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Where will we put all of our stuff? Making Your Move Light by Rightsizing Your Stuff – Silver Spring, Takoma Park and DC

Downsizing? Relocating? Maybe you just feel a little overwhelmed by all the stuff you’ve accumulated over the years. If so, here are some “rightsizing” tips you can use.

“Where will we put all of our stuff?”

 

This is one of the foremost questions on homeowners’ minds when they’re making a move. Whether it’s a relocation from a suburban to a city environment, or downsizing for a more comfortable retirement, “stuff” can cast a big shadow. To lighten the burden before the big day, it can be helpful to “rightsize” for your move far in advance. Not only will rightsizing save you time, money, and energy as you transition to a new home, it can also help you learn how to evaluate what you really need versus what you’ve been hanging onto for no good reason.

 

If you’ve compared your current floor plan to your new one, you’ve probably already made the determination that some things must go. But how do you winnow the pile? Here’s a set of criteria you can use to rightsize your possessions:

 

1. Is this right for the weather? If you’ve lived in places with severe winters and you’re heading for a zero-snow climate, recognize what doesn’t fit and let it go.

 

2. Is this right for the lifestyle? Your massive outdoor grill and patio furniture may be a waste if you’re settling into a city high-rise. The same might even be said of a second car or recreational vehicle.

 

3. Is this expensive to move? Some items cost more to move than replace. This is especially true if the item forces you to upgrade the size of your moving truck.

 

4. Is this something I really use? If you’re in a storage space looking at stuff you haven’t touched in six months or a year, you probably don’t need to transport it to your new space.

 

5. Is this going to look out of place? Sometimes a new house will make old furnishings and objects seem tacky or trashy. Imagine where you’re going to move it and see if you can do without.

 

Once you’ve decided something should go, it’s a simple matter of deciding if it’s a “sell,” “donate,” or “ditch” item. While the income from selling items may be appealing, be sensitive to how much time you have before the move. If time’s short, gifting items to friends, charity, or even the dump is a reasonable way to go.

 

Ready to look for your rightsized home? Let me help: Debbie Cook – Realtor DC and MD (301) 233-8309

Posted by Debbie Cook | Discussion: No Comments »

On Houses for Sale “As Is” in Maryland and DC

Sometimes people inherit a home they simply need to unload and other times they don’t want to make the effort to make repairs or tune up the home’s curb appeal. For these home owners looking for a quick sale, they often think selling a home “as is” is the way to go. If you’re like most folks, you might think the “as is” sale means “take it or leave it” and “what you see is what you get.”

 

But an “as is” sale isn’t necessarily a cakewalk. It doesn’t mean you’re completely exonerated from taking some responsibility for the home’s condition. While advertising a home “as is” lets buyers know they’re likely to have to do some work, it also broadcasts that the home is probably going to be a relatively good deal, provided they’re willing to take on repairs.

 

“As is” doesn’t relieve you from disclosing problems with the home. What you know about, you must disclose by law. Failure to do so could get you into hot water. If you know about a problem but hope it slips by the buyer’s inspector, you’re at risk.

 

And that’s another thing: “As is” homes still go through the inspection process. While your “as is” sale may indicate your unwillingness to make repairs, it doesn’t mean the buyer won’t ask you for compensation based on condition issues. You may not come out of pocket, but it could come right off the top of your listing price, so keep this in mind. What’s more, once these conditions come to light you generally must disclose them to future prospective buyers if the current one bails.

 

With any luck, your “as is” buyer will be a cash buyer, but if not, prepare for the appraisal. Banks don’t want to loan money unless they deem the value of the home is acceptable. If the appraisal comes in low, your buyer may find themselves without the funds necessary to meet your price.

While selling “as is” may seem like a viable alternative to bringing a house up to its full market potential, recognize there are some trade-offs. Go in informed and you’ll find the process much easier to navigate.

 

Whether you’re looking to sell “as is” or not, I’m happy to help you get the best price possible for your home. Let’s talk when you’re ready!

Posted by Debbie Cook | Discussion: No Comments »

Silver Spring – Takoma Park Real Estate Renovations with the Best Returns for 2017

If you’ve been kicking around the idea of some home improvements, but aren’t sure which ones make the most financial sense, don’t miss “The Renovations That Will Pay Off the Most for Your Home in 2017” published by Realtor.com.

