When our clients ask for our assistance selling their home, their two main concerns are timeline and price.
We've been in the Real Estate industry a long time, and have amassed countless tips and strategies to address both of those concerns. We decided to put together an online magazine to make our best advice available to the whole community!
Below you'll find a link to check out our magazine and learn some of our best home selling strategies. When the time comes to list your home, we'll be here to walk you through the process and make it not only quick and painless, but fun and profitable as well! Give us a call any time, we're always happy to help.
Signature Spotlight...Elliot Rocheleau!
You may have encountered Elliot while inquiring about a rental property, or on a home showing. Let's learn a little bit more about Elliot...
What is your favorite part about working at Signature Properties?
The variety of the work I do on a day to day basis...no two days are the same, and I truly enjoy a continually changing work environment.
What is your favorite part of being involved in real estate?
Meeting different people from all walks of life and getting to see/tour all of the great properties our region has to offer. It's a very interesting experience.
Give one piece of advice to someone thinking of buying a home today.
Take your time and ask questions. There are tons of resources available to consumers today to help with the home searching and buying process. Although the process can seem daunting, there are plenty of people available to help you navigate the everchanging market.
If your clients, or friends, were asked to describe you, what would they say?
I think they would describe me as: Friendly, Hardworking, Upfront and Helpful...at least I hope that's what they'd say!
What do you like to do when you're not at the office?
I love to be outside. Snowboarding, and pretty much any outdoor activity I can get my hands on will keepy me happy. My family recently bought a home of our own, so I spend a lot of time doing upgrades and all of the maintenance projects that come with homeownership. Of course, I also like to spend as much time as possible with my family.
If you could learn to do anything, what would it be and why?
Everything...seriously though; I truly believe anyone can learn anything they put their mind to if given enough time. If I had unlimited time and money to learn, I would like to learn a little bit more about everything. If I had to pick a starting point, it would be renewable energy because I feel that technology is so important to our future.
Who is your biggest inspiration?
My wife and my family are by far my biggest motivators. They help push me to learn and to better myself every single day.
That sounds like a great support system. Tell me more about your family.
I have an extremely energetic and fun 6 year old stepson, a beautiful and supportive wife, and a daughter on the way...I'm excited to say the least!
Tell me about your proudest achievement.
I know this sounds rather cliche, but purchasing my first home for my family and myself has probably been my proudest achievement to date. I had a goal, I stayed dedicated to it, and I achieved it...what's more personally satisfying than that?
Generation Y, also known as Millennials were born between 1980 and 2000 and are largely regarded as a unique, somewhat mysterious group. The wants and needs of Millennials are vastly different from those of their baby boomer parents. Their specialized interests mean that marketing strategies need to be adjusted to attract Millennials to your home, but, also note the added challenge that Millennials despise being told what to buy through marketing. Your most effective strategy will be to highlight the features of your home and neighborhood without being pitchy or 'traditional.'
Is it starting to sound as though reaching this generation is more trouble than it's worth? Don't be fooled. Although many Millennials are choosing to rent, they have substantial buying power and studies show that they by and large still value home ownership.
If you're looking to sell your home, these are the things you'll need to do to attract Millennial buyers:
Play Up Your Strengths
While Baby Boomers may want a two-car garage, large kitchen and extra storage space, Millennials have their own ideas. This generation is looking for something different than their parents:
- Open floor plans - a large amount of square footage is not necessarily a selling point with the trend of tiny homes on the rise
- Single-story homes
- Energy efficiency - saving the environment (and money) is especially important to this generation
- Split floor plans
- Media rooms - Millennials are more 'plugged in' than any other generation. Be sure to highlight any tech-savvy features your home has to offer.
- Hardwood or tile floors
Marketing these features will help get the attention of this generation.
Sell Your Neighborhood
For many Millennials, the neighborhood they live in matters just as much--or more--than the house they buy, and they're looking to meet a specific need.
This generation is extremely technology driven and are used to receiving information instantly. This translates to the amount of time they are willing to spend getting from point A to point B. Make sure to point out how close your home is to all attractive amenities - especially if your property is located in the heart of town. Extra bonus points if you're within walking or biking distance to recreation, schools and shopping!
Show Off Environmentally-Friendly Features
It is no secret this generation is environmentally-conscious, and they'll be looking for homes that have green features. Make sure to highlight any recent upgrades - especially new windows and energy efficient appliances.
