real estate

Do Open Houses Work?

Take a quick drive around any residential neighborhood on the weekend and you’ll spot at least one “Open House” sign. Even as the real estate industry has changed over the past few decades, open houses have remained common practice. So, question is...do open houses work?


Data from the National Association of Realtors says that 7% people found the house they bought from a yard sign or open house. 


Most buyers who attend open houses are not ready, not qualified to buy or simply have no intention of buying...if anyone even shows up at all. Every agent I know has had at least one open house where they’ve sat for 3 hours just to have one curious neighbor who has considered selling their home come through. Once, I even had a neighbor come in, he sat on the couch and FELL ASLEEP! Seriously, I can’t make this stuff up. 

If a buyer is ready and serious, they will make an appointment for a private showing and be prequalified.


In todays digital age 95% of buyers are looking for homes online. That’s why photos, video, and property preparation are essential to making a great first impression online. If a buyer sees a house they’re interested in on Tuesday and they see that there is an open house on Sunday, do you think they will wait until the open house to see it? No way! If they’re serious about buying, they’ll call their agent and set up a showing immediately. 


Safety is also an issue because you’re allowing ANYONE to enter your home. This leaves your home vulnerable to theft and gives burglars an opportunity to scope out your belongings. So, is the risk worth the low probability of capturing a sale? 


In my experience, open houses are ineffective and a waste of a seller’s time. You may be wondering, why then do agents continue this archaic sales strategy? Open houses can actually provide leads for the agent...but that doesn’t help you sell your home. The short answer is we work for the seller and if the seller wants to hold an open house, that’s what we do. 


What’s your experience with open houses? Do you think they can be effective?


I’d be happy to discuss with you my marketing plan and strategies that are tailored to your home and needs! 

What’s my home really worth? Click here for a custom report.

Don't Become a Victim on Your Next Real Estate Transaction

By: David H. Rosenberg, Esq.

 

Technology has made a significant impact in the real estate industry; both good and bad. Unfortunately, as a result of the increase in technology, the real estate industry is being heavily targeted by cyber-criminals.

 

A criminal will often hack into the email of a realtor and monitor correspondence to a transaction. As the transaction nears closing, the criminal sends what appears to be an email from the buyer’s realtor or settlement agent, including substitute wire instructions on where the buyer should send his monies. The substitute wire instructions are for the criminal’s account rather than the account of the closing agent. Once the funds are wired, the criminal quickly withdraws the funds or moves them off-shore.

 

Therefore:

1. Realtors, attorneys and settlement agencies should utilize secure email systems.

 

2. Closing packages & nonpublic personal information should be sent encrypted.

 

3. Always confirm wire information via telephone, to a verified telephone number and

individual. Never rely on contact information contained within an email signature.

 

4. Always review and confirm the email address to which you are sending emails.

Criminals often use email domains which look substantially similar to those of the

parties to the transaction.

 

5. Remember that attorneys and settlement agencies do not change wire

instructions/banking information mid-transaction.

 

6. Remember to never wire to any account on which the name does not match the

name of the intended recipient (i.e. ABC Title Company will have an account titled

ABC Title Company or something substantially similar)

 

7. Never click on links in emails which appear to be suspect due to ongoing issues with

malware, ransomware and viruses.

 

In the event that a wire has been sent as a result of the above, immediately contact the banks in an attempt to stop the wire as well as the local police and Federal Bureau of Investigations.

 

© 2018 David H. Rosenberg, Esq.

DHR LAW

2639 Fruitville Road

Second Floor, Suite 208

Sarasota, Florida 34237

(941) 361-1153

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Avoid These 8 Home Inspection Mistakes

It’s easy to get swept up in the excitement of buying a home. Once you’ve had an offer accepted on your dream house, you’ll probably be anxious to move in. However, before you make a significant financial commitment, it’s best to know exactly what you’re buying.

When you hire a home inspector it's a worthwhile investment that can save you money in the long run, either by warning you away from a bad purchase or by providing a list of deficiencies you can use to negotiate with the sellers. Additionally, a good inspector can often predict the standard life expectancy of your roof, HVAC, and other big-ticket items so you can start planning for their eventual replacement.

