March 2016 “Market Minute”

“Hey, John/Ashley! How’s the market?!” – The most common question consumers – future buyers and sellers alike – ask us about the local real estate market on a daily basis.

“It’s great! We’re busy! Inventory is low! Buyers are buying! Know anyone who wants to sell?” – Most common short answers we typically provide when we’re out and about, usually in line at the grocery store or in passing. Of course, when time allows, more detailed explanations, thoughts and answers are given and usually end up in great conversation.

*light bulb moment* – If everyone wants to know how the current market is doing and how it stacks up against this time last year, why don’t we put the facts together and share it?

Let us introduce… the “Market Minute”… last months hard number statistics compared to the same time last year. Facts directly from the MLS stating how our local Englewood, North Port, Port Charlotte and Punta Gorda markets are doing.

Market Minute Mar

 

The  Minute’s “key” (see what I did there?!):

  • “Avg. List Price” is the total amount of homes that were listed last month, their listing prices added together then divided by the amount of homes listed
  • “Avg. Sale Price” is the total amount of homes that were sold last month, their sold prices added together then divided by the amount of homes sold
  • “Days on Market” this is the average amount of days a home was on the market before it fully went under contract. It’s the cumulative amount of days starting from day 1 when the home was listed to day “x” where the home’s offer was fully executed
  • “Homes Sold” you guessed it, the total amount of homes that had the opportunity to put the desirable “SOLD” status on their property!

Want more specific numbers to your home or what’s going on in your neighborhood? Just ask, it’d be our pleasure to help you!

**All statistics are from the Mid-Florida Regional MLS and include ALL of Englewood, North Port, Port Charlotte and Punta Gorda, Florida**

Want to view local MLS listings for free?  Visit www.AshleyHouseman.com and feel free to ask us any questions about any homes for sale on the market or if you would like to have an exclusive preview of one in person!

February 2016 “Market Minute”

“Hey, John/Ashley! How’s the market?!” – The most common question consumers – future buyers and sellers alike – ask us about the local real estate market on a daily basis.

“It’s great! We’re busy! Inventory is low! Buyers are buying! Know anyone who wants to sell?” – Most common short answers we typically provide when we’re out and about, usually in line at the grocery store or in passing. Of course, when time allows, more detailed explanations, thoughts and answers are given and usually end up in great conversation.

*light bulb moment* – If everyone wants to know how the current market is doing and how it stacks up against this time last year, why don’t we put the facts together and share it?

Let us introduce… the “Market Minute”… last months hard number statistics compared to the same time last year. Facts directly from the MLS stating how our local Englewood, North Port, Port Charlotte and Punta Gorda markets are doing.

Market Minute_2-2016.png

The  Minute’s “key” (see what I did there?!):

  • “Avg. List Price” is the total amount of homes that were listed last month, their listing prices added together then divided by the amount of homes listed
  • “Avg. Sale Price” is the total amount of homes that were sold last month, their sold prices added together then divided by the amount of homes sold
  • “Days on Market” this is the average amount of days a home was on the market before it fully went under contract. It’s the cumulative amount of days starting from day 1 when the home was listed to day “x” where the home’s offer was fully executed
  • “Homes Sold” you guessed it, the total amount of homes that had the opportunity to put the desirable “SOLD” status on their property!

Want more specific numbers to your home or what’s going on in your neighborhood? Just ask, it’d be our pleasure to help you!

**All statistics are from the Mid-Florida Regional MLS and include ALL of Englewood, North Port, Port Charlotte and Punta Gorda, Florida**

 

“Hot Trends” on NAR’s RE Today Radio! [according to the Housemans]

How to flatter a Realtor beyond measure? Ask them to be a guest on the National Association of Realtors radio station, Real Estate Today, for their insight on selling a home to millennials in today’s market – for a third time.

Translation: my Realtor Mothership likes me enough [and apparently their listeners too?] to come back on the air to give advice to all the sellers in the world through their broadcast. It’s basically like Christmas, my birthday, winning a partial ticket in the lottery [if I ever played] and having the ability to eat Girl Scout Thin Mints year-round bundled into one, big happy emotion.