Think Clean and Modern
Modern homes are popular choices for younger buyers, but your house doesn't need to be brand new or designed by a minimalist architect to appeal to this generation. Some simple home staging before your showing or open house could be all you need to bring in an offer. Take the 'less is more' approach and eliminate clutter (this applies to all generations as well!).
Online Advertising is MANDATORY
To find younger home buyers, you'll have to place your ads where they will see them, and that is largely online. Social media is an ideal place to advertise your property in a way that won't seem pushy or aggressive.
With more buyers shopping for homes on the Web, photos and virtual tours are a must. There are many things you can do make your home shine on camera.
- Understand the camera's perspective. The camera's eye is very different from the human eye. It magnifies clutter and poor furniture arrangement. To make a home shine in a virtual tour or video presentation, cater to the lens.
- Make the home "white-glove clean." Because the camera magnifies grime, each room should be spotless for the best results. Don't forget floor coverings and walls; a discolored spot on the rug might be overlooked by prospects during a regular home showing, but that stain becomes a focal point for online viewers.
- Pack up the clutter. But leave three items of varying heights on each surface. For example, on an end table you can place a lamp (high), a small plant (medium), and a book (low). This dynamic creates visual interest without being distracting.
- Snap pictures. This will give you an idea of what the home will look like on camera. Closely examine the photos and list changes that would improve each room's appearance: opening blinds to let in natural light, removing magnets from the refrigerator, or taking down distracting art, for example.
- Pare down furniture. Identify one or two pieces of furniture that can be removed from each room to make the space appear larger.
- Rearrange. Spotlight the flow of a space by creating a focal point on the furthest wall from the doorway and arranging the other pieces of furniture to make a triangle shape. The focal point may be a bed in a bedroom or a china cabinet in a dining room.
- Reaccessorize. Include a healthy plant in every room; the camera loves green. Energize bland decor by placing a bright vase on a mantle or draping an afghan over a couch.
- Keep the home in shape. You want buyers who liked what they saw online to encounter the same home in person.
What images does the year 2044 bring to you? Hover crafts...discovery of life on Mars...your mortgage payoff date? Taking out a 30-year mortgage can feel daunting, but not to worry, there are other options!
You don't have to choose, or adhere to, a 30-year repayment schedule. Here are a few smart ways to pay down your mortgage more quickly.
1. Refinance into a 15 or 20 year mortgage.
Typically, a 30-year mortgage is the default schedule most home buyers choose, but it is not your only option. Choosing a 15 or 20 year schedule instead will mean that a larger portion of your monthly payments will be applied directly toward the principal of your loan instead of interest.
Don't fall into the trap of believing that a 15 year mortgage will DOUBLE your monthly payments. That is not the case. Your payment WILL be larger, but it will not be twice as much. Here's why- your mortgage payment is applied to 4 different things: Principal, Interest, Taxes and Insurance. Your property taxes and insurance will remain the same regardless of the length of your loan. The only variables are the principal and interest.
By accelerating your schedule, a larger portion of your payment will go toward the interest and principal. While your monthly payments therefore will be higher, the amount of interest you pay over the life of the loan will be substantially because 1) you will be paying down the principal more quickly and 2) 15 and 20-year loans are usually granted at a lower interest rate.
2. Increase your payments as though you've refinanced.
Refinancing is not going to be an ideal solution for every homeowner. The obvious advantages to refinancing to a 15 or 20 year mortgage include being forced to pay down the principal faster (due to making larger monthly payments), and lower interest rates on the loan.
There are drawbacks to refinancing though. You'll have less flexibility for making payments if some extenuating circumstance such as medical bills or a job loss occur. You'll also have to pay a second round of closing costs, which could be a few thousand dollars. If you aren't able to pay the closing costs up front, they will be lumped into the refinanced loan. As a result, you will be also be making payments toward those closing costs in addition to the principal and interest of your loan for several years before reaching the "break even" point when refinancing will save you interest money.
If you're nearing the end of your mortgage, or are financially able to make larger payments to close the loan out within a few years, refinancing will not make sense for you as you'll never reach the "break even" point.
If you are concerned about the lack of financial forgiveness associated with refinancing, or feel that you could pay down the mortgage within a few years, don't refinance. Instead, focus on making larger monthly payments to pay down the loan faster while maintaining your flexibility.
