valuable time and money if you make sure that your prospective buyer has been pre-approved for a loan before spending a great deal of time with them. Remember, time is money, and it will take up time that you could be spending with someone who can buy!

10. Signing with the right real estate agent is key to having a pleasant, profitable selling experience. Their knowledge and marketing methods can have a huge impact on your success and the profitability of your sale. Do your research . . . and choose wisely.

Avoid these costly mistakes by diligently arming yourself with knowledge. It can make all the difference in the successful sale of your home. A little time spent now on properly preparing your home as a product to be sold can save you countless hours of frustration . . . and thousands of dollars in profit!

Jeannene Edwards, owner of Interiors Defined, Inc. is a professional home stager and licensed interior designer in Orlando, Florida. In addition to her interior design and home staging services, Jeannene has merged with David Edwards Construction, a division of Interiors Defined, Inc., enabling them to now offer complete architectural design and building services to further meet the needs of their clientele. Jeannene is a notable speaker known for her exciting and informative seminars. Her award winning designs and 'how-to' articles have been widely published in newspapers, magazines and trade manuals nationally. For additional information regarding the many services offered by Interiors Defined, Inc. please contact Jeannene Edwards or David Edwards at: http://interiorsdefined.com/, http://idihomestaging.com/, and http://davidedwardsgc.com/

Selling--To Stage or Not to Stage? Preparing Your Home For Sale by Nef Cortez

Gone are the days when you stuck a yard sale sign in a home that was being prepared for sale, held an open house and printed out flyers as some of the major tools for marketing real estate property. As homes that are listed for sale populate the internet and are available to be viewed by a national audience, professional realtors are increasingly seeking to improve their skills in order to assist the homeowner to market his or her home in way that will showcase the property in the best light and improve the final sale price. Often, these skills include advising the homeowner on how to prepare the home for photographs as well as the actual physical viewing of the home.

While, most realtors may know the marketability of a property based on other factors such as the location of the property, size of the property, etc., they may not be as adept in interior design principles that will enhance the showcasing of the home. Thus a whole new service industry, called “staging” has sprouted from these needs. Staging is the new buzzword in the real estate industry used to describe the de-cluttering, redesigning and in some case remodeling of a home to prepare it for sale.

In the past, homeowners were left to their own discretion when it came to home showings. If they didn’t have any idea on how to prepare for the home showing they often depended on their realtor for guidance. While that may have been sufficient then, in this ever increasingly competitive market (where sellers try to solicit the best prospective buyers) staging has become a growing industry and a tool in the realtor’s marketing arsenal. In order to maintain a competitive advantage, more and more realtors are adapting quickly to either learn these basic principles themselves or to add interior designers to their contact lists who can provide these services. Usually as part of the marketing of the property, several photographs of the home are almost mandatory and as virtual tours of homes become increasingly popular the need to showcase the home properly becomes almost a necessity.

Professional home stagers are practiced in the art of preparing a home for resale. They work with the “flow” of a home, eliminate clutter, edit and arrange furniture, and may even assist in enhancing curb-appeal. The interior design techniques that professional home stagers use to increase the overall look and desirability of the home have a significant impact in improving the home's final sale price. With ever popular real estate television shows on HGTV such as “Curb Appeal” and “Designed to Sell”, homeowners almost expect their realtor to be knowledgeable about these techniques.

In the current real estate climate where most homes have interior and exterior photographs taken of the property and posted on internet sites this type of service is a plus. Some statistics show that staging improves the final sale price of the house by anywhere from 2% - 10%. For example, in the current California real estate market with the median sale price of a home hovering at $597,640 these figures can mean anywhere from $11,952 to $59,764! That’s quite a bit of pocket change for a comparatively minor investment.

Depending on the home seller’s budget, a home staging service can prepare a home with simple tasks like rearranging furniture, eliminating clutter, advising the homeowner on special cleaning tasks to coordinating much more complex activities such as repainting, carpeting and refinishing hardwood floors. When it comes to higher priced homes in luxury neighborhoods sometimes extensive remodeling is advisable. While the initial outlay by the homeowner may be substantial, a homeowner’s equally substantial return on investment usually makes it worthwhile. With such great returns, what might have seemed liked a trend a few years ago isn’t showing any signs of stopping.

Nef Cortez has been a licensed real estate broker and has held various positions in the real estate and mortgage industry for over 25 years. If you would like to read more of Nef's timely advice (with the latest FREE info on local foreclosures), visit his website at Chino Hills CA Real Estate or read his blog at A Slice of So Cal Real Estate

Governor signs five foreclosure-related bills

Gov. Bill Ritter on Friday signed into law five bills intended to curb foreclosure and mortgage fraud.

"Colorado has one of the highest foreclosure and mortgage-fraud rates in the country," Ritter said in a statement. "We're on pace to log another 37,000 foreclosures this year, which was up about 30 percent from 2006, and that was up 30 percent from 2005. Those are just staggering numbers.

"But the good news is that these bills will help stem the tide by setting standards for mortgage brokers, by prohibiting predatory lending practices and by protecting consumers in Colorado."