However, many buyers make mistakes during the inspection process that cost them time and money and lead to unnecessary stress. Avoid these eight common buyer blunders to minimize your risk, protect your investment, and give yourself peace of mind and confidence in your new home purchase.

 

MISTAKE 1: Skip Your Own Inspection

Overall, does the home appear to be well maintained? Unless it’s a highly-competitive seller’s market, consider the overall condition of the property BEFORE you submit an offer. Work with your real estate agent to factor in repairs and updates you know you’ll need to make when you determine your offer price.

 

 

MISTAKE 2: Hire the Cheapest Inspector

We all love to save money, but not all inspectors are created equal. Before you hire one, do a little research.2 You may even want to start shopping for an inspector before you complete your home search. Inspection periods are typically short, so it never hurts to be prepared. 

Make sure the inspector is licensed and insured. Buyer beware...read the inspectors contract! Some inspectors have a clause in their contract that releases them from liability even if they make a big mistake. 

 

 

MISTAKE 3: Miss Attending the Inspection

Make every effort to be on-site during the inspection. Buyers who aren’t present during their inspection miss out on a great opportunity to gather valuable information about their new home.

 It’s the perfect chance to find out where everything is located, ask questions, and see first-hand what repairs and updates may be needed.3

 

 

MISTAKE 4: Skim Over the Report

Inspection reports can be long and tedious, and it can be tempting to skim over them. However, buyers who do this risk missing crucial information.

Instead, you should read over the report carefully, so you don’t miss anything significant. Now is the time to address any areas of concern. You have a limited window of time to request repairs or negotiate the selling price, so don’t squander it.

Your inspector may also flag some minor items that you wouldn’t typically expect a seller to fix. However, ignoring these small issues can sometimes lead to bigger problems down the road. Make sure you read everything in the report so you can take future action if needed.

 

 

MISTAKE 5: Avoid Asking Questions

Some buyers are too embarrassed to ask questions when there’s something in the inspection report they don’t understand. They avoid asking questions and end up uninformed about important issues that could impact their home purchase.

The reality is, questions are expected. You hired your inspector for their professional expertise, so don’t be shy about tapping into it. For example, you might ask:

 

  • Would you get this issue fixed in your own home?

  • How urgent is it?

  • What could happen if I don’t fix it?

  • Is this a simple issue I could fix myself?

  • What type of professional should I call?

  • Can you estimate how much it would cost to make this repair?

  • How much longer would you expect this system/structure/appliance to last?

  • What maintenance steps would you recommend?

 

 

MISTAKE 6: Expect a Perfect Report

Some buyers get scared off by a lengthy inspection report. But with around 1600 items on an inspector’s checklist, you shouldn’t be surprised if yours uncover a large number of deficiencies.4 The key is to understand which problems require simple fixes, and which ones will require extensive (and costly) repairs. 

Your real estate agent can help you decide if and how to approach the sellers about making repairs or reducing the price. Whatever you do, try to focus on the major issues identified in the inspector’s report, and don’t expect the sellers to address every minor item on the list. They will be more receptive if they perceive your requests to be reasonable.

 

 

MISTAKE 7: Forgo Additional Testing

There are times when an agent or inspector will recommend bringing in a specialist to evaluate a potential issue.5 For example, they may suggest testing for mold or consulting with a roofing expert. 

Some buyers get spooked by the possibility of a “red flag” and decide to jump ship. Or, in their haste to close or desire to save money, they choose to ignore the recommendation for additional testing altogether. 

Don’t make these potentially costly mistakes. In some cases, the specialist will offer a free evaluation that takes minimal time to schedule. And if not, the small investment you make could provide you with peace of mind or save you a fortune in future repairs.

 

 

MISTAKE 8: Skip Re-inspection of Repairs

While the majority of sellers are forthcoming, some will try to save money by cutting corners, hiring unlicensed technicians, or doing the work themselves. Make sure the repairs are completed properly now, so you aren’t paying to redo them later.

Some buyers prefer to avoid this step altogether by completing the work themselves. They either request that the seller to give a credit or reduce the selling price accordingly. Whichever path you choose, protect yourself and your investment by ensuring the work is done properly.

 

 

I CAN HELP

A home inspection can reduce your risk and save you money over the long-term. But to maximize its effectiveness, it must be done properly. Avoid these eight common home inspection mistakes to safeguard your investment.