Listen to the broadcast (it’s short, I’m not boring but I do say “absolutely” a lot, sorry)


Don’t have time to listen but like to read? Here’s my synopsis (or rather the script with my scribbles):

Real Estate Today:  On today’s show – ‘Hot Trends,’ we’re looking at what’s happening in the American Home. How it looks, how it’s equipped and also – how to reel in the home buyers – if THIS is the year you plan to sell. It’s no secret that many buyers – especially younger buyers – like a home they can move right into. And one that has all the features they want. Present a house like that – and you have a much better chance of selling in the minimum time for the maximum profit!

So let’s talk about exactly what those younger buyers want in today’s market. Joining us now is Ashley Houseman, Realtor and Associate Broker with the Houseman Team, at Coldwell Banker Sunstar Realty – in Port Charlotte, Florida. Ashley’s also a member of NAR’s Young Professionals Network. Ashley how are you today?
Ashley: Awesometastic! I didn’t really say that, but I thought it. It seemed silly to write this out!

RE Today:   Ashley, first of all, how’s business down on the West Coast of Florida?
Ashley: Business is busy! Probably one of our favorite times of the year, spring break through summer… we feel it’s one of our busiest times because snowbirds are ending their season and ready to buy for next season and families are gearing up to buy so they can move on summer break. We’re ready for them!

RE Today: So Ashley – as we all know, the Millennial generation is the biggest demographic group in America – what are they looking for when they buy homes, and how can a seller give it to them?
Ashley
: Millennials are looking for value and a great home for the price. We’re realistic that this demographic is searching online looking at hundreds of homes before they ever call a Realtor. They’re comparing prices. Neighborhoods. Getting a good idea of what type of home they can get for their money. Keeping this in mind when we’re listing our homes, we educate the seller on a few key things that will help them stand out among these hundreds of homes buyers are sifting through – presentation – it’s all about the pictures. We educate our sellers on how to stage their home and prepare it for photos and showings so that when we take our professional photographs, we stand out amongst the other comparable homes that we’re up against in their listing range – which in turn gets us more activity online, more showings and hopefully an offer sooner! 

RE Today:  Our Millennial friends say they like homes that are ready to go – not interested in months of repairs, and fix-ups. Sounds like a seller would do well to make their house is in really good repair before going on the market.

With that in mind – have any of your clients actually had a home inspection – on their own dime – before putting their home on the market? So that when buyers come around – it’s kind of ‘perfect?’
Ashley: When discussing preparing a home to hit the market, sometimes sellers will ask our opinion on whether or not we feel that they should get their own home inspection in order to show a buyer what issues there are with the property. We always recommend against this, since many homes in our market are sold “as is” and the buyer will likely conduct their own home inspection within their inspection contingency period, which is typically 15 days in Florida unless negotiated otherwise. Instead, we recommend our sellers complete a sellers disclosure which we include in the MLS as an attachment, which is a series of questions completed by the homeowner to the best of their knowledge and serves as an overview of the home (plumbing, roof, deed restrictions, etc). We get this upfront when we list the home, as it shows the buyer transparency and that the seller is not trying to hide anything from the buyer. As a buyer, always ask your agent to as the listing agent for a copy of the sellers disclosure when they are considering making an offer on the property. 

RE Today: How about energy efficiency? Does that come up on a Millennial buyer’s shopping list?
Ashley: This year, Coldwell Banker was a co-sponsor for the Smart Home Showcase at the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show. Prior to the show, they conducted a survey interviewing over 4,000 adults in the United States testing their knowledge on smart homes. When they were asked what they thought would consider a home to be “smart”, the top choices were security (such as locks and alarm systems), temperature (thermostats and fans), lighting (bulbs and lighting systems) and safety (night lights, fire and carbon monoxide detectors). “smart” home technology has come a long away and have found ways to create homes more energy efficient which is becoming more and more desirable to today’s buyer

HOT NOTES* (Courtesy of Coldwell Banker’s Blue Matter Blog):
Can smart home technology help you sell your home faster?

