Every homeowner wants to make sure they maximize their financial reward when selling their home. But how do you guarantee that you receive the maximum value for your house?
Here are two keys to ensure that you get the highest price possible.
1. Price it a LITTLE LOW
This may seem counterintuitive, but let’s look at this concept for a moment. Many homeowners think that pricing their homes a little OVER market value will leave them with room for negotiation. In actuality, this just dramatically lessens the demand for your house (see chart below).
Instead of the seller trying to ‘win’ the negotiation with one buyer, they should price it so that demand for the home is maximized. By doing this, the seller will not be fighting with a buyer over the price but will instead have multiple buyers fighting with each other over the house.
“First impressions are everything when selling your home. Studies have shown that the first two weeks on the market are the most crucial to your success. During these initial days, your home will be exposed to all active buyers.
If your price is perceived as too high, you will quickly lose this initial audience and find yourself relying only on the trickle of new buyers entering the market each day. Markets are dynamic, and your price has an expiration date. You have one chance to grab attention. Make sure your pricing helps you stand out on the shelf — in a positive way.”
2. Use a Real Estate Professional
This, too, may seem counterintuitive. The seller may believe that he or she will make more money without having to pay a real estate commission, but studies have shown that homes typically sell for more money when handled by a real estate professional.
“the median selling price for all FSBO homes was $200,000 last year. However, homes that were sold with the assistance of an agent had a median selling price of $264,900 – nearly $65,000 more for the typical home sale.”
Price your house at or slightly below the current market value and call a professional. This will guarantee that you maximize the money you get for your house.
Following last year’s real estate market was like riding a rollercoaster. The market started off strong in 2018 and then softened before finishing with a mild flurry. However, one thing that did not waiver was America’s belief that owning a home makes sense from a financial standpoint.
An end-of-the-year survey by the Federal Reserve Bank’s Center for Microeconomic Data revealed that:
“The majority of households continue to view housing as a good financial investment.”
And that percentage has increased over the last three years.
Though there is some uncertainty as to how the real estate market will perform over the next twelve months, one thing remains very certain: America’s belief in homeownership.
We’ve gazed into our crystal ball and have come to the conclusion that home lives will get even less laborious with the latest in smart gadgets and services. At the forefront of smart gadgets is new technology that also allows us to talk directly. From smart speakers, to on-demand command hubs, to video, eye to eye chats with family and friends will be easier than ever. Here is a look at what’s ahead in 2019…
Video Kills the Telephone Call?
The proliferation of smart speakers has continued unabated nearly since their inception, but recently we’ve seen a new feature taking center stage on these do-it-all devices—video.
Amazon kicked off the trend, as it often does, with its Echo Show, a variant of the popular Amazon Echo series that featured a forward-facing camera and a tablet-like touchscreen attached to a smart speaker base. It followed up that effort with its reimagining of the alarm clock, the Echo Spot, a smaller orb-shaped smart speaker that includes a circular touchscreen face and similarly positioned camera.
Google soon followed suit, adding the Google Home Hub, an upgrade of its Google Home smart speaker that, like the Show, featured a touchscreen tablet. Now Facebook has gotten in on the action with the release of Portal, a smart speaker/touchscreen, powered by Amazon’s A.I. assistant Alexa, with a strong focus on video-calling.
While the merits of video functionality are readily apparent for smart speakers—users can follow recipes with hands-free commands, check the weather or map routes, or simply catch up on shows while multi-tasking around the house—there seems to be a real push for these video-equipped hubs to replace the phone as the communication device of choice in homes.
For Facebook Portal, this is expressly the case, with all other smart speaker features coming almost as afterthoughts to its prime purpose of visual-based communications. So committed to the cause of video chatting is the Portal, that the Portal+ device can recognize users as they move and automatically rotate to follow them, allowing chat participants to remain on screen as they move from kitchen to couch.
Setting aside concerns about entrenching Facebook even deeper into your life, how likely is it that video chatting will become the preferred means of communication? Video calls have grown in prominence in professional lives as camera-based calls have allowed for more immersive meetings to take place across great distances, and the growing popularity of live streaming services like Instagram, Twitch and Facebook Live have certainly helped to further inculcate video communication into individuals’ lives. But will younger generations—the ones who need to embrace the medium to make it viable and the ones who have shown a stronger predilection to text-based communication over audio—immerse themselves in video calls?
That’s the bet tech is making—even for the devices not tied to our homes. While Apple has not announced plans for a video element for its HomePod, the company has recently upgraded the capabilities of its iOS-based video chatting app, FaceTime, allowing users to communicate with up to 32 people on a call at one time.
It remains to be seen if a rise in video communication-capable devices leads to a growth in video-chatting—consumers often don’t use products in the ways manufacturers intended. But even if an explosion of video-equipped smart speakers doesn’t lead to a golden age of people looking each other in the eye while communicating, at least everyone will be able to watch “The Great British Bake-Off” while making breakfast.
Smart Services Are the New Smart Devices
Throughout their history, smart homes have been defined by the intelligent devices they house. Voice-controlled lighting, thermostats that automatically adjust with the weather, coffee pots that begin brewing when they recognize you’re awake—products that save labor, money or time via automation and connectivity.
But what about those tasks for which no single device will suffice? The chores—laundry, grocery shopping, home maintenance—that, short of a robotic butler, will require some manual labor on the part of the homeowner?
Brace for the rise of smart services—automated fulfillment of the daily tasks that make an uninterrupted life possible.