While some renovations sound like they’re a home run for your home’s value, in actuality big-ticket projects recoup far less than some of their simpler counterparts.

For example, adding fiberglass insulation to your attic has an astonishing estimated return of 107.7% compared to a bathroom addition, which averages only a 53.9% return.

The report compares the average cost of the project to the expected value at the time of resale. Here are the top 10 projects and their ROI percentage:

  1. Fiberglass attic insulation (107.7%)
  2. Steel entry door upgrade (90.7%)
  3. Manufactured stone veneer (89.4%)
  4. Minor kitchen remodel (80.2%)
  5. Garage door replacement (76.9%)
  6. Siding replacement (76.4%)
  7. Wooden deck addition (71.5%)
  8. Second-story addition (71.1%)
  9. Basement remodel (70%)
  10. Family room addition (69.3%)

 

You can read a more detailed analysis of the projects (plus the next 9 projects in the ROI list) here: http://www.realtor.com/news/trends/best-and-worst-renovations-to-make-in-2017/

Of course, ROI is only one factor in choosing a home renovation. Some projects pay huge dividends in the pleasure they give you while you live in your home. Having a second bathroom with two teenagers in the house? Priceless!

Which renovations are you considering? How concerned are you about your return on investment when the time comes?

When you’re ready to cash in on your investment, give me a call! I’m here to help you get top dollar for your home:  Debbie Cook Call or Text (301) 233-8309

Posted by Debbie Cook | Discussion: No Comments »

12 Good Reasons to Sell Your Home During the Holidays

1.  Inventory of Competition is Lower
Your home stands out better with less to choose from.  Your odds of selling  may actually go UP during  this time of year.  Many people feel just like you…and don’t understand that  there will be a FLOOD of new listings on the market after the holidays that can cause you to get “lost in the crowd “ Listing now means more serious buyers per home for sale.
christmas-wreath-on-door 2.  Only the SERIOUS buyers are out in the fall/winter
Fewer may be looking but you are more likely to get a contract from those that do come through!  Think  about how fantastic it will be to have this all finished when others are just getting       started!
3.  Taking Photos in the Fall…
Can be a big asset, as they look great on your MLS, and flyers…before exterior plantings die off.
 4.  Home May Show Better While Decorated
Your home may look better now than any other time of year! Why not have potential buyers see it at it’s best? Fireplaces, evergreens, scented candles…All add to the beauty inside when it’s not so pretty outside. Contrast can equal a sale!
 5.  It’s OK to have specific “no showings” Times During Holidays
Lock boxes can even be emptied of keys or removed. Just because you’re planning a few holiday events is no reason to not be for sale the rest of the time.
6.  Houses Feel More Like “Homes”
When you come in from the cold weather, this cozy feeling causes emotions in a Buyer you can’t get
other times of the year. “Home Sweet Home” is never sweeter than now!
artificial-christmas-wreaths-exterior-traditional-with-christmas-decorations-christmas-wreath-entrance-entry-entry-gate-garden-lighting-garland-grass 7.  Online Searches Go Way Up
People stay home more in colder weather and with today’s technology and our expertise in marketing your home online, the chances you get seen and sold are improved.
 8.  Buyers Who Buy Closer to the End of the Year
May pay closer to full price than other times, as they are often buying under a deadline. They have less time to negotiate and less inventory to choose from getting  you the BEST price.
9.  Buyers have more day-times off during mid-November through January
Increasing serious buyer traffic during normal business hours vs. showings during your evenings and weekends.
10.  Buyers at this time often have an “urgency factor”
Many employers want new hires to start in January, so they can’t wait to buy your home. If you don’t list until after January 1, you might miss out on those buyers. They can’t buy yours if it’s not for sale.
11.  Late occupancies are common during this time
Some buyers that need to buy by end of the year don’t have to occupy the home right away, allowing you a real win-win. They win with lower interest rates now, and you could negotiate your move for later.
12.  Decreased Demand
On lenders, appraisers, home inspectors, movers and other vendors during this time can cause your escrow processing time to be smoother and easier than during busier times.

The bottom line is that if your home isn’t available, you may miss YOUR perfect buyer. If you know you want to sell, don’t wait. “You can’t win if you don’t play” as they say…   The Question really is – why delay?   What’s the downside to listing now?

