Area Real Estate News & Market Trends

You’ll find our blog to be a wealth of information, covering everything from local market statistics and home values to community happenings. That’s because we care about the community and want to help you find your place in it.

We are here to help you from the beginning of the home buying process through closing and after.  We have great knowledge in getting buyers approved, helping everyone know how to increase your credit scores. Everyone has different needs and we have the experience to know how to help you.

We have a client care program for you to find the right vendor for your needs.  See our Affiliated Partners.

Please reach out if you have any questions at all. We’d love to talk with you! 352-266-2637

 

Oct. 29, 2020

DIY Renovations Cause Problems?

Picture of guy in hardware store

 

DIY Renovations Causing Inspection Problems

I’m sure you’ve all seen them, home inspection pictures that show some of the unbelievable things we inspectors find. Trust me, over the years I’ve seen my share of crazy things.

Many of these inspection issues originates with a home owner deciding they could upgrade or fix something on their own instead of calling a professional. Unfortunately, these funny stories often turn into inspection problems down the road when it’s time to sell the house. Some of the main DIY issues I’ve seen fall into three categories:

The homeowner never pulled a permit.  I’ve seen many “repairs” or changes where a permit was obviously never pulled which indicates it was a DIY gone wrong job.

Wrong materials. Professionals know what materials to use to make something secure, safe and long lasting. Many DIY jobs end up needing repairs for this reason alone.

Overconfidence. Just because you watched an HGTV marathon doesn’t mean you’re ready to redo the bathroom on your own. While some of these projects end up functionally (sort of) working, they look nothing like what you saw on tv.

 

 Have a question about a concerning DIY job you’ve seen? If so, call me with questions. I’m always happy to help.

 

Terry Boring

 

Strategic Inspection Service

3512 East Silver Springs Blvd PMB #124, Ocala, FL 34470

Posted in Helping Sellers, home
Oct. 17, 2020

How much money will go into your pocket after your home is sold?

It’s not what you make, it’s what you keep that matters. This holds especially true when it comes to the sale of your home.

The sales price you see at the top of the closing paperwork is rarely, if ever, the amount of money that ends up in your pocket as the seller.

There are often a variety of costs and fees associated with getting a home sold, so it’s important that you understand exactly what you’re going to walk away with before you put a sign in your front lawn to let the world know it’s for sale.

The smart thing to do is to consult with a great local agent and have them go over what industry experts call a net sheet.

A net sheet is a financial worksheet that takes the sales price of a listing and then subtracts what the costs and fees are to get a home sold, giving you the net proceeds from the sale of the home.

The math is simple and when done correctly, it will give you an extremely clear picture of what you’ll walk away with when you sell your home.

Here’s a sample net sheet that a real estate agent would use with you prior to listing your home to make sure you knew what selling your home meant to you financially.

Let’s take closer look at how much money will go into your pocket after your home is sold.

House price: This one speaks for itself. It’s not the price a which your home is first listed, it’s the price at which the home actually sells when all is said and done.

First loan balance: This amount usually represents the original mortgage you took out on your home when you first bought your house. Ideally, it’s the main lien holder on your house.

Second loan balance: If you took out a second mortgage or home equity loan, this would qualify as a second loan balance.

Other loans: If you took out a third loan on your home or pledged it as collateral, it would show up here. Or, if there’s another loan you’d like to pay off with the mortgage, you would list it here.

Property taxes yearly paid/Annual property taxes: This one is a bit misleading. The reason is that your property tax allocation is going to be prorated based upon when you actually close your home. You’ll get credit for whatever you already paid or charged for the time you’ve lived in the home that you haven’t paid for yet. The company that closes the loan will do the research and reflect whatever the amount is that needs to go here. You pay for the days you own the home. In Marion County we pay in November for the whole year.

Estimated closing month: You put that month here because you want to determine how prorations for taxes, insurance and association dues would look based upon the month in which you would close on the sale of your home. 

Mortgage prepayment penalty: If you got a loan that required you to stay in your home for a period of time before you sold it and subsequently charges a payment if you do, then you would enter that  penalty amount here.

Sales commission: This is the line where you would enter the commission that your agent would earn from helping you sell your home.

Other: In this category, you would put any repairs you needed to make to get the home sold, any points you’re paying for the buyer or any closing costs you’re covering for the buyer at closing.

Now, let’s put this into some real numbers for you:

House Price                            $250,000

First Loan Balance:                $125,000

Second Loan Balance:          $18,000

Other Loans:                         $3,000

Annual Property Taxes:        $2,500

Estimated Closing Month        September

Mortgage Prepayment Penalty:    $0

Sales Commission:              $15,000

Other:                    $0____________

Net Proceeds:                    $86,500

 

In this instance, the seller would walk away with roughly $86,500. Again, prorations for taxes, insurance, association dues, etc. will alter that amount. The good news is that the seller would find out exactly what these numbers look like before they sign on the dotted line to transfer the home.

If you’re looking to sell, be sure you consult with a good real estate agent who can first price your home properly and second, identify all the fees and costs associated with getting your home sold so you’ll know what you’ll walk away with at closing.