“Replenishment” is one area where these smart services are already established and we should expect to see further growth. Beyond services built for the express purpose, like Peapod, you may have noticed that nearly every grocery chain of substantial size is offering some manner of automated ordering—and reordering—and delivery, either via an app or website. This process allows customers with a good grasp of their consumption habits to ensure that their homes are never out of their favorite foods, with specific items in specific quantities being automatically delivered at regular intervals.
But expect producers to take thinking even further out of the process. Leveraging technologies like Amazon Dash, developers will start programming the household devices to recognize when they are running low on supply and automatically reorder the goods. Like WePlenish, a smart coffee pod container that keeps track of inventory levels and automatically orders more java when needed, so you never have to experience a caffeine-less existence. Will we see the refrigerator that automatically orders tomatoes? Or the soap dispenser that refills itself? The possibilities are endless—and likely, as automated reordering is an activity manufacturers can firmly get behind.
But what about the tasks that keep your house running that require some measure of manual labor, like cleaning and maintenance? Here, too, we should expect to see app- and device-based solutions that call in reinforcements with some measure of regular automation when the chores need to get done. Like Cleanly, an app that allows users to schedule pickup and drop-off of their laundry, fresh and folded, within a 24-hour period. The latest version of certain home standards, like washers and dryers, are able to run their own diagnostic programs, identifying errors when they arise—how long before these machines are able to request their own maintenance when need? How long before a pool probe can send out a call when it needs a cleaning? Or gutters can identify when they need to cleared?
In addition to the rise of these automated services, we should expect to see growth of the technologies that help facilitate them. Technologies like Ring video doorbells or August smart locks, which can allow homeowners to identify who is at their door—like the Cleanly delivery person—and grant them temporary access to your abode.
That is, if a human even delivers your goods anymore.
Walmart recently announced a pilot program with Ford and Postmates to examine the automated delivery of groceries via autonomous self-driving vehicles. Likewise, grocery chain Kroger announced a partnership with Nuro to tackle the most difficult task of ordering online, “last-mile delivery”—that is, getting the requested goods from the store to the customer’s home, a feat they also hope to accomplish with robotic drivers.
The end result of the endless automation of anything approaching “difficult” should enable individuals to lead lives unhampered in pursuit of their goals—be it extra productivity in matters personal or professional, or the much more noble pursuit of binge-watching Netflix while moving as little as possible.
Kitchen trends 2019 – the stunning and surprising new looks you need to see
If 2018 was all about inky blue cabinetry with copper and brass accents, what does 2019 have in store?
Here’s a look from leading retailers on the biggest kitchen trends for 2019.
1. Green is the new blue
Last year was all about navy, but expect to see more green in kitchens going forward. It could be in the form of accents, like this wallpaper – palm fronds and botanicals are to 2019 what florals were to the mid-Noughties.
However, it’s increasingly likely to take the form of tiles and cabinetry, in tones of emerald and forest green.
The trend for bold dark hues was prominent throughout 2018, and as we move in to 2019, green kitchen cabinetry is set to be a new, key style. Deep forest greens can be balanced out with latte shades, smoky glass and soft metallics to bring opulence to the kitchen. The addition of white marble and brass through design aspects like lighting and worktops, or even accessories, help to bounce the light around the space and offset the heavier hues.
2. Dining islands
We all know that islands and breakfast bars can provide a spot for casual dining, as well as workspace and storage.
3. 1970s revival
This is a look you’ll see in tiles as much as anything, and reflects a wider return to 70s trends within the home. Color wise we will see a strong focus on rich, earthy tones like Mustard yellow, ochre, olive green, chocolate and camels.
If this floats your retro boat, a mix of The Winchester Tile Company’s Olive Green, Honey and Amber field tiles could work for you. Pair with retro-patterned wallpaper and fabrics with bold motifs for a real throwback!
4. Hide-and-seek storage
For smaller spaces and a real European look hidden storage is a real trend for the open-living plans. Pocket doors that slide seamlessly out of sight when the kitchen is in use, but cover up its contents when guests come calling. The kitchen can be transformed from an efficient work space to a clutter-free living environment in moments.
5. Broken-plan kitchens
Open-plan kitchens have revolutionized the way we cook and entertain, but where do you hide all the dirty pots and pans from dinner guests? So if you’re after a little more privacy, broken plan might be for you. The concept is simple – take an open-plan design but add in a freestanding shelf unit or raised breakfast bar to create separation without the need for a full-on wall.
6. Taking the rough with the smooth
The raw beauty of flawed finishes and natural materials was one of THE interiors themes of 2018. But for 2019 it’s being smartened up with luxe additions for a more grown-up look. Nail the trend by pairing immaculate matt units with chunky wooden worktops, or by introducing shabby chic accent furniture to a glossy kitchen. If you don’t want to go for a full-on makeover, even artisan pottery or fabrics influenced by nature will do the trick.
National home prices have increased by 5.4% since this time last year. Over that same time period, interest rates have remained near historic lows which has allowed many buyers to enter the market and lock in low rates.
As a seller, you will likely be most concerned about ‘short-term price’ – where home values are headed over the next six months. As a buyer, however, you must not be concerned about price but instead about the ‘long-term cost’ of the home.
The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), Freddie Mac, and Fannie Mae all project that mortgage interest rates will increase by this time next year. According to CoreLogic’s most recent Home Price Insights Report, home prices will appreciate by 4.8% over the next 12 months.
What Does This Mean as a Buyer?
If home prices appreciate by 4.8% over the next twelve months as predicted by CoreLogic, here is a simple demonstration of the impact that an increase in interest rate would have on the mortgage payment of a home selling for approximately $250,000 today:
If buying a home is in your plan for this year, doing it sooner rather than later could save you thousands of dollars over the terms of your loan.