Selling Your House

Gen X is Turning 50 and They’re Stuck in Their Homes

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The leading headlines on the future of the housing market typically read, “Get ready for the millennials!” If not that, the alternative subject line highlights the number of baby boomers retiring and whether they will move to the coast, move to be close to the grandkids or just stay put. In between the two is a generation of high wage earners that is mostly ignored in the national housing conversation. This doesn’t occur only in the housing market, the majority of news coverage in the last election was given to the, “We don’t want to change” boomers and the idealistic “We want the world to change” millennials. In the middle, described by some authors as the middle child, is Gen X. Once described as slackers, they are now in their prime earnings years and have the highest average income of any other bracket of consumers. Gen X who grew up on grunge music, wearing ripped jeans and flannel shirts has grown up and is very influential in the business world and yes, many are stuck in their homes.

I don’t view Gen X as having a middle child generation syndrome, despite not being written or talked about as much as the older and younger generations they interact with. I view this generation as the link connecting the baby boomers and the millennials. They have an understanding and share interests with both generations. While sociologists and the census bureau will give a different date range for members of this generation, I use the simple definition that identifies Gen X, with individuals born the first year the birth rate in the country began to once again decline after its continuous rise post World War II, 1965 to 1980 and the start of a new decade of patriotism. In all cases, generations are defined by a certain birth date and a general world view outlook.

Gen X understood the values of the baby boomers but challenged them with the indifference that went along with growing up as latchkey kids who either had two working parents or were part of a family separated by divorce. They went to college, got married, had kids, some got divorced and began to change social norms and alter the direction of popular music. It wasn’t the millennials that took the popularity of tattoos away from the exclusivity of bikers, gangs and members of the military. It was Generation X that started that trend, although for most it was more conservative and hidden than you see today. They looked at race differently, birth control was the norm, as was women being in the workplace. They don’t feel ignored like a middle child, but rather are often indifferent and are adept at independently figuring things out, which all goes along with growing up as a latchkey kid. They went to school with computers and are very proficient at technology, and unlike the millennials, can freely turn the technology off.

While the housing shortage across the U.S. appropriately discusses the impact to first-time millennial home buyers, Gen X was hit the hardest during the real estate down-turn that began in 2007. Some still own homes with negative equity and those with equity have the challenge of where will they move to, if they sell their home? The housing shortage has a negative impact on upward mobility for Gen X. With housing construction still below historical rates, and homes available in areas where Gen X want to live, in even shorter supply, balance of lifestyle is not just a millennial desire. The American story of moving and advancing to that next community or larger home every 5 years is gone.

The macro issue of more homes being available is a broader challenge that would require government, new entrepreneurs and businesses working jointly towards a solution. In the interim, what can members of this generation do if they truly want the step-up move? There is a solution that could work in certain markets and that is selling their home and then leasing it back to them for 60-90 days so they have time to search for a home with the money already in hand for the down payment. Under this scenario, a new buyer can purchase a home they want and can afford, and Gen X can have the time and the money to be more diligent about finding the next size home. After all, it is a generation that is accustomed to creatively figuring things out.

To the early Gen Xers, a happy 50th birthday wish to the likes of Dave Matthews, Billy Corgan, Keith Urban, Tim McGraw, Faith Hill, and Will Ferrell who are all turning 50 this year. Know someone who is turning 50? Send them a text wishing them Happy Birthday, they are also the generation that texts the most.

Best wishes to all who are pursuing owning their dream home.

Peter

Staging That Sells: Using Mirrors Throughout Your Home

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Do you have a mirror in your home? Chances are the answer is yes (and that you have more than one) and for more reasons than beyond checking your reflection.

After all, mirrors are a simple way to add natural light to your home, making rooms appear large, spacious, and desirable. And as such, using mirrors strategically in your home staging efforts can help you sell, all without having to spend a significant amount of money.

Now, let’s discuss how you can use mirrors in each important room to sell your home quicker than you could otherwise.