Click here if you’d like to get the value for what your home will sell in today’s market.  To be more specific in the value Call Rhonda Buckner, 352-266-2637, to view your home and present you with a net sheet.

Posted in Helping Sellers
Oct. 17, 2020

10 questions you must ask an agent before you list your home

Currently, there are over 1.3 million Realtors in the United States alone. The number of people that have joined the real estate sales force over the last 10 years is staggering.

No two agents are the same and less than 10% of the total number of Realtors to 90% of the business.

In addition to that, not all agents are created equally. Many of them don’t get you the best results for your specific needs.

In 2017 — one of the hottest markets in recent history — only a third of the homes that got listed sold for full price or at net full price (after seller concessions). The 66% of homes that didn’t sell for full price have a lot to do with the price at which the agent recommended to sell the home and negotiation skills of the agent himself/herself

Granted, there may have been some extenuating circumstances that caused some of properties to fall below full price. At the end of the day, though, most of the results you get as a seller fall on us as agents.

What all this means to you is that you need to do your due diligence when interviewing agents so that you hire an expert in not only getting you top dollar for your home, but also in providing world class customer service and sales negotiation.

Your challenge is knowing what questions to ask so that you hire the absolute best agent for your needs.

To help you narrow down your search and find the right agent the first time, we’re providing the 10 best questions for you to ask an agent before you list your home.

Here they are:

1.   What are the specific elements of of your home selling and marketing strategy that affect the selling price and time my home will be on the market? A good agent should be able to give you a clear plan as to how they’ll invest their marketing dollars to get the largest number of buyers through your home to get you the most amount of money in a time frame that works for you.

 

2.           Do you require a pre-inspection and that I have my home staged before I sell? If not, why? Home staging helps homes sell for 6 to 10% more and cuts as many as two weeks of the time it takes a home to sell. A pre-inspection can help you save as many as $7 for every $1 of repairs needed before the buyer does with their own inspection. The cost savings and amount of stress reduced by staging and pre-inspection are huge. Be leary of agents that don’t recommend those services to you at time of listing.

3.           Can you identify for me the best Internet marketing methods and why they work? Over 92% of home buyers use the Internet for some part of their home search process. A great agent not only knows which websites to advertise on, but also how much to spend and what needs to be marketed about your house specifically to get you the best results.

 

4.           What reporting do you make available that shows how many unique visitors are seeing my home on the various websites you use to market your listings? In order to ensure that your home is getting the right amount of visibility online, you need to track how many people are seeing it and from what sources. That way, if you’re not getting the results you want and need to achieve your goals, you can make changes. Simply advertising your home for sale on a well-known website or two doesn’t get the job done.

 

5.           Do you have any information that details what home buyers find the most useful when it comes to a property-marketing ad and what motivates buyers to respond to it? Your agent should know what attracts not just any buyers, but the right buyers, to your home from an advertising and marketing perspective. Every home has a target set of prospects that are the best candidates for buying your home. Your agent should know who those buyers are and what ads/marketing strategies will work to attract them to look at and potentially buy your home.

 

6.           Do you have a marketing budget that outlines how you’ll spend your resources to market my home and earn your fee? A good agent not only has an ample budget to drive up demand on your home, but also they have a strategy as to where that money will be spent to get you the best results. Be sure to ask for your prospective agent’s marketing budget and how they’re going to allocate it in selling your home.

 

 

7.           What is your strategy to attract qualified buyers from the various sources available today and how will you work to attract co-op agents so they show my home over other homes in the market? Roughly 71% of the home sold today are from an agent who brings a buyer to the table. The best agents have relationships with the top agents in the marketplace who work with the largest number of buyers. As well, they know which sources provide the best and most plentiful qualified buyer leads for homes in any price range.

8.           What is your negotiation strategy and how can I count on you to negotiate from a position of strength than one of weakness? How can you assure me that the home inspection will not “blow up” my transaction at the very last minute? Unfortunately, many agents need your listing to sell worse than you do in order to secure a commission check. This is not a good thing as it keeps them from negotiating from a position of strength and focusing on what’s best for you. You need an agent that is a seasoned negotiator and who knows how to navigate a real estate transaction so the results end up in your favor.

 

9.           Can you identify how your team will work to handle my listing from the minute you take it until the day that it closes? Also, identify for me the different departments of your company and show me how they benefit me in the sale of my home. The best agents realize that they can’t do everything themselves. To that end, they outsource anything they can to professional service providers who excel at handling the different aspects of managing and closing a transaction. This helps your transaction go much more smoothly and gives you the world-class customer service you deserve.

 

10.       What do you do, if anything, to ensure that the leads you generate are going to be handled in a timely manner so that we don’t miss out on any qualified buyer prospects? Statistically speaking, your agent is 21x more likely to get in contact with a lead and convert them to a sale when they talk to them within five minutes of lead coming in. A great agent will have a solid strategy to get in contact with leads as soon as they come in to give you the best chance of securing them as a buyer for your home.

Great relationships start with the hardest questions being asked and answered up front.

Your home is likely the biggest investment you have. As such, you can’t take lightly who you hire to help you sell it. Be sure to ask these questions and don’t be satisfied until you get the right answers.  Call Rhonda Buckner with Buckner Homes Realty for great results.

