When the COVID-19 pandemic first hit, there were a lot of concerns about how it would impact the housing market—including whether it would spark a decrease in home values.
But, as it turns out, the opposite is true—and sellers are netting significantly more profit when they sell their home than anticipated.
According to a recent report from ATTOM Data Solutions, during Q2 of 2020, home sellers netted a median $75,491 when they sold their home—up from $65,620 from Q2 2019. Q2’s profit represents a 36.3 percent return on investment compared to original purchase price—the highest ROI for sellers since the Great Recession.
On the local front in Mammoth Lakes, we are seeing “ready to go” properties are selling quickly. People want to be here now without having to do any work. This is true across all price ranges – entry level to over $1M. Many clients are telling me they can now work remotely and since the kids won’t be going back to a traditional classroom, why not be here in gorgeous Mammoth instead of the big city? Although the majority of the interest has been in Mammoth Lakes, this is starting to trickle over to the outlying areas as well.
All this translates to a hot market for sellers with properties that are in good condition. The nicer the property the more interest and offers.
So, what does this mean for you? If you’re thinking about selling, now is a great time to make a move, fetch top dollar for your home, and walk away from the sale with a healthy profit.
Great curb appeal not only makes your home the star of the neighborhood, it can also improve its value and help you sell it for more. Whether you’re thinking of listing your home or just want to make your home the envy of your neighbors, here are several ways to increase your home’s curb appeal.
Make your home’s exterior look like new.
For many potential buyers, the condition of the exterior of a home can offer clues to the condition of the interior. The first place to start when boosting curb appeal is the exterior of your house.
- Paint. Paint is the best way to make your home appear newer. While you can paint your home yourself, if it’s large or more than one story, consider hiring a professional. Painting is a fairly inexpensive improvement with between 60 to 100 percent return on investment.1
- Maintain your siding. Over time, weather and the elements can make your home’s siding appear dull and dirty. Use a pressure washer to clean stains, spider webs and accumulated dirt and grime, or use a soft cloth and a household cleaner to get into those small nooks and spaces. Although the average life expectancy of siding ranges from 60 to 100 years, depending on the material, extreme weather may reduce this number. If you need to replace the siding, you’ll enjoy a 77 percent return on investment.1
- Paint or replace garage doors. If your garage doors are in good condition, give them a new coat of paint. If they’re beginning to show their age, consider replacing them. Not only are new garage doors more energy efficient and better insulated than older models, they also have a 91.5 percent return on investment.1
- Maintain your fence. Replace rotted or worn posts and panels and freshen it up with a coat of paint. If you have a hedge that serves as your property’s border, keep it trimmed and in good shape.
Pay attention to the small details.
The small details tie your home’s exterior together and help it stand out from others in the neighborhood.
- Paint front door, trim and shutters. This inexpensive improvement adds brightness to a home, whether you choose a bold color, a neutral tone or classic white.
- Install new door fixtures and be sure they match in style and finish and complement the style of your home.
- Update your house numbers. Make sure potential buyers and guests can find your home. If the numbers have faded or need an update, replace them. If choosing a metallic finish, make sure it matches the finish of your exterior light fixtures.
Tend to your driveway and lawn.
Well-landscaped homes may sell for between 5.5% and 12.7% more than other similar homes and studies show it may also add up to 28 percent to your home’s overall value.5
- Place a border along your driveway or walkway made of brick, stone, pavers or another hardscape element to add visual interest to a plain driveway.
- Maintain your green space. If you have grass, a well-maintained, green lawn makes your home look inviting and picturesque. However, in many parts of the country, water conservation is becoming more important. Xeriscaped landscapes incorporate drought-tolerant vegetation that thrives in warm, dry climates, such as lavender, sage, wisteria and agave, with water-saving drip irrigation and mulch. Xeriscaping has a cost savings of 36 cents per square foot annually through reduced irrigation and maintenance costs.3 Additionally, these landscapes are virtually maintenance free, which makes it an attractive option for busy buyers.
- Include trees and shrubs to create texture and add interest to your landscape. Planting a few types of trees and shrubs of varying heights, widths and flowering times boosts your home’s curb appeal year-round.
Make it feel inviting.
It’s no secret that emotions play a role in a person’s decision to purchase a home. Stage the outside of your home to evoke warm feelings.
- Stage your porch. If you have a front porch, make it feel more inviting by including seating, such as a chair or loveseat, an outdoor rug and a small table. If space is an issue, incorporate small decorative touches, such as a festive wreath or potted plant.
- Hang flower boxes on your front porch railings and/or below your windows. If you don’t want to affix flower boxes to your home, purchase nice planters and containers and place them around your porch or on your front steps.
- Choose flowers and plants that bloom at different times of the year for year-round appeal. For example, bulbs not only bloom all spring, they also multiply and come up every year. Perennials often flower for most of the year and will prevent you from having to replant them every year.
- If you don’t have a green thumb, choose low maintenance plants and flowers. Flowers such as lavender, rosemary, and zinnias are a few low-maintenance and drought-tolerant options.
