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Thursday, June 10, 2010

Discover the 3 Best Things to do to Sell Your Home for the Highest Price

I want to tell you about the three best and most cost-effective strategies to follow in order to get the highest price on your home. Let’s get right to it!

The three best strategies are staging, paint and carpet, and curb appeal. Below, I explain these strategies and the benefits of each.


If you’re not familiar with the concept of “staging,” it’s simply a method of showing off your home to its best advantage by re-arranging furniture, paintings, etc.

Now, sometimes, people get the mistaken idea that staging involves taking out all your furniture and replacing it with temporary new items.

That’s not what we do at all!

We simply look at methods of making the best possible impression by placing furniture, etc. in the most pleasant and welcoming arrangement possible. Plus, we may add some temporary furniture or paintings to heighten the sense of a warm and comfortable home.

If it helps, think of a home stager as a person who’s similar to a set designer for movies – they use their expertise to achieve the effect they desire.

We do the same! Believe me, home staging will give you one of the highest returns on investment in terms of achieving more dollars on the final sale!

Paint and Carpet

Paint and especially carpets can have a huge positive or negative impact on potential buyers.

Believe me, you can have a beautiful, beautiful home, but if buyers see a ragged, threadbare or dirty carpet, it may end up being a deal killer!

The same is true of paint! These two items have a huge impact on the all-important first impression.

So, you want visitors to focus on the house as whole, not on paint and carpet. And, remember, when you repaint and clean or replace the carpet, you’ll get $2 to $3 back for every dollar you spend!

In terms of paint, definitely do not go for the cheap stuff! Choose a high--quality paint. It simply looks better and emphasizes the quality of care you’ve put into your home. You can bet buyers will notice that!

In terms of carpet, you have two choices, depending on the state of that carpet. If it’s simply dirty, have it professionally cleaned so it looks like new.

If it’s threadbare or worn or has an out-of-fashion color, replace it. I know this may seem like an expensive improvement, but it can actually add several thousand dollars to the sale price and end up being a great return on investment!

Curb Appeal!

The term “curb appeal” refers to the first impression potential buyers receive when they first see your home. As we all know, first impressions are everything, especially with such a large investment as a house!

So, it’s in your best interest to make your home as attractive as possible outside as well as in. Great curb appeal can complete the sale and increase your final profit as well!

And here’s more good news – you don’t need to spend a lot of money to get fantastic curb appeal. Depending on the structure of your house and type of lawn, use one or more of the following methods:

Manicure That Lawn!

A mowed and edged lawn really enhances the curb appeal of your home and shows potential buyers that you take good care of your place. Sometimes, you can really emphasize the beauty of your home by adding colorful flowers, bushes, etc.

Wash the Walls (Siding, etc.)!

If you live in an area where there’s lot of dust, using your own hose or renting power washing equipment can make a home look brand new! And you do it all at no cost or very little cost!


If you have a house that requires painting, then you’re in luck – repainting is one of the most cost-effective ways of improving appearance and adding value to a house! You’ll get back $2-3 for every dollar you spend!

Whether you do the job yourself or hire a service, make sure a high-quality paint is used for the brushes and/or sprayer. It makes a great first impression. Of course, choose colors that are appropriate for the house and the area.

So, there you have it – three great ways to increase the final sale price of your home!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Bucks County Market Stats 2010

The real estate market, in general, is bipolar. Ups and downs keep home buyers and sellers guessing. Sometimes, all people can rely on are statistics and trends that can lead them in the correct direction.

While sales and prices may be on the rise -- a good indication of recovery -- the same can be said for repossessions and interest rates, which is not a good sign. Furthermore, other factors such as unemployment, underemployment and a rise in foreclosures seriously impact the health of real estate.

What's Going on in Bucks County?

With over 3593 homes for sale, nearly 508 closings in the month of May and 15 homes selling daily, Bucks County is buzzing with real estate activity. Market stats can help you in your buying and selling process, but you need to know what to look for!

It’s important to know all the market facts before buying or selling a home if you want to have a successful and profitable experience. More particularly, there are ten market numbers that everyone should know even before listing your house. These include:

Property Taxes – Though sometimes overlooked, property taxes can really cost you. So if it’s higher than normal in your neighborhood, simply emphasize all the incredible perks like school, parks and other features that make the area more valuable.

Interest Rate – This number is vital when it comes to knowing when to sell, and the tiniest increase can alter your mortgage more than you would think.

Average Sale Price – In real estate, conformity is wise when it comes to matching the price of other houses in your area, or even on your street. So keep tabs on the average sales price of homes within the last couple months.