Posted in Helping Sellers
Oct. 17, 2020

How much you should put down to purchase your new home?

Historically, home buyers seek to put down 20% when they purchase a home.

However, according to a recent survey by The National Association of Realtors (NAR), the actual national average is much closer to 10%.

When it comes to first-time homebuyers, the average down payment is at 4% as per the same survey.

While down payment requirements vary based on the lender you choose to work with, the amount required will usually depend on your credit score and your debt-to-income ratio. On average, most traditional loans require at least 5% down on a new home.

If you’re in a situation when you don’t have a lot of cash, you do have some options. Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loans are more lenient about tough credit (even a FICO Score of 580 can get you an FHA loan) and require as little as 3.5% of the home's value as a down payment.

All of this said, the ideal down payment depends on the price at which you buy your home and your overall homeownership goals. And, rather, than shooting in the dark at an unknown target, you should talk to a lender before you set foot in the door of any home you might consider.

A good realtor has great lenders who can help you understand which loan program, and its associated down payment program, would work best for you and your financial situation. There is no perfect number since every situation is unique, especially in light of the large variety of loan programs available in the market today.

Now, if you can save 20% to put down on a home, then absolutely do it. It puts you in the best position to get a great monthly payment on your mortgage. Plus, you get to avoid Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) on your mortgage. The amount is charged monthly by the lender to ensure that the money gets paid back to the guarantor in the event you default on your mortgage.

Plus, conventional wisdom says that if you have to borrow money - from a friend, family member, your retirement, etc. - for your entire down payment, then you probably shouldn’t be buying a home. The reason is that there are many expenses that you’ll incur above and beyond your mortgage to own your home. In addition to normal utilities and upkeep on your house, there are things like roof leaks, hot water heaters that die, furnaces that don’t heat and other things that will take additional money on your part.

In certain instance, you don’t have the money to buy the home, then you don’t have the money to own the home. It’s a good rule of thumb.

Where does down payment money come from? 

Not surprisingly, 61% of home down payment funds come from a bank savings account, and another 35% comes from the sale of another home. The remaining 4% most often come from cash gifts from family or friends.

Cut Spending

If you’re looking to save money for a down payment, one thing you can do is to identify where you are spending money unnecessarily and limit or cut that spending. It’s key that you know exactly what’s happening with every penny in your budget before you make a huge commitment to buy a home. In many cases, people are spending money they don’t realize they could be saving either for a down payment or to take care of their new home after they move in.

Early Deduction

One of the best ways to save money for a down payment is to have money deducted automatically from your paycheck at each pay interval. By “paying yourself first”, you guarantee that you put away the money you need for a down payment. In addition to that, if you don’t see it before it comes out, then you’ll be less likely to spend it later on. If you feel the need to add a higher layer of protection from spending the money, put it in low-risk investment vehicle that has penalties for early removal (or that prevents early removal period).

Find the best mortgage for you

Being able to come up with the requisite amount of money for your down payment might be as simple as finding a great deal on a home loan. Getting the best loan for your needs will determine how much you need to put down. You might be able to get access to a low-down-payment, and even a no-down-payment, loan that works great for you and your financial situation. With so many loan programs out there, it’s highly possible you’ll find a program with a down payment and monthly mortgage payment that suits you perfectly.

Currently, there are at least six government-backed loan programs today that require 5% down or less:

1.   U.S. Federal Housing Administration Loan

2.   U.S. Veterans Administration loan

3.   Fannie Mae HomeReady loan

4.   Fannie Mae Conventional 97 loan

5.   A conventional mortgage loan

6.   U.S. Department of Agriculture loan

Plus, there are roughly 2,300 down payment assistance and grant programs out there that make interest-free and/or non-recourse loans to qualified home buyers looking for funds.

Once you've determined how much money you need for a home down payment and have a plan to save what you need, you’re now on the path to owning your own home.

As you’re putting your saving plan into action, make sure you take into consideration the additional home purchase costs you’ll likely incur like home inspections, appraisals, moving your family, etc. These expenses can can add thousands of dollars when you sign your home mortgage. A good lender will be able to identify exactly what these costs will be and how much you’ll need to cover them.

The most important thing is to have a plan and do what you need to do, everyday, to save the money you need so you can put it down on the purchase of your new home.

Click here if you’d like to find out how to get the lowest down payment possible for your specific financial needs.

Posted in Buyers, Credit Help, Va Loan
Oct. 17, 2020

How to Sell Your Home Fast and for the Most Amount of Money

The market has been moving at a pretty good clip over the last several years and it appears that things are going to stay that way for a while.

According to the Case Shiller Home Price Index across the United States have increased 33% over the last 5 years.

Despite all of the amazing things happening in virtually every market across the country, including ours, one thing still rings true no matter what’s happening in the market/

In order for any home seller to get their home sold fast and for top dollar, there are a few things they absolutely must do to ensure that happens…

...no matter what the market conditions are.

Here’s what you need to know (and do) to get top dollar for your Windsong Ranch home:

Price it right

Even in crazy markets like the one we’re experiencing right now, improperly priced homes sell for less than full price, or worse, not at all.