Boost Your Online “Curb Appeal.”
For those interested in selling, it’s important to know the effect online curb appeal has on a home. The better impression your home gives online, the more likely buyers will want to see it in person. Here’s how to get your home ready for its listing debut.
- Stage your home. Staging shows your home in its best light and helps potential buyers picture themselves living there.
- Hire a professional to take photos. A photographer has the skills and equipment to shoot your home in the best light and make it look its best.
- Include a short video tour of the home. Videos are becoming a popular way to give buyers a glimpse of the home before they step foot in it.
Before you start a home project, keep these four things in mind:
- Why are you renovating? In other words, is your intention to update your home and get it show-ready or do you want to sell it for more money? Don’t fall into the trap of undertaking major renovations that may not pay off when you sell. If your home is in good shape, a few inexpensive updates may be enough to make your home attractive to buyers.
- The style of the neighborhood. Whenever you renovate your home, make sure the project fits with the style of the neighborhood and rules of the homeowner association. For example, an HOA may limit the choice and number of trees you can plant on your property. Similarly, a tall hedge border may not fit in in a neighborhood of low, picket fences.
- Permits. If you’re planning an extensive exterior renovation, you may need a permit from your municipality or other authority.
- Budget. A budget keeps your project’s costs and scope in check. Make a list of the improvements you’d like to make, set a realistic budget and stick to it. If you’d like advice on improvements you can make to boost your home’s curb appeal, give us a call.
Are you thinking of boosting your home’s curb appeal or renovating your home before you list? Do you want help making your home more appealing to potential buyers online and in-person? Give Sonja a call at (661) 979-9000 and she’ll help you present your home in its best light.
Sources: 1. Remodeling, 2016 Cost vs Value Report
- Realtor Mag, September 22, 2016
- Houzz, Houzz & Home-U.S., June 2016
One of the most interesting things about showing property in Mammoth Lakes is I can show several different condos in the same complex and get drastically different feedback from the same potential buyers.
This past weekend was a good example. I took my client to see three different condos in the same complex. He wanted to see for himself why the price was so different when the floor plans and views were exactly the same.
The answer boiled down to four key areas:
1. Carpet: It is nice if the carpet is new but if it is not new, is it at least clean? Even though it is easy to clean, a dirty carpet leaves a nasty first impression.
2. Paint: When you enter the front door are the walls scuffed and paint chipped? If you are going to paint before selling, consider a neutral clean palette. The first 30 seconds in the property is important — paint can help make a good first impression.
3. Clutter: Should go without saying but buyers want to visualize the place as their own. All the ski gear, knick-knacks and items you will be taking when you sell, should be out of sight. Since most places are sold furnished in Mammoth Lakes, buyers can get a real sense of what it will be like for them when all the clutter is gone.
4. Kitchen: This is a costlier issue than paint, carpet and clutter but a necessary fix if someone really wants to sell. A total remodel is not necessary. Something as inexpensive as new kitchen cabinet hardware and light fixtures all the way to costlier new appliances will help you sell your property. Even a dated formica kitchen with dark wood cabinets looks better with new hardware. Consider a new faucet, painting the cabinets and upgrading appliances for a real boost.
Granted there are some buyers who want a “fixer” but most want a turn-key property. They want to buy it and enjoy it.
Ask your real estate agent for input. Better yet, ask them to show you a property similar to yours that has made some of these improvements so you can get some fresh ideas m
For previous articles visit www.sonjabush.com
There are distressed sales in almost every market. Before we look at Mammoth Lakes specifically, it is important to understand the definition of distressed sale.
A distressed sale in real estate is defined as the urgent need to sell property when the owner can no longer make the mortgage payments. He/she must sell the property immediately to pay off the mortgage, even if it involves losing money on the property. There are two primary types of distressed sales:
Foreclosure: A situation in which a mortgage lender takes possession of the property because the borrower has not made payments on interest or principal for a certain period of time.
Short Sale: An agreement between a mortgage borrower in distress and the lender that allows the borrower to sell the house and remit the proceeds to the lender. A short sale is an alternative to foreclosure or a deed in lieu of foreclosure.
Foreclosure-related sales are on the decline but distressed sales continue to claim a “disproportionately high portion” of total home sales across the country, according to RealtyTrac’s most recent foreclosure and short sales report. The firm also found increases in prices for distressed properties in 2012.
Distressed property sales made up 43 percent of all home sales nationwide in 2012, according to RealtyTrac. Foreclosure-related sales made up 21 percent of all sales, while non-foreclosure short sales made up 22 percent of sales. Together, foreclosure and REO sales decreased 6 percent from 2011 with a total of 947,995 sales over the year in 2012.
Here in Mammoth Lakes, in 2012 distressed property sales made up 41 percent of all home sales. Foreclosure sales made up 15 percent of all sales and short sales were 26 percent.
A qualified licensed real estate agent can provide information on available distressed sales. Often the lender has special requirements for buyers and although there are some “good deals,” patience is a virtue when dealing with distressed sales.