While these are some of the most common missteps, there are countless others that can trip up home buyers, cost them time and money, and cause undue stress. Our brokerage partners with trusted inspectors and other professionals to help you avoid the potential pitfalls.

If you’re in the market to buy a home, I can help you navigate the inspection and all the other steps in the buying process.  Contact me to schedule a free consultation. It would be my pleasure to serve you on your home-buying venture! 

What’s my home worth? Click HERE to get your free custom report.

 

 

Sources:

  1. https://www.familyhandyman.com/tools/diy-home-inspection-tools/view-all/

  2. https://www.hgtv.com/design/real-estate/finding-the-right-home-inspector

  3. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/23/realestate/home-inspection.html

  4. https://www.realtor.com/advice/buy/what-does-a-home-inspector-look-for/

  5. https://realtytimes.com/advicefromagents/item/37369-top-5-biggest-home-inspection-mistakes

  6. https://www.realtor.com/advice/buy/home-inspection-mistakes-buyers-should-avoid/

  7. http://www.startribune.com/who-verifies-repairs-after-the-home-inspection/132844523/

Kitchen & Bath Trends to Watch in 2018

If you're considering a home improvement project, you'll want to keep a few things in mind that will help you get the biggest bang for your buck. The return on your investment depends on the value of your home and the value of homes in your neighborhood. For example, if your home value and the houses in your neighborhood are in the 200's, it's unwise (if you plan to sell in the near future) to put in a $15k subzero refrigerator. You'll end up losing money on that investment when you sell. 

Adding expensive features like a $50k pool doesn't mean that your home will increase by $50k in value. Look at the comparable homes with pools in your neighborhood to see how much more they sell for. That will give you a true value of the special features your home has to offer.  

If you do spring for home improvements, aside from regular maintenance, kitchen and bath renovations have one of the highest returns on investment. If you plan to sell soon, here are some tips that will help your home stand out.

 

KITCHEN TRENDS

While white kitchens will remain popular in 2018, expect to see more color this year in everything from cabinets to tile to appliances.

 

1. Two-toned Cabinets

Two-toned cabinets are quickly overtaking the white-on-white look that has dominated kitchen design for the past few years. While white remains a classic, grey and bleached-wood cabinet variations are surging in popularity, along with darker neutrals like navy and green.

twotonecabinets.png

 

2. Quartz Countertops

Granite reigned as the top countertop choice for many years, but quartz is now king. It’s highly durable, low-maintenance and comes in a wide variety of styles and colors. It’s also heat resistant, scratch resistant and non-porous (unlike granite and marble) so it doesn’t need to be sealed.

 

3. Bold Backsplashes

After years of dominating backsplash design, white subway while still a classic look, will become less common. Expect to see it replaced with more elaborate shapes, patterns, colors and textures. Tile that mimics the appearance of wood, concrete and wallpaper is also gaining in popularity.

 

4. Statement Sinks

While stainless steel and white porcelain are always safe bets, the trend is moving toward sinks that make more of a statement. Look for unexpected pops of color and materials like natural stone and copper. Touch-free faucets are expected to gain favor with homeowners this year, too.

stone sink.png

 

5. Brass is (Still) Back

Brass fixtures came back in a big way over the past couple of years and will continue to be a popular choice in 2018 along with matte black, black nickel, polished chrome and brushed nickel.

 

6. Multi-purpose Islands

Kitchen islands have evolved from simple prep-stations into the “workhorse” of the kitchen. Many feature sinks, built-in appliances and under-counter storage while also serving as a casual dining area. They have become the focal point of the kitchen, and we expect to see more of them in 2018 and beyond.

islands.png

 

7. Black Stainless Steel

Black stainless steel is the hot new finish option for appliances, and it’s hitting the market in a big way. It offers a cutting-edge look and is easier to keep clean than traditional stainless steel. However, it’s harder to match finishes amongst different brands, so it’s probably only feasible as part of a complete appliance package.

 

8. Appliance Garages

Appliance garages are counter-level compartments designed to house small appliances like blenders, toasters and stand mixers. They make it convenient to have these items readily accessible, without the look of a cluttered counter.

appliance garages.png

 

 

BATH TRENDS

Expect to see many of the same kitchen design preferences carry over into bathrooms this year, including two-tone cabinets, quartz countertops and brass fixtures.