In 2017, only 34% of homes that were priced incorrectly sold for full price or at net full price to sellers (after concessions to buyers). That means roughly ⅔ of these home sellers got less than they were hoping for or didn’t sell their home at all.

And it makes complete sense.

According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), a properly priced home attracts at least 60% of potential buyers who are right for the home.

 

As you increase the price over market value, a smaller number of the right buyers will see the home. Even a 10% increase over market value will cut the number of people who see the home in half.

Again, even in a market where homes are selling above market value, you need to start your pricing at market value to ensure that the largest number of the right buyers see it.

Doing this, and only this, puts you in position to not only get your home sold for list price, but also to create a bidding war that can get you more than you’re asking.

You absolutely, positively must price your home well if you want to get top dollar.

Click here to find out what your home is worth in today’s market.

Market your home the right way

According to NAR, in 2018, roughly 89% of home buyers have used the Internet as part of their home search process.

There’s been a steady increase over the last two decades and there’s no sign that the number will decrease at any time in the future.

Knowing this, it’s important that the marketing strategy for your home includes a solid strategy to get your home exposed as much as possible on the Internet.

There is one caveat, here, however.

Although there are roughly 920 million websites on the web and even though there are several hundred websites where your home could be placed online for prospective buyers to see it, the lion’s share of buyers look on five main websites.

And they are, in no specific order:

More than 330 million - yes that says million - people search for homes and get their information from these five sites alone.

For the purposes of comparison, the next five sites combined, get only about 20 million per month.

Knowing this, it’s important to make sure that any budget that’s spent on getting your home marketed properly in Marion County needs to include a proper strategy that leverages exposure on these five sites.

Call Rhonda, 352-266-2637 to get access to a free marketing and home preparation strategy for your Ocala/Marion County home.

Make it shine

With the advent of technology and the ease with which people can get access to information about your home, it’s crucial to make sure that your home is in pristine condition long before a prospective buyer walks through your front door.

You see, the first showing for your home isn’t going to be when a buyer accompanies an agent, it’s going to be online.

Digital marketing gives buyers the ability to see everything they need to see before they set one foot in your home.

As a result of that, you need to make sure your home is staged and looking amazing so it can be appreciated by buyers who start their search by looking at the professional pictures you put online.

Perception is reality as you know and perceived value can go a long way in helping increase the actual value of your home in the eyes of real estate consumers.

In fact, a properly staged home can fetch up to 6% more, and can sell as many as two weeks faster, than an home that hasn’t been staged at all.

Think about how much 6% more of the value of your home actually is. It’s likely a five-digit number.

The great news is that staging doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg.

In fact, in many cases, spending a small amount of money on just decluttering and rearranging some of your personal effects is all you have to to do to get your Windsong Ranch home to shine so it stands out among the competition.

Have your home professionally inspected

The single biggest deal killer in any real estate transaction is the home inspection. Hands down.

And, when you consider that there is a limited number of buyers who are open to buying a property before a thorough home inspection and repairs by the homeowner, it makes sense that you would want to get ahead of any challenges that might blow up your home sale.

To do this, you’ll want to get your home inspected before you even put your home on the market.

The majority of offers on homes are contingent upon a professional home inspection.

And honestly, no matter how well you maintain your home, there are almost always going to be some hidden problems in your home.

If you’d like to find out more about how to get top dollar for your home and even guarantee that it sells for the most amount of money, call Rhonda, 352-266-2637, for more information on how to do that.

Having a professional home inspector who can look into the dark, unseen crevices of your home that contain the biggest potential pitfalls can often mean the difference between your home selling or not selling at all.

More specifically, in taking control of the inspection and repair process before the buyer even sees your home, you eliminate the least exciting part of selling your home.

What’s even better is that if you save a significant amount of money by identifying and then repairing any issues that come up during your inspection. Once the buyer finds them, you could pay as much as seven times what you would pay if you took care of the issues yourself.

The best news is that your home will often sell for as much as 2.2% more when you can show the buyer that there are no issues with your home because a complete inspection has been conducted and all inspection issues have been resolved.

Also, conducting a home inspection removes a lot of the leverage buyers and their agents have in seeing a price reduction at the time of offer or later on in the process.

Conducting a home inspection before you put your home on the market is easily one of the best decisions you can make.

Top dollar is always available to you

Ocala/Marion County has seen some amazing increases in sales prices and will continue to experience a great market for the foreseeable future. It’s certainly an exciting time.

The thing to remember is that no matter what the market conditions are, there are some non-negotiable steps you must take to ensure that you get top dollar for your home.

If you’d like to find out more about how to sell your home for the most amount of money or if you simply want to find out what it will sell for in today’s market, call Rhonda, 352-266-2637 for a free home market value.

Autumn can get a little weird in the real estate market in general. In the early part of autumn, people are trying to squeeze last minute vacations in before school starts. After that, well, school starts and people are trying to get into their back-to-school rhythm.

Then, as fall ends and we hit winter, the holiday season approaches and lots of folks put their home selling and home buying plans on hold until the new year. As a rule, the final quarter of the year is not ideal if you want to sell your home for top dollar and close quickly.