For previous articles, visit www.sonjabush.com
We all know houses are not selling like they used to. If you are considering selling your home, there are several tips that will make it easier to sell. First impressions make a huge difference between a sale or no sale. These tips apply to any economy or market.
- Less is More: Even if you have not moved out, removing some furniture can help the home feel more spacious. This also provides a potential buyer with a better visual of how the property could look as their home.
- Odor Control: Sometimes homes have an odor you may not even notice since you there every day. Ask a friend (or your agent) to be honest about any odor. While the house is on the market, take the trash out every day and clean the refrigerator regularly. If you have pets, keep an eye on the situation (i.e. litter box). I have been in some gorgeous homes but a strong offensive odor has turned buyers away.
- The Little Things: There are small and often inexpensive changes you can complete yourself to freshen up your home. For example, replace dated/cracked light switch covers , install new hardware on cabinets, remove broken window treatment (no window covering is often better than broken blinds). Although potential buyers know the house is lived it, it is helpful to remove excess clutter such as newspapers, mail, laundry and shoes.
- A Neutral Appeal: If you have customized every room with dark paint or wall paper, you may want to update the colors to a more neutral tone. This can help potential buyers create their own vision for the home and also when they are comparing their options, your home may need less investment and work if they buy the house.
- Curb Appeal: This one is pretty obvious to most but again look at the exterior of your home from the potential buyers’ perspective. Is the home welcoming? Is there a clear path to the front door? Is the front porch clean and appealing?
Keep these tips in mind when selling your property. The best way to do this is to walk through your home with an honest friend as if you are both touring the home for the first time. An experience real estate agent can also help.
For previous articles, visit www.sonjabush.com
Myth #1: The homeowner must have missed mortgage payments in order to qualify for a short sale.
FACT: Years ago this may have been true, but not in 2012.
A financial hardship should exist or be imminent. But, not all people with financial hardships have missed a mortgage payment. Common hardships include mortgage rate adjustments, loss of job or income, health or medical issues, and divorce among others.
Myth #2: Banks prefer foreclosure to processing a short sale.
FACT: The truth is that banks would prefer NOT to foreclose on a property because it costs them big bucks. The bank will lose a lot less on a short sale than on a foreclosure.
In fact, many banks are so interested in short sales that they are paying sellers to participate in a short sale versus letting the home go to foreclosure.
Myth #3: In order to the seller to qualify for a short sale, he or she must speak with the lender first and get pre-approved.
FACT: While each lender has a different way in which they process the short sale, overall the best way to get in front of a tough situation is to speak with a knowledgeable agent that knows how each short sale lender operates. Often, when calling the lender, short sale sellers find that they do not get the answers that they want and need from the first line of short sale support.
Myth #4: Short sales don’t close.
FACT: The truth is that about 50% of all nationwide real estate transactions right now involve distressed properties.
Myth #5: Short sales take months (and months) to close.
FACT: It can take months to close if you don’t know “rules of the road.” The short sale process must be mastered and it helps quite a bit to know the ins and outs at each of the major lending institutions. There are many short sales that can be approved in a much quicker time frame. The more liens on title, then the more lengthy the short sale process. A qualified real estate professional can help navigate the process.
Source: Short Sale Expeditor
On average, serious buyers look at 15 homes before making an offer. This gives them an idea of the market and competitive pricing. If you overprice your property you will usually lose those serious buyers—even buyers who love the home—because those buyers often assume that a reasonable offer on an overpriced home will not be accepted.
When pricing your home, consider this:
- A high price on your property makes other comparable properties more attractive—and helps sell the competition
- Overpricing means fewer buyers, showings and offers
- Inflated prices often lead to mortgage rejections and critical time loss waiting for financing approvals
- Homes that sit on the market for long periods of time lose interest and are shown less
Know what comparable homes are selling for….actual SOLD prices are much more helpful than listing prices.
CMA is real estate acronym for “Comparative Market Analysis.” A CMA is prepared by a real estate agent providing data comparing your property to similar properties in the area.
The first thing an agent will need to do to provide you with a CMA is to visually inspect your property. This inspection won’t be overly detailed – just a visual walk through allowing the agent to make an accurate assessment of its condition and worth.
The next step is for the agent to obtain data on comparable properties. This data is usually available through MLS (Multiple Listing Service), and a qualified agent will make adjustments for differences in your property and the other properties available. This will give the agent an idea how much your property is worth in the current market. The CMA is not an appraisal. An appraisal must be performed by a licensed appraiser.
The CMA process takes place before your home is listed for sale. This is a good assessment of what your house could potentially sell for.
CMAs are not only for prospective sellers. Buyers should consider requesting a CMA for properties they are seriously looking at to determine whether the asking price is a true reflection of the current market. Owners who are upgrading or remodeling can benefit from a CMA when it’s used to see if the intended changes will “over-improve” their property compared to others in the neighborhood.
Source: California Association of Realtors