  • More than half of homeowners (54 percent) would purchase or install smart home products if they were selling their home and knew that doing so would make it sell faster.

Most Americans think a home can be considered “smart” if it has smart security, temperature, lighting and safety.

  • When asked about what needs to be in a home for it to be considered “smart,” the top choices were security (e.g., locks and alarm systems – 63 percent), temperature (e.g., thermostats and fans – 63 percent), lighting (e.g., light bulbs and lighting systems – 58 percent) and safety (e.g., fire / carbon monoxide detectors and nightlights – 56 percent).

    *shoutout to Tori Keichinger! Great article, friend! 

RE Today: And how can a seller help attract the energy-conscious buyer? Is showing the buyer the utility bills a help – or not?
Ashley: We always try to avoid asking for bills for our buyer or providing bills for a potential buyer for this main reason – just as every home is different in its construction and how it will handle heating and cooling – every buyer is different on how much or how little they use energy or utilities. Growing up, I remember as a little kid that if my dad heard an exterior door open and wasn’t shut within a few seconds, he’d exclaim “shut the door, I’m not paying to air condition the whole neighborhood!” As a kid, that seemed so silly to me… but now as an adult and momma of 3 young boys, my dad’s words echo in my thoughts and make me chuckle, as his words were so true when you’re being conscious about your heating and cooling bills – especially in the middle of our Florida summers! Every customer is going to be very different on how they utilize and conserve their water and utilities so asking for someone else’s bills could really skew your view on considering a property if your habits are different from the current homeowners’

RE Today:  And how about internet? Most places have broadband now – but many people – not just young people – require blazing fast internet. Can that help a seller, who could use that as a marketing element?
Ashley: How do people live without internet? Under our roof we have 2 adults with phones, iPads and computers, 2 toddlers running around tablets, and an AppleTV all streaming on our home network!! I guess you could say that internet – fast internet – is very important in our house! Our market can be very limiting on the service provider and type of service that as available to you, as some providers are heavily prevalent in some neighborhoods while absent in others. When selling our first home and buying our second 20 minutes north, we were unable to transfer our internet/television/phone service provider as they had not yet reached our new neighborhood yet. Our recommendation to buyers is if there is a specific provider or type of internet service you require as part of your new home selection process, be sure to check with your preferred provider to make sure that your prospective new home is within their coverage area prior to making an offer!

RE Today: Speaking of marketing, what about social media? That’s probably the hottest of all the hot trends out there. How can a seller and their Realtor use social media to help attract buyers?
Ashley: You have to be careful how you use social media to advertise your listings, as it can either excite your audience or totally turn them off. Try and deviate away from what all the other agents are doing in your market such as simply just posting the MLS link or posts for an open house. Make it fun, interesting, create some excitement with your post. Make sure your agent is using good grammar, correct spelling and truly highlighting the selling features of your home and do it with photos – good and attractive photos – that will lure your target audience into wanting to learn more and hopefully bring you the perfect buyer.

Ashley Houseman, Realtor and Associate Broker with the Houseman Team, at Coldwell Banker Sunstar Realty – in Port Charlotte, Florida. And, a member of NAR’s Young Professionals Network. Ashley – thanks for joining us today!

(thank you for having me again, Stephen Gasque and the RE Today Team!! Next time you’re in Florida, a charter should be be on the agenda!)

Adventures in First Time Home Buying (what to look for and what to avoid)

[Blog content featured on Coldwell Banker’s Blue Matter, May 16th, 2013: http://blog.coldwellbanker.com/adventures-in-first-time-home-buying-what-to-look-for-and-what-to-avoid/]

There’s nothing more exciting than researching homes on the internet, sifting through hundreds (maybe thousands) of photos of homes listed for sale until you narrow down the possibilities and compile your list of those you’d like to see in person. In most cases, a picture is truly worth a thousand words.

On numerous occasions, I’ve had the pleasure of walking through homes with First Time Home Buyers to discover some of the most outrageous and interesting features a house could possibly possess. Some in which you wish the Realtor would have posted pictures of, so you could’ve ruled it out as a possibility and saved yourself the gas and your precious time to see it.