Interestingly enough, as we turn the corner into January, the numbers indicate that time on market starts to shorten and prices starts to increase. Even in areas where it’s cold, snowy and often bleak, home shoppers get out and look for homes in January and February.

As with all things in life, it’s rarely a good idea to make a decision for yourself based simply upon conventional wisdom. Always do your research and get the real numbers that apply to your specific situation.

If you’d like access to a local market report that details what’s happening here in our area, click here for a free copy.

Also, you can click here if you’d like to find out what your home will sell for in today’s market.

From there, you need to attack the hidden or unseen things like ensuring the downspouts are clean and functional and taking time to make sure drain pipes are properly buried and draining so you don’t get standing water in your yard.

 

After that, pay attention to what industry experts call hardscapes. Areas like patios, walkways and fences need to be level and can’t have roots pushing up around the base. Also, make sure your deck doesn’t’ have wobbly railings or loose steps. Fix all of it.

Lastly, review the health of your plants and shrubs. Dead, dying and/or yellow plants not only look bad, but they can lead to additional maintenance problems that will need attention and correction in the future. In addition, trim back overgrown shrubs, especially those that encroach on your sidewalk and impede people access to your home.

Because your front yard plays such a pivotal role in getting people in the front door to sell your home, it needs to look as pristine as possible.

2.    Landscaping features

While the front yard is the curb appeal that gets people in the door, the backyard is the “eye candy” that keeps people there. People look at the backyard as a comfortable spot to hang out, socialize and spend time with friends and family. 

When you think backyard, think decks and patios. Also consider other personalized options, such as fire pits, outdoor kitchens, fountains and lighting. These are things that make a backyard seem like paradise to people. You don’t want folks to walk out and just see a fence. It’s not very appealing. 

It’s important to note that many hardscapes - fountains, fire pits, patios, etc. - don’t usually add a ton of value. Rather, they increase perceived value and make something more saleable to a buyer. If you do choose to add these elements to your home, make sure you like them and would want them for yourself as they don’t recoup a lot based upon your investment.

When it comes to furniture, it doesn’t have to be expensive, but it should be in good condition and look presentable. Scrub it clean, get new cushions and make them shine for prospective buyers.

3.     Don’t waste your money

Expenses can add up quickly when you’re making upgrades and renovations so your yard looks good for buyers.

Much like you wouldn’t put highly customized and expensive upgrades inside your home, you wouldn’t put extremely unique plants, decorations and hardscapes in your yard prior to sale:

 

  • Don’t spend a lot of money on mature plants that someone might rip out the day they move in
  • Pick cobblestones, decorations and other customizations that a would be appreciated by the widest number of buyers
  • Don’t put in a complete children’s playset and make sure you take yours down unless the buyer wants to purchase it.
  • Don’t buy a large number of plants to put into the ground, either. Get a couple of larger plants or put in something like a 3-gallon flowering shrub.

 

If you’re planning to sell down the road and you’re going to put in a fence, choose and alternate board fence. It costs a little more, but it’s more appealing than a traditional picket or chain link fence.

Invest wisely as you choose to upgrade your yard in an effort to make it appealing to prospective buyers.

4.     Simplicity speaks volumes

Sometimes, the most elegant things are also the simplest. Doing something like carving out a small part of your backyard with a little patio, a couple of chairs and a chiminea would cost you a small amount of money, but could increase the perceived value of your home greatly.

Same things goes with plants.

If you’re going to put in flowers, plants, shrubs, etc., make sure that they are the type that do well in our climate and look like they belong in the area. We don’t live in the Galapagos Islands and get heavy rains every morning before the sun shines.

Use plants that grow well in our area during the season(s) in which they flourish.

Lastly, make sure that your lawn is lush and full. It doesn’t have to be huge and it doesn’t have to be deep and dark. Just take care of it and make sure it looks beautiful.

In the end, taking care of the outside is like taking care of the inside. Remove clutter and keep everything well organized. In some cases, it may make more sense to plant fewer items (and even remove plants) to give your home a fresher, cleaner look

Landscaping should be simple, elegant and beautiful. Strive for that for your home and you should be in great shape when it comes time to sell.

Click here if you’d like to get a free analysis of your current landscaping and what improvements you might need to make to make it even more appealing and valuable.

When your ready Call Rhonda, 352-266-2637, to help you see if you have the home ready to sell to get  the best price.

 

Posted in Helping Sellers
Oct. 17, 2020

When is the best Time to sell

You want to sell your home, maximize the amount you sell it for and get it sold in a reasonable amount of time.

While there’s no horrible time of the year to sell your home, there are better times of the year to put it on the market to get the best results for yourself.

We’ve done the research and the results are in.

Here’s the best time of the year to sell.

And the winner is…

Life happens and sometimes, you just don’t have a say as to when you need to move. Children are born and you need more space. New jobs are obtained and you have to move to another part of the country. Marriages happen and you need a new place that represents both husband and wife.

With that said, if you have the opportunity to control when you’re going to sell, there are better times of the year to put your home on the market to sell.

There is one caveat.