 

Using Mirrors in Each Important Room

Mirrors aren’t just for bathrooms or bedrooms (although they are important in these rooms too). In fact, you should use mirrors in multiple ways and areas throughout your home:

  • Entryway – By placing a mirror in your home’s entryway, you can help buyers imagine the home as if it were their home. It makes your home feel, well, like a home! And it gives buyers a distinct image of themselves in the home.
  • Living Room – If you have a fireplace, placing a mirror above it is a great accent that will make the room appear larger. You should also look to place mirrors on large walls opposite windows. Doing so will reflect light and fill empty wall space, immediately making the room appear more spacious.
  • Bedroom – If you don’t already have a mirror above your dresser, it’s a great idea to do so. It will make the space feel more livable, not to mention add a nice decorative touch to the room.
  • Kitchen – Kitchens don’t often have mirrors, but sometimes adding one can add another personalized touch that resonates well with buyers. In particular, you may want to add one if you have an entry/exit door in your kitchen near a hook for keys or other accents.
  • Bathroom – Every bathroom comes standard with a mirror, but that doesn’t mean your mirror has to be boring. In fact, you can choose a fun shape or mirror with a decorative frame to make even the smallest of bathrooms more stylish.

 

United Real Estate Specializes in the Staging and Sale of Homes

Are you currently trying to sell your home but aren’t quite successful? If so, the team at United Real Estate can help with the tips above and more!

Since 1925, we’ve helped homeowners like you stage and sell homes throughout the United States. Contact us today to discuss your unique needs and learn more about how we can help sell your home!

How to Balance Buying and Selling a Home

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Whether you’re downsizing or upgrading, purchasing a new home is exciting. However, selling your current home at the same time can be quite a challenge.

As you can imagine, both selling and buying at the same time (or even within a short time of each other) can get tricky, and fast! But if you’re caught up in this balancing act, there are a few different paths you can choose, all of which we’ll discuss below to help you make the best choice for both you and your family.

What if You Sell First, Then Buy?

This is what’s known as the safe option, primarily because you won’t purchase a new home with the hopes of selling your current home quickly and for the price you want. However, this scenario often puts you and your family in an inconvenient scenario.

For example, if you sell your home quickly, you may have to put your belongings in storage as you search for the home you want. But with the comfort and peace of mind that comes with already selling one home before moving on to the next, many homeowners find this option attractive.

What if You Buy First, Then Sell?

If you don’t want to be in a temporary rental between selling your current home and purchasing a new one, buying first may be the answer. After all, doing so means that you can move in to your new home at a pace that works with your lifestyle. However, doing so may also mean you’re responsible for two mortgages for an undetermined period of time.

If you own your current home, this plan is great. But if you’re already paying it off, paying two mortgages may put a financial strain on your family. As such, it’s important to consider whether or not you’re financially able to support this scenario if you end up purchasing your new home before selling your current one.

What if You Buy and Sell at the Same Time?

In an ideal world, you would be able to carefully balance the buying and selling of both homes so you aren’t burdened by two mortgages or forced to find a rental as you search for your new home. However, doing so can be difficult.

The best way to buy and sell at the same time is to turn to bridge financing. Doing so means you’re able to own both homes for some time but requires a short-term bank loan. This basically establishes a Home Equity Line of Credit, allowing you to put a down payment on your new home by borrowing against the loan on your current home. Then, once you sell your home, you can repay the loan.

In this scenario, it’s also best to try and schedule the closing on your home sale after the closing date of your new home. By doing so, you can move in to your new home before closing on your current home, streamlining the entire process.

United Real Estate is Your Resource for Home Sales and Purchases

If you’re currently trying to balance buying a new home and selling your current home, the team at United Real Estate can help.

Our expertise allows us to effectively balance these buying and selling scenarios, creating an ideal experience for you and your family. Contact us to find your dream home, today!

Five Basic Feng Shui Tips to Apply Today

Does your home promote health, wealth and happiness?

Does your home promote health, wealth and happiness?

Feng Shui has been used for almost 3,000 years to balance the energy of spaces. To truly practice the art of Feng Shui it takes time, effort and much study. Luckily there are some simple tasks you can put into practice right away.

If you’re looking for ways to make your home more comfortable and enjoyable, take a lesson from this ancient practice to promote positive energy in your home and create an inviting space for potential buyers.

Clear the Clutter

According to Feng Shui experts, clutter blocks the flow of energy in your home and can even negatively influence your life. Begin the clearing process by moving through your house one room at a time. Set a time limit for yourself and gradually increase the amount of time you spend clearing the clutter in each space.