3. Refinance for the same time frame at a lower rate.
If you are currently paying a higher interest rate than what is being offered to new home buyers, you may be missing an opportunity to refinance at a lower rate--even if you keep the 30-year term.
If you have solid credit and a low debt-to-income ratio, contact your lender about refinancing at a lower rate. If you are able, refinancing to a 15 or 20-year loan is ideal, but if you are not, a 30-year loan at a lower interest rate is still a great option.
Refinancing to a 30-year mortgage at a lower interest rate will actually decrease your monthly payments and could possibly extend your payoff date. However, it is smart to continue making the same payments you were at the higher interest rate to allow the extra monthly payment to go toward your principal. This way you'll be paying off far less interest through the life of the loan and shortening the overall payoff time!
4. Research cheaper Homeowners Insurance.
By reducing your insurance premiums, you will also lower your monthly mortgage payments (remember that insurance is one of the 4 parts of a mortgage payment).
Can you bundle your home and auto insurance? Can you increase your deductible? Both will help lower your premium.
If you are able to lower your insurance payments, your monthly mortgage payment will drop as well, but continue to make the same payment to decrease your principal more rapidly and expedite your payoff date.
5. Monetize or downsize.
If you are in a hurry to be free from your mortgage, you could consider downsizing to a less expensive home. You could use the proceeds from your sale toward the purchase of a new home and finance a much smaller portion.
That option will not appeal to everyone. You could also consider renting out a room or converting your basement, or space above a garage, into an apartment for extra income. Having extra "roommates" is not necessarily ideal, but having a fully paid mortgage could be worth the short-term hassle.
Your Realtor will serve as your advocate, teacher and, on occasion, your therapist during the home buying and selling process. Here are 8 reasons why it's important to have a trusted Realtor on your side.
1. They will navigate this complicated process for you. Buying or selling a home requires a multitude of paperwork, inspections, appraisals, mortgage documents, insurance policies, deeds and settlement papers. Realtors spend every day with these documents and know the process inside and out. As a trusted expert they will help you secure the best deal and avoid delays and costly mistakes.
2. They will inform you. A Realtor will be able to provide you with all of the community information you're looking for from market data to utilities, zoning and schools. They will also be able to give you honest, objective information on each property that interests you. They will be able to help you decide whether each home will provide the right environment you are looking for and which properties will have the best resale value down the road.
3. They will find the best available property for your needs. Your Realtor will discuss your wants and needs and set off on a thorough search to find the homes that will provide everything you seek. Realtors also have the benefit of tracking down homes that may be on the market but are not actively advertised to ensure you have the widest selection to choose from.
4. They will negotiate for you. During the buying and selling process there are many times when strong negotiating skills are of the utmost importance from the home price, financing, terms, date of possession, inclusion or exclusion of repairs to furniture and appliances. Your agent will be comfortable and knowledgeable with each of these items and will go into every negotiation with your best interests in mind. As your advocate, they want the best for your and have the know-how to get it for you.
5. They will market your property strategically. Your agent will make your home look its best through photographs and advertising, but their marketing prowess does not stop there. Realtors have a huge database of professional contacts and past clients who are always interested in hot new listings. Your home is guaranteed to be in the spotlight more with the help of a Realtor than if you sold it yourself meaning a faster sale and better price.
6. They speak the language. If you don't know a CMA from a PUD, you will quickly understand why it's important to have a professional on your side. Your Realtor knows the business and all of the lingo that goes with it and will happily explain every step along the way. You will save yourself a lot of time, frustration and headaches by allowing a professional to take charge.
7. The have experience. Most people buy and sell a few homes in a lifetime, usually with a significant time span between each purchase. Even if you have done it alone before, laws and regulations change constantly making selling a home now a much different process than a decade or two ago. Realtors handle hundreds of transactions each year and are required to be up to date and knowledgeable on any changes to the system. Having an expert navigate the process for you is critical to your success.
Nearly everyone rents at some point in their lives. Whether you are looking for your first apartment or searching for a new place, these tips will prepare you and make you feel at home in your new space.
1. Avoid Scams: When you begin your search make sure you are using reputable sources and ALWAYS make an appointment to meet with the landlord before agreeing to anything. See: Buyer Beware: Avoiding Rental Scams for more detailed information.