As you review the data that we’ve shared below, it’s important to remember that the season of the year is only one factor that can impact the price of a home and the time it takes to sell. There are several other economic factors at play like interest rates, supply, demand, new construction in your area, schools, political influences, etc. that can impact pricing and timing.

Other than that, with all things being equal, Spring narrowly edges out winter as the best time of the year to sell.

As you can see, spring offered the best chance of selling above list price and of selling within 30 days. Upon closer inspection, you can also see that winter, expected to be the slowest season in which to sell a home, was a close second.

Overall, 18.7 percent of homes sold for above asking price in the spring. Not far behind, winter listings secured the second spot at 17.5 percent.

At the same time, 48.0 percent of homes listed in spring sold within 30 days and 46.2 percent of homes in winter achieved the same results.

Granted, there may be fewer buyers looking for a home in the winter, but the folks who are out in the colder weather happening in most states are far more serious buyers. Most buyers looking to purchase a home during the winter are doing so out of necessity rather than desire.

Consequently, they are much more likely to make a solid offer on a home and want to close quickly...exactly what we’re looking for from a motivated buyer.

In addition to that, there’s significant reduction in the number of people who actually put their home on the market in the winter (27.3% less) versus the spring.

Clearly, springtime experiences a an onslaught of new listings to the market, making it harder for a listing to stand out. With so many fewer sellers listing in the winter, your home can shine for the serious buyers who are out looking to make a deal.

Just as surprising is the information pertaining to homes listed in summer and fall. Folks who were looking to selling quickly and capture a better-than-full-price-offer achieved their goal less often.

Autumn listings were 21.4% less likely to sell over list price and 14.7% less likely to sell in in 30 days or less compared to spring.

 

Call Rhonda, 352-266-2637 for the statistics of your neighborhood sales.

 

Posted in Helping Sellers
Oct. 17, 2020

Why Landscaping can make your home sell faster

Plain and simple, the quality of your landscaping determines whether or not your home feels inviting from the outside.

Curb appeal is what people call it and it’s a key ingredient in the decision to buy a home to more than 71 percent of homebuyers. As you know, landscaping plays a huge role in the curb appeal that you present to prospective buyers for your home. The first impression is key: if buyers don’t like what your home looks like from the front of the house, they won’t even go into your home.

From a return on investment (ROI) perspective, investments in landscaping tend to provide a much higher payout.

While a kitchen upgrade can yield as much as a 68% ROI, money invested in improving your landscaping could net you a handsome 215%. Without question, it’s money well spent, especially if your neighbors have upgraded homes plush greenery and flowers.

If you’re willing to do what’s necessary, having great landscaping can make your home sell faster and for more money. Let’s take a look at four things regarding your landscaping and the positive impact it can have on your home sale.

 

1.  Maintenance

 

If you’re planning on selling your home, you’ll need to get ahead of the game. What that means is it’s going to take time to make sure your lawn, shrubs and overall landscaping scene are going to be ready for when you sell. You see, it’s more than just cutting your lawn and planting a few flowers.    

First, you need to clean your yard: remove dead branches, pick up dog droppings, weed everywhere and removed anything that’s broken. From there, you need to attack the hidden or unseen things like ensuring the downspouts are clean and functional and taking time to make sure drain pipes are properly buried and draining so you don’t get standing water in your yard.

After that, pay attention to what industry experts call hardscapes. Areas like patios, walkways and fences need to be level and can’t have roots pushing up around the base. Also, make sure your deck doesn’t’ have wobbly railings or loose steps.  Fix all of it.  

Lastly, review the health of your plants and shrubs. Dead, dying and/or yellow plants not only look bad, but they can lead to additional maintenance problems that will need attention and correction in the future. In addition, trim back overgrown shrubs, especially those that encroach on your sidewalk and impede people access to your home.   

Because your front yard plays such a pivotal role in getting people in the front door to sell your home, it needs to look as pristine as possible.

 2.    Landscaping features 

While the front yard is the curb appeal that gets people in the door, the backyard is the “eye candy” that keeps people there. People look at the backyard as a comfortable spot to hang out, socialize and spend time with friends and family. 

When you think backyard, think decks and patios. Also consider other personalized options, such as fire pits, outdoor kitchens, fountains and lighting. These are things that make a backyard seem like paradise to people. You don’t want folks to walk out and just see a fence. It’s not very appealing.  

It’s important to note that many hardscapes - fountains, fire pits, patios, etc. - don’t usually add a ton of value. Rather, they increase perceived value and make something more saleable to a buyer. If you do choose to add these elements to your home, make sure you like them and would want them for yourself as they don’t recoup a lot based upon your investment.

When it comes to furniture, it doesn’t have to be expensive, but it should be in good condition and look presentable. Scrub it clean, get new cushions and make them shine for prospective buyers.

 

3.     Don’t waste your money 

Expenses can add up quickly when you’re making upgrades and renovations so your yard looks good for buyers.  