Epic Fail: Roadblock for Resale!

Epic Fail: Roadblock for Resale!
Blog content featured on Coldwell Banker’s Blue Matter, May 16th, 2013: http://blog.coldwellbanker.com/adventures-in-first-time-home-buying-what-to-look-for-and-what-to-avoid/

Homes with holes in the floor (we could see the dirt fill below), bathrooms with the door against the toilet, homes that were previous crime scenes (which I found out later via “Googling” the address), an ENTIRE home that was a dedicated shrine of Dale Earnhardt Jr (I’m a fan, just not an entire house of it) and my personal favorite:  a bidet in the middle of a bedroom, yes, a bedroom.

It’s tough to see yourself in a home when either photos don’t do a good home justice or when a potential home is washed out by clutter or issues that are hard to look past. Here’s a few tips to help you to weed out the bad ones from the diamonds in the rough:

Do Your Homework:
Go online:  Did you know that most Realtors can send you listings via email to check out from the web from the comfort of your couch? Use their services to check out homes! Their MLS will be your most up-to-date source for what’s available on the market. Also check out www.ColdwellBanker.com and their app as well.
Do the Drive-by:  If it’s a good possibility, drive by the home and see if you like the location. This will help you to weed out more homes than you think.

Look Past the Surface:
Good Bones:  If shag carpet and gaudy wallpaper isn’t your thing, don’t sweat it. Those are cheap fixes to a home that may have great bones. Look past the things that are easily replaceable and look at the layout of the home, as adding an addition is way more expensive than that gorgeous granite you’ve been dreaming of.
Don’t Fall for the Bells & Whistles: Quite opposite of the last tip. A home may have some sweet upgrades like solid countertops and stainless appliances, but you aren’t too crazy about the layout. Just remember, you can always customize the home down the road but living in a home with an awkward layout can eventually get annoying. It’s more expensive to do a total renovation (knocking down walls, permits, etc) than it is to buy an entire stainless kitchen on a Memorial Day sale.

Think About the Future:
Resale, Resale, Resale:  That small bedroom that is a decent “office” now may not be a considered good-sized bedroom for a buyer down the road when you’re trying to sell, as this personally cost us 10+ buyers when selling our home!  Don’t compromise on things that you think may hinder your chances of selling the home in the future.
Replacement Costs:  Buying a home is an investment, especially if you have to replace a ton of stuff inside. Take a closer look at things like the roof, air conditioning unit, pool pump, and other high ticket items that could be in need of replacing. It’s good to budget replacement costs into your yearly budget, but you don’t want to take on a home that needs everything replaced all at once.

A Home Fit for a Family:
Busy Streets:  If you have or plan on having kids, that’s great, just make sure the house accommodates them! Any parent of a toddler will tell you that living on a busy street is one of the scariest things in the world as you watch cars fly by your driveway. Consider an area that has less traffic and will be safer for the little ones.
A Tub:  As silly as it sounds, you will want a tub in the guest bathroom. Unless you want your sweet munchkins taking over your master every night until they can bathe themselves, save yourself the insanity and make sure there’s a tub in the guest bathroom for the little ones.

These are just a few things to think about when you’re looking to buy a home for the first time. When in doubt about certain things, always consult your Realtor, as they are your best source of information in the home buying process.

No matter what your first time home buying adventure is like, just remember, you could always have a bidet in the middle of your bedroom.

A Mom’s Guide to Selling a Home While Maintaining a Family Life

What do you do to keep your home in showing condition while balancing your family life? Watch this video and tell us your tips and ideas below.


[Video featured in Coldwell Banker’s Blue Matter Blog, Mother’s Day 2013]
[Like the home featured in this video? It’s for sale, 5+ Acres of Southern Charm]

Being a mom is a lot of work, whether you’re working or even a stay-home-mom. Finding time to get everything done in a 24 hour period can be tough and adding keeping your house perfect for a buyer viewing your house at any moment is just icing on the cake.

Here are a few tips that you can do to stay on top of your busy mommy lifestyle, raising kiddos, and keeping your home ready for that perfect buyer to walk in the door.

