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August 7th, 2014 at 10:00 am

Zillow-Trulia

The real estate industry has been buzzing about the Zillow – Trulia merger. Separately, these are the two largest online real estate listing companies in the United States. The plan to merge swirled throughout the industry last week and have since been confirmed; causing a substantial gain in Zillow’s stock price. However, the merger will do more than boost the bank accounts of those invested in these companies, it will also affect the real estate industry as a whole.

What Likely Will Not Change

If you’ve ever used either of these sites before you’ve probably also noticed that there isn’t as much information available for a property when compared to a local real estate agency. This fact is not likely to change as neither site is an MLS. Plans to take over MLSs have not currently been discussed in terms of this merger. Consumers should not expect to get access to more listings or depend on better information, but the ease and functionality of these sites should continue to improve. Most buyers begin the process online and these two sites are the most popular places to start. Consumers expect to receive hyper-local content from local real estate companies. Although they may begin their search online, those in the market to buy a home will be looking for local information from an agent.

Likely Changes (more…)

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July 30th, 2014 at 9:00 am

painting wallWhether you just started thinking about selling your home or you home is already on the market, completing a few home improvement projects can go a long way to increase the value of your home. In fact, a recent study by RIS Media showed that 32% of consumers planned to spend money on improving their home; 20% of those respondents planned to sell their home after renovations.

When considering home improvements it’s important to remember that bigger does not always mean better. There are a number of high-cost projects that can help you sell your home, but there are also a number of budget-friendly projects that can go a long way. Keep in mind, the goal is not to focus on luxury updates, but rather home functionality updates. Below is our list of home projects that have a direct correlation with resale value.

High Cost, High Payoff Projects

  • Windows – these can be expensive to replace, but buyers expect windows to be in good condition. If your windows are old and in rough shape consider replacing. However, if your windows are in good condition, replacing them will not dramatically increase the value of your home.
  • Roof – like windows, this is an expensive replacement. Use the same mentality, if your roof is in good shape no need to replace.
  • Kitchen updates – depending on the upgrade, these can also come with a hefty price tag; although, these types of updates also tend to have a big payoff. Readers frequently see mentions of kitchen upgrades in listings for a reason, these types of upgrades are selling points.
  • Bathroom updates – like the kitchen, consumers prefer to see a modernized bathroom. Update this room to ensure a better selling price.

Low Cost Projects

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June 12th, 2014 at 9:09 am

Whether it’s your first or the fifth home you’re selling, if you’ve recently made the decision to sell, you have a lot on your plate. In real estate, first impressions are everything. The more attractive your home appears, the greater likelihood you’ll have of receiving a comfortable offer in record time – the ideal situation for anyone selling their home. Although you can’t predict the market, there are several things you can do to get your home ready for sale and poised to do well against the competition.

  1. Start outside. What are your first impressions? Try to keep in mind what the prospective buyer will be looking for. Make sure your lawn is well manicured. Keep the lawn cut and watered regularly. Be sure to trim any hedges, prune trees and weed your flowerbeds. Next, check your walkways and steps for cracks – reseal if possible. Inspect your gutters and be sure to repair any loose or damaged shingles.
  2. Once you’ve conquered the great outdoors, it’s time to move inside. This is a daunting task, so make a goal and complete one room at a time. Begin by picking up any clutter and organizing. This can include neatly arranging dishes, sorting laundry, packing up knickknacks and creating a filing system for loose paper.
  3. Once you’ve got your home de-cluttered and organized, take a deep breath because it’s time to clean. You’ll need to do a bit more than dust, sweep and vacuum – also polish door handles, patch walls, paint doors and rooms as needed, clean tables and surfaces and wash mirrors and windows. While you’re doing all these less-than fun projects, think about what you would want in a home you’re buying.
  4. You’re getting closer! Don’t give up yet, now it’s time to go the extra mile. Next you’ll want to optimize each space. In kitchens and bathrooms take a look at your lighting. These rooms should be well lit. If needed, buy new bulbs and use lamps to light dark spaces. Open drapes to let as much natural light in each space as possible. If you have a pet be sure you’ve tidied up their area and consider an air fresher to eliminate any associated odors. While you may be a pet lover, the next home owner may take a different stance. You don’t need to go crazy with candles or incense, instead open windows to let a fresh breeze flow through your home.
  5. Congratulations, you’ve put your best foot forward and now it’s time to sell the house! However, it can be easy to recreate the messes you’ve just cleaned up and eliminated, after all life happens. Make it a daily or weekly routine to organize and de-clutter. Enlist the help of family members to ensure the house stays in top condition. Your hard work will pay off!

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