Fix Squeaks

This one seems like a no brainer, but many people become accustomed to the squeaks in their home and simply stop hearing them. The most important squeak to fix is the front door, as a squeaky door will promote bad energy coming and going from the house. To encourage positive energy, simply oil the door hinge and enjoy the sound of a squeak free door.

Consider Your Bed’s Position

We spend almost half of our lives sleeping, so it’s important to make sure your bed is in what’s called “commanding position.” This allows you to have protective energy behind you while you’re sleeping and maintain strong energy. Make sure your bed is as far away from the door as possible and is not directly aligned with the door. You should have a good view of the door as well.

Clean Your Windows

In Feng Shui, windows symbolize your eyes to the world. They allow you to see what’s going on outside and let the light in to our space.  To make sure your vision is clear, clean windows regularly to brighten your space and let positive energy in.

Focus on Air & Light Quality

Good Feng Shui energy calls for quality air and light. Be sure to open the windows as much as you can and invest in indoor plants to keep air fresher. Let in natural light often and ensure you have adequate lighting for your home.

Follow these simple steps and you’ll be on your way to creating balance and positive energy flow in your home.

If you want to focus your energy on selling your home and are looking for expert advice, please contact our team at 855-441-6288.

Sources:

http://fengshui.about.com/

http://inhabitat.com/9-simple-tips-to-feng-shui-your-home/

10 Quick Tips to Get Your Home Ready for Sale

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How does it sound if you could sell your home for top dollar and do it more quickly than you thought possible? For most homeowners, it sounds like a dream come true and with proper preparation, it can happen for you as well.

Below, we’re going to share 10 quick tips to ensure your home is ready for sale and that once it is, you’ll get the most money possible for it.

  1. Disassociate Your Attachment to Your Home

Whether you’ve raised your kids in your home or have other associations making it difficult to let go, the first step in preparing your home is to take yourself and your family out of the equation. This will make it easier to prepare if you’re able to view it as just a house rather than your house.

  1. Pack Up Everything Personal

Have photos of your family everywhere? Some priceless family antiques that you love showing off? If you do, know that while you love them, potential buyers won’t. You want all buyers to envision themselves in your home so getting rid of everything that’s personal will help them do just that.

  1. Cut the Clutter

If you haven’t moved before, you’ll quickly realize how much you have in your home that you don’t need or use. If you haven’t used something in over a year, pack it up, donate it, or throw it away. This includes collectables, random items on countertops, books, and more.

  1. Rearrange and Reorder Your Cabinets and Closets

Let’s face it: buyers are going to look in all of your cabinets and closets to see not only what kind of space you have, but to snoop as well. And if your cabinets are a mess, it might leave the wrong impression. However, a quick reorganization and reordering can fix that.

  1. If Necessary, Put Some Belongings in Storage

If you have a lot of furniture cluttering up your space, it’s often best to remove some of it and put it in a storage unit. Not only will your space appear larger, but it will show better as well.

  1. Remove Anything You Want to Take With You

If you’ve hung your grandmother’s chandelier in the entryway and want to take it with you, you don’t want to leave it in place and have a buyer fall in love with it and get hung up on it in the final negotiations. This means that if you know you want to take something, it’s best to remove it early so you don’t run into any issues.

  1. Make Any Necessary Minor Repairs

Minor repairs can add up to one more significant negative impression. By making quick fixes like patching holes, replacing cracked tiles, painting walls neutral colors, and fixing faucets and drawers, you can prevent buyers from developing any doubt as to why they should want your home over others.

  1. Clean, Clean, Clean!

No buyer wants to walk into a dirty home, they’ll assume this is how you’ve taken care of it for years! Make sure the whole house sparkles from the windows to the sidewalks, carpets, grout, rugs, and even the towels on display in the bathroom.

  1. Scrutinize and Double Check Your Work

Once you’ve done steps 1 through 8, it’s time to take a step back. Put yourself in your buyer’s position. Ask yourself questions like: would you want to enter your home? Would you be impressed with each room as you enter? Do rooms pull you in? If the answer is no to any of these questions, do your best to identify problems and correct them.

  • Do Your Part on the Outside, Too!

Curb appeal matters. This means it’s time to clear the sidewalks, mow the lawn, paint faded trim, trim your bushes, and ensure your house number is clearly visible.

Looking for Assistance Selling Your Home?