Average Listing Price – Again, be sure to keep your house within 5% of other listings in your area, otherwise you home is sure to be pushed aside when buyers recognize it as overpriced!

Average Days on Market - Often times, buyers have other factors like work, the kids’ school schedule or move-out deadlines that impact the speed at which they must purchase. This useful statistic comes in handy in such situations, and provides the average number of days houses have been on the market.

Marketing Fee – You might be dying to get that house sold, but it’s important to be aware of how much it will cost you to get it the attention it deserves. Whether you’re selling it yourself or with the aid of a professional, extra marketing efforts could affect your final profit deeply if you don’t pay close attention.

Absorption Rate - This rate is the number of weeks it takes to sell the current inventory at the present rate of sales. It is not an exact science; it is based on real estate market trends in your area. You need two figures: the number of listings and the number sold last month. The absorption rate will give you a better idea of how much time will need to be invested in the selling of your home.

Sell Price to List Price Ratio – After figuring the average selling and listing prices, comparing them side-by-side will help you to better expect what to list the house for and what offers to expect.

Inventory – Knowing exactly how many properties are for sale in your area will give you a better grasp on your competition.

Seller’s Net – You obviously want to know how much you’ll be walking away with after everything is said and done. Incorporating all the selling and buying factors into a functional equation of your net profit is of the utmost importance to you and can be done with the assistance of a professional.

I'm Here to Help!

Obviously there are many elements that play into the market equation, and many facts that are more important to know than others. Don’t you wish someone else could sort it all out for you in one, convenient database so you can better utilize these patterns in the buying or selling of your home?

For access to these trends and for any other questions or assistance, don’t hesitate to visit right now or call me at 215.504.7573!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

"Who Determines the Value of My Home?" - The Benefits of Hiring a Real Estate Appraiser

It's the job of the real estate appraiser. At heart, his or her job is to evaluate a property and tell you (the buyer) what condition it's in. Of course, as a seller, you can also have your home appraised so you get an objective "third party" view of your property.

Real estate appraisers are licensed (or should be!) by the state. Regulations vary, however, so I recommend you contact either me or a bank for information on qualified and ethical appraisers (more on this later). Often, they're independent contractors associated with appraisal firms headed by a Certified Appraiser or the equivalent.

What are the Benefits of Using an Appraiser's Services?

When you're a buyer, appraisers provide you two great benefits:

First of all, they can uncover hidden problems that could end up costing you a lot of money down the line. Their appraisal help you avoid the property or negotiate a lower price to compensate for future costs.

, appraisers can do the opposite -- uncover hidden opportunities for you! For example, you might be considering a home that that doesn't look all that wonderful on the outside, but is actually in solid shape as far as its structure is concerned. So, through an appraiser's efforts, you may end up with an outstanding bargain.

From the seller's viewpoint, an appraisal can uncover items that need fixing before you put your home on the market. This ensures that your property is in the best shape possible before buyers ever look at it.

What Kind of Report Will I Receive from an Appraiser?

A certified appraiser should provide you with a written report. These reports generally consist of the following nine items
1. A description of the property and its location based on a visit to the property by the appraiser. The appraiser evaluates the condition, overall livability based on design, layout, and appeal to the market, and other external factors).

An evaluation of the “highest and best use” of the land; that is, the use for a piece of land, or property in general, that maximizes its net present value.

. An evaluation of sales of comparable properties (usually three) as similar to the appraised property as possible.

Information regarding current real estate activity and/or market area trends.

An evaluation of the overall real estate market in the area.

Statements about items the appraiser feels are detrimental to the property's value, such as poor access to the property.

Notations about seriously flawed items, such as a crumbling foundation, leaking roof, etc.

An estimate of the average sales time for the property.

What type of area the home is in (a development, stand alone acreage, etc.).

How Do I Find a Certified Real Estate Appraiser?

I can direct you to very qualified appraisers. Or, you can find them through your bank. It should have a list of approved appraisers. If you decide to find an appraiser on your own, check his or her background carefully. As with any profession, there are always a few scam artists who inflate appraisal amounts in order to make money off you.

Check with the Better Business Bureau and your state certification office (if there is one). You can also check with your bank to make sure an appraiser is not blacklisted.

How Much Does An Appraisal Cost?

Generally speaking, an appraisal runs from $300 to $500. However, fees do vary with location.

If you need more information on real estate appraisers or any other real estate topic, be sure to call me at 215.504.7573 or email me at I'd love to discuss these matters with you!