ORGANIZE & DECLUTTER!
1) Keep it Simple- Pack furniture, toys and other stuff away that’s not being used. Good rule of thumb is if it’s not used on a weekly basis, you won’t miss it if it’s in stored away for a while.

2) Get a System– Whether it’s the playroom, the kids rooms, your office (in this case the crafting mommy’s dream den), or the closets – get an organization system that works for you. If everything has a place, you’ll be more likely to keep it organized that way.

3) Clean out the closets– The simplicity factor should carry over to your closets. If there’s seasonal clothes in there that you aren’t wearing or if you’ve been putting off donating clothes to charity, now’s the time to do it. The less you have in your closet, the more room the buyer has to visualize their own stuff in that space.

CLEAN UP!
1) Curb Appeal & Entry– First impression is everything! Have some family time on a Saturday or after school one day to have the kids help pull the weeds, mow the lawn, and trim up the bushes. This will give the buyer a good first impression as they walk up to the front door. [check out 5 DIY Deck Makeover Projects Under $300 For The Weekend you may also like 5 Awesomely Easy Landscaping Projects]

2) Clean as You Go- Although it may take a little more time to complete your task at the moment, you’ll thank yourself at the end of the day when you only spend a few minutes tidying up as opposed to an hour. Done with dinner, give the kids a chore and rinse/fill the dishwasher! Hamper is full, throw it in the washer before dinner, dryer after, then fold it together watching a movie before bed. I promise you’ll thank yourself later when you get more time to yourself at the end of the night rather than cleaning.

3) Break it Up– I’ll usually take on different cleaning tasks every other night. For instance, one night vacuum, another sweep and mop, and another night wipe down bathrooms. This will keep you from being overwhelmed and doing it all at once when you get a call for a showing, which can be super stressful.

4) Spot/Speed Clean- I’ve managed to get a cleaning caddy that keeps all my supplies together and am able to make a quick sweep of the house once I get a call for a quick showing. Even if you just did a deep clean the night before, the spot clean comes in handy, as it did for me just the other day when I was doing a quick check of each room about an hour before a showing just to find a crayon mural on the kitchen window. After a chuckle, quick picture for Facebook, and some Windex from my caddy, I was on to the next room. Once I’ve finished a room, I turn on the light so I know that room is finished and move on to the next one. Lights (especially accent lights!) liven up the home and make it feel more inviting as the buyers walk through… take the time to turn them on before you leave, it makes a difference!

There’s  just a few tips I have for busy mom’s to help sell their home while keepin’ up with the kiddos.

I’d love to hear your thoughts and what you’re doing to keep your home in showing condition while balancing your family life below!

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Connect with Coldwell Banker (@ColdwellBanker), Lindsay Listanski (@LListanski), and myself (@brokerEXCLUSIVE) on Twitter for the latest in real estate.

For more local real estate information in Punta Gorda, Port Charlotte, Englewood and North Port Florida, check out my personal Realtor source   www.AshleyHouseman.com

5 DIY Deck Makeover Projects Under $300 For The Weekend

  • Want to upgrade your deck but watching your budget? Here are 5 easy deck makeover ideas, many well under $300. (Photo courtesy of www.houselogic.com)

    Want to upgrade your deck but watching your budget? Here are 5 easy deck makeover ideas, many well under $300. (Photo courtesy of http://www.houselogic.com)

     

    You won’t have to plug them in or wire anything, either. Their solar-charged batteries are renewed every day, and the lights are built to withstand all kinds of weather.

    Types and cost:

    • Paper lanterns (made from synthetic, weatherproof nylon; $20-$30) are made for hanging and come in all sorts of fun shapes, sizes, and colors.
    • Carriage lights can be fixed on top of a pillar or railing newel post. $45-$150.
    • Solar illuminated replicas of old-fashioned mason jars can be set on any flat surface, about $35.
    • Rope lights have small LED bulbs inside a flexible cord. A 25-foot-long rope with solar charger and stand is $25.