Preparing your home is only half the battle when it comes to selling your home.

And, when you’re looking for consummate professionals that can work with your home preparation to sell for top dollar, United Real Estate can help. Contact us today to get started!

Home Repairs That Reap Rewards

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When most homeowners hear the words “home renovation,” they immediately think to gut and renovate their kitchen or one of their bathrooms. After all, this is what buyers want and what will produce a higher price tag come time to sell, right?

Perhaps, but these types of home repairs surprisingly aren’t those that generate the greatest return on investment.

Of course, your home repairs might be different depending on the age of your home and any renovations you’ve already made. However, the five home repairs discussed below are those that you should keep in mind whenever you’re considering selling your home or making some updates and getting a return on money well spent.

Home Renovations Designed With ROI In Mind

The best home renovations are those that are low-maintenance, high-quality, energy efficient, and competitively priced. With that in mind, the following five repairs are those you can count on for years to come to generate valuable rewards when it comes time to sell your home:

  1. Steel Front Doors (101.8% ROI) – A steel front door does more than just add to your home’s curb appeal. In fact, it also adds to your home’s energy efficiency! The best part is that any of these doors can be easily painted to match the rest of your decorative scheme, making it both a beautiful and functional investment.
  1. Wood Deck Addition (80.5% ROI) – Not only does a wooden deck increase your living space, but it also promises an impressive return on investment! Better yet, you can enjoy your time relaxing, entertaining, and dining on your deck until it comes time to sell your home.
  1. Converting Your Attic (77.2% ROI) – Picture your attic. Is it just sitting empty, wasting space? Probably. By converting your attic into an additional bedroom or any additional space, you can add serious value to your home without having to rearrange its current layout.
  1. Replacing Garage Doors (82.5% ROI) – Just like a new front door, a new garage door significantly improves curb appeal while generating an excellent return on investment. Choose from countless styles and finishes to add extra appeal that matches your home’s exterior and enhances its overall appearance.
  1. Replacing Your Siding (84.3% ROI) – By replacing your current siding with fiber-cement siding, you’re making an investment that looks great and resists termites, moisture, rot, and fire, all while promising excellent stability. This small investment is of a great quality too, meaning you can expect to get most of your money back when you sell your home.

Need Additional Selling Advice for Your Home? United Real Estate Can Help.

If you’re considering selling soon and aren’t quite sure where to invest money to generate the greatest return on investment, United Real Estate can help.

As a national leader in the real estate industry, we have the experience and expertise to assist with all of your needs. Contact us to sell your home, today!

NOTE: Statistics from http://www.houselogic.com/photos/home-improvement/best-home-improvement/slide/steel-entry-door/#wood-deck

Helpful Hints for Holiday Home Sales

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During the winter people are often preoccupied with family, gift buying and avoiding the cold, which can make selling a home during the holidays difficult. Since purchasing a home is often not at the forefront of most people’s minds during the month of December, it is all the more important to market your home appropriately.  Although home buying is often in the decline during the holiday months, keep your spirits bright with these holiday home selling tips!

  1. Hire a photographer to take impressive photos of your home.  Most buyers will start their search for a home on the web, year-round. But this rings even more true during the winter months, as buyers are trying to avoid the cold weather. Give a great first impression of your home with photos that will entice buyers to come visit your home in person.
  2. Decorate for the holidays, but don’t overdo it. Keeping decorations simple will help avoid looking tacky.  Avoid offending potential buyers by displaying general winter decorations, rather than those that pertain to a specific religion. Outdoor wreaths are a nice way to welcome people into your home.
  3. Provide welcoming treats for guests. Help guests feel cozy in your home by providing treats like cookies, coffee or hot chocolate when they enter from the cold. Homebuyers who can picture themselves in a home are more likely to make an offer.
  4. Market to motivated buyers. Those buying a home in the winter typically have a reason to be doing so – job relocation or military placement, those looking to purchase before the tax deadline or college students/staff. Even though traffic may be lighter, the buyers are likely more motivated.
  5. Price your home competitively. With fewer buyers looking to buy home during the winter months, it’s likely that there will be more buyers than sellers. Price your home competitively to help keep your home at the top of customer’s minds.

Need help selling your home? We’ve got agents around the country who can help you with buying or selling your home. Contact us to get started.