Much like you wouldn’t put highly customized and expensive upgrades inside your home, you wouldn’t put extremely unique plants, decorations and hardscapes in your yard prior to sale:

 

  • Don’t spend a lot of money on mature plants that someone might rip out the day they move in
  • Pick cobblestones, decorations and other customizations that a would be appreciated by the widest number of buyers
  • Don’t put in a complete children’s playset and make sure you take yours down unless the buyer wants to purchase it.
  • Don’t buy a large number of plants to put into the ground, either. Get a couple of larger plants or put in something like a 3-gallon flowering shrub.

 

If you’re planning to sell down the road and you’re going to put in a fence, choose and alternate board fence. It costs a little more, but it’s more appealing than a traditional picket or chain link fence.  

Invest wisely as you choose to upgrade your yard in an effort to make it appealing to prospective buyers.  

4.     Simplicity speaks volumes  

Sometimes, the most elegant things are also the simplest. Doing something like carving out a small part of your backyard with a little patio, a couple of chairs and a chimenea would cost you a small amount of money, but could increase the perceived value of your home greatly. 

Same things goes with plants. If you’re going to put in flowers, plants, shrubs, etc., make sure that they are the type that do well in our climate and look like they belong in the area. We don’t live in the Galapagos Islands and get heavy rains every morning before the sun shines.

 

Posted in Helping Sellers
Oct. 17, 2020

Why you should make a list

Who knows your home better than you do?

The short answer is nobody.

And because of that, you should take the time to make a list of the top 20 features you love about your home before you put it on the market.

You see, if you like those things about your house, then so will someone else. And, in an effort to help your agent get your home sold faster and for more money, it will help if you point out the things you really dig about your home that potential buyers might like as well.

Like and liking

In his book Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, Robert Cialdini discusses the six main ways that we’re able to influence someone to take action.

One of those principles is Like and liking. Here’s how Cialdini describes the principle at work in the real world:

“No surprise that people prefer to say yes to a request to the degree that they know and like the requester. A simple way to make things happen in your direction is to uncover genuine similarities or parallels that exist between you and the person you want to influence, and then raise them to the surface. That increases rapport.

Similarly, uncovering genuinely admirable or commendable features of a person, and complimenting the person on those things will lead to liking. Simple things that we can easily get access to. Instead of burying them and keeping them under wraps, we mention those similarities, we mention those compliments that are genuine to provide. That establishes a rapport that leads to a yes.”

What he’s saying here is that buyers who are like you and who like you and your style are more likely to want to do business with you.

By identifying what’s great about your house and then pointing it out to buyers looking at your home, you’re more likely to appeal to someone who likes what you like, making it easier to make a sale and sell your home for more money.

It’s simple psychology, but it works great.

Making your list

When you put your list together, don’t just say what you like about the house, tell them why you like it.

The more that people can connect with the emotional side of what’s great about your house, the easier it’s going to be for them to fall in love with it.

For example: “I love the breakfast nook. We have had some amazing family breakfasts and I love the way the sun shines on the backyard as it rises in the morning.”

Or, “I love the fireplace. We love to curl up in front of the fire on cold winter nights and drink wine as we watch our favorite shows on the flat screen television over the mantle.”

The things you love about your house will come alive in the eyes and minds of prospective buyers for your home.

Imagination is the thing that separates humans from the rest of the animal world. By helping someone use their imagination as they look through your house, you can get them super excited about owning your home themselves.

Plus, since you’re not there for showings, this list is your way of selling the buyer on the home in your absence.


Putting the list to work

Create the list and number it one to 20. From there, type it out in a Word document and then print up multiple copies. Or, if you’re hiring an agent have them do it and include it with the package of information you leave on your kitchen counter for prospective buyers.

If you’d like, include the list with the property brochures your agent leave in the box attached to the sign in your front yard. Give folks a glimpse inside your home before the walk through the front door.

Who knows, there might be one thing that you love about your home that speaks to them enough so that they want to go inside.

Take the time to create a great list. Be clear, concise and descriptive about what you love. Most importantly, let the emotion flow.

The more you connect with your buyers, the more influence you’ll have in helping them choose your house to buy.

Posted in Helping Sellers
Sept. 10, 2020

make a list of the top 20 features

 

Why you should make a list of the top 20 features you love about your home when selling?

 

Who knows your home better than you do?

 

The short answer is nobody.

 

And because of that, you should take the time to make a list of the top 20 features you love about your home before you put it on the market.

 

You see, if you like those things about your house, then so will someone else. And, in an effort to help your agent get your home sold faster and for more money, it will help if you point out the things you really dig about your home that potential buyers might like as well.

 

Like and liking

 

In his book Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, Robert Cialdini discusses the six main ways that we’re able to influence someone to take action.

 

One of those principles is Like and liking. Here’s how Cialdini describes the principle at work in the real world:

 

“No surprise that people prefer to say yes to a request to the degree that they know and like the requester. A simple way to make things happen in your direction is to uncover genuine similarities or parallels that exist between you and the person you want to influence, and then raise them to the surface. That increases rapport.

 

Similarly, uncovering genuinely admirable or commendable features of a person, and complimenting the person on those things will lead to liking. Simple things that we can easily get access to. Instead of burying them and keeping them under wraps, we mention those similarities, we mention those compliments that are genuine to provide. That establishes a rapport that leads to a yes.”