2. Pick The Right Neighborhood: You want to feel at home and safe in your new environment. Make sure to scout out the area of potential apartments before committing to any. A nice neighborhood will go a long way toward your well being and overall satisfaction.
3. Be Prepared: So you've found an apartment that fits your needs and have set up a meeting with the landlord--that's great! Now it's time to prepare. Think of your first meeting with the landlord as a job interview-you will want to make a good impression. Dress nicely and bring with you your rental application, list of references with contact information and a current copy of your credit report (or the information necessary for the landlord to run one). Your future landlord will be impressed with your responsibility which goes a long way in selecting a tenant.
4. Don't Forget Extra Costs: Remember that the cost of your rent should be no more than 28% of your gross monthly income. Don't forget the other costs associated with your new apartment though: heating, hot water, tv, internet, phone service etc. These all add up. Make yourself a monthly budget to be sure you can afford the apartment you are interested in before fully committing.
5. Review The Lease: Once your credit report comes back and the owner feels you are a good match for the apartment, you will sit down to review and sign the lease. It is important to read through the agreement carefully and ask questions on anything that isn't perfectly clear. Remember your landlord will be happy to explain the rules and regulations now but will not be as pleased to find out of any violations later. Remember to keep a signed copy of your lease for your reference.
6. Be Honest: If at anytime your living situation changes (new roommates, pets, accidents, etc.) make sure to contact your landlord immediately. It is always best to be direct and honest about changes than to have the owner find out through the grapevine of unsavory changes. Your landlord will appreciate the communication and be more likely to work with you. You risk violating your lease and facing possible eviction if you keep secrets--it's best to be honest from the beginning.
7. Keep Track of Issues: Be sure to notify your landlord of any problems you are experiencing with your apartment. Remember that this property is his investment as well as your home; a leaking sink is not only a nuisance to you but harmful to the property as well. This applies to neighbors as well--if you are having problems with another tenant that you cannot work out alone, let your landlord know.
8. Insure Your Property: The apartment building and property you live in is covered by your landlord's homeowners insurance. However, that insurance will not cover any personal property inside the residence. It is highly recommended that you invest in renters insurance to protect your belongings.
9. Protect Your Security Deposit: No one wants to think about moving out when they have just unpacked, but you need to take note of the conditions of the apartment. Make a list of anything you notice isn't perfect and give it to your landlord upon moving in. Then do your best to minimize wear and tear while you live in the apartment. Remember that you are liable for any damage that occurs while you occupy the apartment so fill any nail holes, offer to re-paint if necessary and thoroughly clean the apartment before moving out.
10. Treat Your Rental As Your Home: Even though this may be a temporary living situation, it is important you feel at home in your space. Transform the apartment as much as you can (abiding by the lease of course) to make the apartment your own. Why wait until you own a home to invest in art and furniture you love? Treat yourself now and make the most of your living situation.
Gina Masters, one of Signature Properties' most trusted agents, is proud to announce a new listing in Hinesburg!
The best of both worlds is here! Three BR home on 10 acres, yet only 13 miles to Burlington and 2 miles to many Hinesburg amenities. Private dead end road leads to this two story home with massive wrap around deck, walk-out basement w/garden windows, and a fabulously fun treehouse for the kids or any kid at heart! Recent updates include new exterior doors, Ash HW floors sanded/resurfaced, and new carpet in MBR. Bright and spacious kitchen/DR w/walk-in pantry, island and SGD to outside. LR has VT Castings Winter Warm System for max heating options. Master suite is 26 X 17 with large closet and bath w/jetted tub! High speed internet avail. This Hinesburg property is a beautiful slice of Vermont! do not miss out!
CLICK HERE for to view the entire listing
CLICK HERE to view the complete selection of Signature Properties.
Hank Gintof, one of Signature Properties' most valued agents, is proud to announce a new listing in Colchester!
Picture Perfect Colchester Townhouse situated by the woods with its own private entrance. Lots of awesome upgrades. New windows, new paint, new baths, laminate floors in BRs. Basement is finished but has no egress window, new slider being installed Aug 2011, super location! 9 Acres of common land with trails, End unit! Very private wooded setting with patio, fully applicanced kitchen with newer appliances and breakfast bar, LR with fireplace. Spacious and open floor-plan, gotta see it!
CLICK HERE for to view the entire listing
CLICK HERE to view the complete selection of Signature Properties.
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