    What else: Suspend lanterns from overhead trellises, railings, and nearby trees, where they’ll shed a soft, colorful glow. Wind rope lights around rafters and railings.

    2. Install a stone landing at the foot of your deck stairs
    3. Put up a privacy screen
    4. Paint a faux floor rug on your decking
    5. Wash and refinish your wood decking

    2. Install a stone landing at the foot of your deck stairs

    Dress up the transition from your deck to your yard with a little hardscaping — a stone landing at the bottom of your deck stairs. Stones are a natural compliment to wood decks, and they’ll help prevent mud from forming where there’s heavy foot traffic.

    Cost: Flagstone is priced by the pound; you’ll spend $60-$100 for enough stone for a 3-by-4-foot landing.

    How-to: Techniques for installing a landing are the same as putting in a patio, although you’ll have to temporarily support your existing stairway while you work around — and under — it.


    What else: You should be able to add a landing in less than a day. It’ll get done faster if you hire a pro, but it’ll cost you another $150-$200 in labor.

    3. Put up a privacy screen

    Whether you’re relaxing alone au naturel or entertaining friends, a little home privacy is always welcome. You can add some vertical supports and fill in a variety of cool screening materials that are as nice for your neighbors to look at as they are for you.

    Types and costs:

    • Bamboo fencing comes in a 6-by-16-foot roll for $20-$25.
    • Lattice panels are either wood or plastic, $15-$30 for a 4-by-8-foot panel.
    • Grow climbing plants on a trellis ($20-$100) to create a living privacy screen. Plant climbing vines in tall containers ($40-$120) to raise them above the deck surface and give them a head start filling in your screen.
    • Outdoor fabric resists moisture and fading; $12-$120 per yard. You’ll pay another $20 to have a seamstress cut and hem a 3-by-5-foot panel.

    How-to: Your privacy screen should integrate with your deck; make the framework using the same basic materials as your deck railing and structure.

    Add some flash by building a frame with 2-by-2- or 2-by-4-inch uprights spaced 1 foot apart, then weaving aluminum flashing between the uprights.

    What else: Make sure to position your privacy screen where you’ll get maximum benefit. Sit on your deck and check your lines of sight.

    4. Paint a faux floor rug on your decking

    Punch up a boring old deck with a faux rug. This is a fairly low-cost project with a big wow factor, and one you can share making with your (well-behaved) kids. It works best on a newly cleaned deck (see below.)

    Cost: Most of your cost will be deck stain or paint in various colors. Because you won’t be using that much stain per color, you can buy quarts. Figure $15-$20 per quart.

    How-to: Figure out a size, sketch out the design on your decking, and then all you have to do is paint or stain between the lines. You can use painter’s tape as a guide, but a little leakage is likely on a wood decking surface.


    What else: Keep a few basic cleaning supplies on hand for any drips or spills. After the stain is dry, coat the entire deck with a clear deck sealer.

    5. Wash and refinish your wood decking

    The ultimate deck makeover is none other than a good cleaning. Applying a coat of deck sealant afterwards ensures your wood decking looks great and will last for decades.

    Cost: There are many brands of deck cleaning and brightening solutions. Some require the deck to be wet; others need the decking to be dry. Some are harmful to plants and you’ll have to use plastic sheeting to protect your landscaping. Consult the instructions carefully.

    You’ll pay $15-$25 per gallon, enough to clean 300 sq. ft. of decking.

    How-to: Scrubbing with a good cleaning solution and rinsing with a garden hose is more foolproof than scouring your decking with a power washer that may damage the surface of the wood.


    What else: After you deck is cleaned, apply a coat of deck stain or clear finish. The sealer wards off dirt, wear, and UV rays, and helps prevent deck splinters. A gallon covers 250-350 sq. ft., $20-$35/gal.

    BackPorch1

    Want to upgrade your deck but watching your budget? Here are 5 easy deck makeover ideas, many well under $300.

5 Deck Makeover Projects Under $300

By: John Riha

Published: July 2, 2012

Want to upgrade your deck but watching your budget? Here are 5 easy deck makeover ideas, many well under $300. Read

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