Clean Up Your Mess

  • Is your home welcoming?

    Is your home welcoming?

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If you’re selling your house, don’t forget this easily missed step. Wedding photos, utility bills, over packed closets and even pet supplies can give potential buyers a little too personal look into what living at your property would be like. Don’t scare off buyers with tchotchkes, clutter and personal affects.

Before you list your house, do these 10 quick things:

  1. Pretend your home is a hotel room – remove the extraneous items you wouldn’t find in a hotel room. Photos, clothing, books/magazines, excessive décor etc.
  2. Look at the space from a buyers eyes – what can you remove to make the space look bigger?
  3. Find the hottest trends. Take a look at style magazines and see what the latest décor trends are, see if you can integrate a few of these techniques into your home.
  4. Consider buying or renting furniture. If you don’t have the appropriate furniture for renting, considering investing in it for a better showing.
  5. Clean up. Make sure the house smells as good or better than it looks. Odd smells or pet dander can be a turn off for many buyers.
  6. Neutralize it. If possible, eliminate polarizing colors, prints and even furniture. The more distinct your style, the less likely it will match with the buyers.
  7. Mow your lawn. Make sure your yard is in the best condition it can be. You don’t want to eliminate buyers before they even enter.
  8. Cars count as clutter too. If you have extra vehicles or unusable garage space, move the vehicles while showing the home.
  9. Invite buyers in. Adding flowers, fresh paint, wreaths or seasonal décor to your home’s entrance will give buyers a pleasant welcoming.
  10. Get rid of garbage. Empty your trashcans, recycle your newspapers and remove anything that could leave a bad taste in buyer’s mouths.

While there are hundreds of things you can do to make showing your house easier or more successful, this list should give you a good start. Remember, create an environment the buyer can picture themselves in.

 

The Problem with Pricing Your Home too High

  • Can you use gift money for a downpayment?

    Can you use gift money for a downpayment?

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Homes can be expensive and often a lot of work, making it seem like your home is valued at much more than it is. But the truth is, your home is only worth what the market is willing to pay. Pricing your home too high will discourage interested parties from making an offer and cause your property to sit for months, which is never the goal.

Unfortunately, it often doesn’t matter what’s included in our offering – or what your mortgage is. The number of days a property has been on the market is the major determinate of a correctly priced home. If you haven’t received an offer in a 30-day period, the price is too high. The longer a house is on the market, the less valuable it appears to buyers.

Appreciation and depreciation can be difficult to calculate without a firm grasp on your local market. As someone who looks at multiple houses every day or week, a professional real estate agent will know what the market is willing to pay and should be able to guide you with your pricing. There are certain things that homeowners can do to influence buyers’ perceptions of their home’s value and increase the price buyers are willing to pay for it. Ultimately, it’s in the best interest of everyone involved to make a timely sale.

Overpricing your house in the beginning can make the selling process much more difficult. The first days of listing your home should garner the most interest and overpricing will cause you to miss that window. If you’re interested in talking to a local real estate agent about what an appropriate listing price would be, let us know. We’re here to help.

Listing Your Home in the Winter

  • Winter home

    Winter home

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With less foot-traffic, weather and the holidays as barriers, many sellers think that the winter months aren’t ideal for selling a home. But if you’re looking to relocate – whether across the country or across town – don’t despair. Many buyers have been turned off by the competitive busy season. Younger buyers won’t be concerned about school districts or having their children change schools during the school year. The traditional buying seasons have been turned upside down in recent years, as markets recover and grow at different paces. Still thinking you need to wait before listing your home? Think again.

Motivated Buyers
Buyers are often highly motivated and willing to pay more to get their desired home. There are less homes on the market and sometimes job transfers or ailing family members can’t wait until the spring.

Less Competition
It’s likely that if you list your house in the fall or winter, you won’t experience the same completion you might find in May or June.  Without 15 similar houses on the market, homebuyers might not look at your home with the critical eye they would in summer months.

House Performance
The winter months give your home a chance to show off its durability. How has it withstood during freezing temperatures, snowfalls and ice? If it shows as cozy and warm, it will be easy for potential buyers to picture themselves living there.

This doesn’t mean that your process will be seamless; there might be snow to shovel and holiday interferences. But don’t despair, it’s likely that you can sell or find your dream home any time of the year.