 

1. Neutral Tones

Neutral shades will continue to dominate in the master bathroom as homeowners seek a soothing and relaxing retreat atmosphere. But expect to see more options than just white. Shades of brown, grey, blue, green and tan will help to warm things up.

 

2. Natural Elements

Natural materials are particularly hot right now in bathroom design. This includes the use of wood and stone on walls, cabinets, counters and backsplashes, as well as the incorporation of botanical design elements.

Screen Shot 2018-02-20 at 10.11.44 PM.png

 

3. Large Tiles

We expect to see a lot more large and slab-sized tiles in bathrooms, which have less grout so they are easier to clean and maintain. Wood-look porcelain tiles are also a favorite in wet areas, as they offer the warmth and rustic appeal of wood with the durability of tile.

 

4. Stone Sinks

Sinks will continue to be an area where homeowners like to exhibit creativity, and hand-carved stone sinks are especially fashionable right now. These may be more suited to powder rooms, where functionality isn’t as crucial.

Screen Shot 2018-02-20 at 10.12.13 PM.png

 

5. Freestanding Tubs

There’s been a tub resurgence in bathroom design after years of preference for stand-alone showers. Modern tastes are gravitating toward freestanding tubs that serve as a showpiece for the bathroom. Read about our massive freestanding tub here. I loooooove it!

freestandingtub.jpg

 

6. Smart Features

Smart technology has entered the bathroom with the addition of features like wireless shower speakers and high-tech toilets, as well as digital shower controls that automatically adjust to your preferences in temperature and spray intensity.

 

MY ADVICE

Style trends come and go, so don’t invest in the latest look unless you love it. That said, highly- personalized or outdated style choices can limit the appeal of your property for resale.

For major renovation projects, it’s always a good idea to stick to neutral colors and classic styles. It will give your remodel longevity and appeal to the greatest number of buyers when it comes time to sell. It will also give you flexibility to update your look in a few years without a total overhaul. Use non-permanent fixtures – like paint, furniture and accent pieces – to personalize the space and incorporate trendier choices.

If you’d like advice on a specific remodeling or design project, give me a call! I'd be happy to offer my insights and suggestions on how to maximize your return on investment and recommend local shops and service providers who may be able to assist you.

Sources: 

  1. Country Living –

    http://www.countryliving.com/home-design/decorating-ideas/g3988/kitchen-trends

  2. Elle Decor –

    http://www.elledecor.com/design-decorate/trends/g14486069/kitchen-trends-2018/

  3. Gates Interior Design –

    https://gatesinteriordesign.com/hottest-interior-design-trends-for-2018/

    https://gatesinteriordesign.com/biggest-kitchen-bath-trends-for-2018/

  4. HGTV.com –

    http://www.hgtv.com/design/rooms/kitchens/17-top-kitchen-design-trends-pictures

  5. House Beautiful –

    http://www.housebeautiful.com/room-decorating/kitchens/g2664/kitchen-trends/

    http://www.housebeautiful.com/design-inspiration/g13938283/2018-decor-trends/

  6. Realty Times –                                  http://realtytimes.com/advicefromagents/item/1007993-kitchen-design-trends-in-2018?rtmpage=MattLawler

  7. Sebring Design Build –                                                          https://sebringdesignbuild.com/top-trends-in-bathroom-design/

5 Tips to Increase Your Home's Value

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.

 

1. 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.

 

2. 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.

 

3. 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. 

 

Include trees and shrubs to create texture and add interest to your landscape. Different types of trees and shrubs of varying heights, widths and flowering times boosts your home’s curb appeal year-round.

 

4. 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.

 

5. 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:

1. 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.

2. 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.

3. Permits. If you’re planning an extensive exterior renovation, you may need a permit from your municipality or other authority.

4. 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 me a call and I'll help you present your home in its best light.

 

Sources: 1. Remodeling, 2016 Cost vs Value Report

            2. Realtor Mag, September 22, 2016

            3. REALTOR.com

            4. Houzz, Houzz & Home-U.S., June 2016

            5. Houselogic.com