The five bills are:

  • HB 1322, sponsored by Rep. Rosemary Marshall, D-Denver, and Sen. Peter Groff, D-Denver, contains multiple measures intended to strengthen existing mortgage fraud laws.
  • SB 85, sponsored by Sen. Jennifer Veiga, D-Denver, and Rep. Tom Massey, R-Poncha Springs, prohibits improper influencing of real estate appraisals.
  • SB 203, sponsored by Groff and Marshall, requires mortgage brokers to register with the state.
  • SB 216, sponsored by Veiga and Marshall, spells out a mortgage brokers' ethical responsibilities, which include not enticing borrowers into deals that won't benefit them.
  • SB 249, sponsored by Veiga and Rep. Joe Rice, D-Littleton, imposes an annual fee on title insurance companies to pay for industry enforcement and analysis.
Source The Denver Business Journal June 1, 2007

Companies expect to hire IT, financial workers

Denver companies expect to hire more IT and financial employees in the third quarter, according to separate surveys released Wednesday by Robert Half International.
Hiring trends in both fields were 1 point above the national average.
The survey said a net 16 percent of chief information officers expect to hire more IT workers, or up 1 point above the second-quarter forecast. The results break down to 20 percent of those surveyed planning to add staff, while 4 percent expecting to cut staff.
In a separate survey, a net 4 percent of chief financial officers said they expected to add accounting and finance professionals, up 4 points from the second-quarter forecast. The results show 7 percent intend to add employees, while 3 percent expect to cut jobs.
Source The Denver Business Journal June 6, 2007

DirecTV to add 1,000 jobs in Centennial

Satellite television company DirecTV Inc. plans to add as many as 1,000 metro-area jobs at the company's new, 256,000-square-foot operations hub it opened Thursday in Centennial.

El Segundo, Calif.-based DirecTV's call center management, information technology and data center, retail services support and other functions will be based at the center, which occupies a six-story Inverness Business Park building formerly home to defunct telecommunications company ICG.

The expanded operations center will be at the core of everything DirecTV offers its 16 million subscribers nationwide and its future customers, said John Suranyi, president of DirecTV's sales and service, in a news release.

The company also operates a broadcast collection facility near the new operations center as well as its broadcast uplink center in Castle Rock that employs 110 people.

Source The Denver Business Journal June 8, 2007

Friday, June 1, 2007

Foreclosure May Not Be Your Only Option by Brian L. Thomas

I get it. I have been there. You are dangerously behind in your mortgage payments and you can’t seem to catch up. You’re getting the letters and phone calls that lead you to believe that you have no other option. Foreclosure seems eminent. That’s not necessarily the case.

The mortgage company doesn’t want to own your home anymore than you want to lose it. In the current Real Estate market, (definitely here in the Denver Colorado area) it seems that this scenario is more common than believable. The home prices dropped; an A.R.M. (adjustable rate mortgage) adjusts to a higher rate; the new payment is now unaffordable; refinancing is out of the question because of credit status changes; the owner finds that they owe more than they can realistically sell it for. What now? Walk away? Not a good idea. Without filing bankruptcy, the bank can still come after what is owed to them; even after they take AND sell the property. (and it’ll be a lot higher because of the cost of foreclosing on the property)

There are other ways. One of these ways is called a “short-sale”; it is a way for the bank and/or mortgage company to come to a feasible solution with you. A short-sale is where the mortgage company agrees to take a certain percentage of the money that you owe and give you a letter releasing you from the remainder of the debt. The short-sale could still affect your credit, but by now your credit could already be trashed due to the situation.

Most of the time the bank won’t even discuss a short-sale with you until you are behind in your payments (3 months in some cases) I have seen the banks discuss short-sale prior to default, but it was only in very specific situations.

Please understand, it is not an easy road to go with a short-sale. There is quite a bit of documentation and negotiation, but it is much easier than the alternative. You probably won’t find out how much the bank will accept until you get an offer from a qualified buyer. It is best to find a Realtor that has experience in pre-foreclosure and short-sale. The Realtor can help guide you and in some cases help you to negotiate with the bank to make sure things go smoothly. The Realtor will know the language being spoken by the bank, can help you to put together the documentation and help you to understand the process.

So, the first steps aside from finding a qualified real estate agent; call your mortgage company, (don’t avoid them, they won’t go away), find out their process for short sale (the Realtor will help), get the house on the market, price it fairly according to the agents recommendations, keep the home in top quality condition (it will sell faster and possibly at a higher price). Once the offer comes in, be prepared to wait. The mortgage companies are dealing with hundreds; even thousands of short sales and foreclosures. They will get to yours, it may just take a little time (let your agent call and check on it), the buyers also have to be prepared to wait; your agent will make sure everyone knows the situation (within the terms of your agreement with the agent)

Don’t give up hope! It may take a couple of years to bring your credit score up; but compared to foreclosure, judgments, collections, bankruptcy and possibly attorneys, it will be much better for you in the long run. Hang in there! Find a good Realtor to help.