 

What he’s saying here is that buyers who are like you and who like you and your style are more likely to want to do business with you.

 

By identifying what’s great about your house and then pointing it out to buyers looking at your home, you’re more likely to appeal to someone who likes what you like, making it easier to make a sale and sell your home for more money.

 

It’s simple psychology, but it works great.

 

Making your list

 

When you put your list together, don’t just say what you like about the house, tell them why you like it.

 

The more that people can connect with the emotional side of what’s great about your house, the easier it’s going to be for them to fall in love with it.

 

For example: “I love the breakfast nook. We have had some amazing family breakfasts and I love the way the sun shines on the backyard as it rises in the morning.”

 

Or, “I love the fireplace. We love to curl up in front of the fire on cold winter nights and drink wine as we watch our favorite shows on the flat screen television over the mantle.”

 

The things you love about your house will come alive in the eyes and minds of prospective buyers for your home.

 

Imagination is the thing that separates humans from the rest of the animal world. By helping someone use their imagination as they look through your house, you can get them super excited about owning your home themselves.

 

Plus, since you’re not there for showings, this list is your way of selling the buyer on the home in your absence.


Putting the list to work

 

Create the list and number it one to 20. From there, type it out in a Word document and then print up multiple copies. Or, if you’re hiring an agent have them do it and include it with the package of information you leave on your kitchen counter for prospective buyers.

 

If you’d like, include the list with the property brochures your agent leave in the box attached to the sign in your front yard. Give folks a glimpse inside your home before the walk through the front door.

 

Who knows, there might be one thing that you love about your home that speaks to them enough so that they want to go inside.

 

Take the time to create a great list. Be clear, concise and descriptive about what you love. Most importantly, let the emotion flow.

 

The more you connect with your buyers, the more influence you’ll have in helping them choose your house to buy.

 

 

 

Posted in Helping Sellers
Aug. 19, 2020

How to Get Settled Comfortably in Your New Town

Picture of couch with pillows

 

How to Get Settled Comfortably in Your New Town



So you’ve bought the perfect Ocala home through Buckner Homes Realty. While your agent has walked you through the home buying process, they’ll likely have some suggestions on getting settled and getting to know your new city. 

Moving to a new town can be a wonderful change, but it can also be stressful. If you don’t know anyone or if you’re on your own for the first time, a new city can be a strange and unforgiving place. That’s why it’s so important to have a plan for settling in right away. Finding your comfort zones and making sure you have access to all the things that will make your life easier is crucial. Here are a few tips on how to settle into your new city comfortably.

Set Up Your Nest

One of the biggest things you can do to feel at home is to nest a little. Unpack wisely — doing children’s rooms first before moving on to anything else — and set up rooms as you go. Create lists and stay organized so you’ll know where everything is. Once you have your favorite furniture set up and your personal photos hanging on the wall, you’ll feel much more at home, and the place won’t be so unfamiliar anymore. If possible, ask a friend or family member to come over and help you out. Not only will this allow you to get things done quickly, but it will also give you some familiar company as you get settled.

As you settle in, you’re likely to encounter details you missed in your final walk-through. In most instances, quick DIY fixes can help you feel more comfortable. If you’ve come across dusty or old curtains, you can easily swap these out for new sets of blinds. If the bathroom is missing towel racks or shelving, a run to Target or Home Depot can make this a simple fix. You should probably also swap out HVAC filters and check smoke detectors to determine if replacements are needed. If the tap water has a sulphur smell to it, all you need is a water filtration system to clean out taste and any contaminants. Berkey countertop purification systems, for example, can be a great option, as their filters are known for removing contaminants and odors, as well as having a 3,000-gallon lifetime

Make It Safe

One of the most important factors to check out when moving into a new home is safety. It’s an unfamiliar place in a new city, which means you’ll sleep better with peace of mind. Have the locks changed if they haven’t been replaced already, consider installing an alarm system, take DIY precautions such as installing motion sensor lights around the property, and get to know your neighbors so that if you need help, you’ll have someone nearby. It also pays to have the phone numbers of local services handy, such as locksmiths, the police department, and the fire department, especially if you have young children. 

Network

A new, unfamiliar city can be daunting, especially if you have social anxiety or don’t know anyone nearby. That’s why it’s helpful to network a bit before the move. Talk to your friends and family to see if they know anyone in the area who could take you under their wing, or sign up for a local club or class that you can attend after you’re moved in. This is a great way to find like-minded people in the first few weeks. Additionally, you can drive around and explore your new neighborhood to get an idea of where everything is.

Here are a few resources that will help you get settled in even faster:

·      Use online resources to help find a new dentist.

·      If you’re a gym fanatic, check out the fitness centers in your area.

·      If you have children and need to find a sitter, put together a list of questions to ask any potential candidates.

·      Finally, if you have any pets,  find a new vet to take care of your furry friend.


Moving to a new area can be a major life change, so take care of yourself during this time and plan well ahead of time so you won’t have to make any last-minute decisions. With some preparation, you can make this move as easy as possible.  We at Buckner Homes Realty have a client care program to introduce you to reliable vendors, any thing you need.

 

 

Posted in Buyers