Posted by Debbie Cook | Discussion: No Comments »

Retro Lovers Delight SOLD in South 4 Corners – Silver Spring

Need Your Help.  Took a Listing in Silver Spring, South 4 Corners Neighborhood – Sold for 12,000 Over List Price in less than 5 days with 5 Offers! Portland Sold
Do you know anyone in your Silver Spring neighborhood thinking of Selling?
Need Inventory: Lots of Buyers but No houses.  If you or someone you know has thought about selling, please let me know – Perfect time.
Call or Text me at (301) 233-8309 or email [email protected]

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The Retro Lovers Delight!  10109 Portland Place Silver Spring, Md 20901 – Interior Photos and More Info at:    www.South4CornersHome.com

Posted by Debbie Cook | Discussion: No Comments »

How to get the Most Money when Selling Your Home

How To Get The Most Money When Selling Your House | Keeping Current Matters

Every homeowner wants to make sure they maximize their financial reward when selling their home. But how do you guarantee that you receive maximum value for your house? Here are two keys to ensuring you get the highest price possible.

1. Price it a LITTLE LOW

This may seem counterintuitive. However, let’s look at this concept for a moment. Many homeowners think that pricing their home a little OVER market value will leave them room for negotiation. In actuality, this just dramatically lessens the demand for your house (see chart below).

How To Get The Most Money When Selling Your House | Keeping Current Matters

Instead of the seller trying to ‘win’ the negotiation with one buyer, they should price it so that demand for the home is maximized. In that way, the seller will not be fighting with abuyer over the price, but instead will have multiple buyers fighting with each other over the house.

Realtor.com, gives this advice:

“Aim to price your property at or just slightly below the going rate. Today’s buyers are highly informed, so if they sense they’re getting a deal, they’re likely to bid up a property that’s slightly underpriced, especially in areas with low inventory.”

2. Use a Real Estate Professional

This too may seem counter intuitive. The seller may think they would net more money if they didn’t have to pay a real estate commission. With this being said, studies have shown that homes typically sell for more money when handled by a real estate professional.

Research posted by the Economists’ Outlook Blog revealed that:

“The median selling price for all FSBO homes was $210,000 last year. When the buyer knew the seller in FSBO sales, the number sinks to the median selling price of $151,900. However, homes that were sold with the assistance of an agent had a median selling price of $249,000 – nearly $40,000 more for the typical home sale.”

How To Get The Most Money When Selling Your House | Keeping Current Matters

Bottom Line

Price your house at or slightly below the current market value and hire a professional. That will guarantee you maximize the price you get for your house.

 

Posted by Debbie Cook | Discussion: No Comments »

Tips for the Summer Silver Spring, Takoma Park & DC Home Seller

Sell your home this summerSpring kicks off the peak home hunting months of the year, but it isn’t until summer that things really get cooking. While there are pros and cons to buying and selling homes at various times throughout the year, summer can be, on average 25 to 30 percent more active than the annual average.

In summer you have a real mix of buyers and sellers… some serious and some not-so-serious. In the winter months, many buyers searching for homes would only do so if they absolutely had to. In the summer, there are often a larger number of buyers just toying with the idea. (Many of the serious buyers are eager to get settled before school starts in the fall.)

Selling homes in the summer requires its own brand of seasonal marketing and showing. Here are a few tips you’ll want to keep in mind as you invite buyers to consider your home:

 

  1. Keep it cool, but don’t keep it dark. Your instinct may be to close the blinds and draw the drapes, but making your rooms feel dark and shut-in is counterproductive. Run the A/C and keep the air circulating. While your wallet may not appreciate the bump in your power bill, imagine how expensive it can be to keep the house on the market.

 

  1. Stage it inside and out. Have a pool deck? What about a garden patio? Make them as inviting as you would the living room or kitchen. Stage them appropriately and tell the story of what it might be like to live with such nice amenities. Think magazine photo shoot!

 

  1. Make the lawn sing. Curb appeal can be king in the summer months, especially when the neighbors’ lawns may be looking a little brown by comparison. Find bright flowers that can withstand the heat and provide a high-contrast to your green grass.

 

  1. Ride the sunset. With the longer daylight hours, you may have buyers who want to check out your home closer to dinner time, once the hottest hours of the afternoon have passed. Try and roll with the disruption… buyers prefer to see a home when the owners aren’t around.

Take advantage of the summer sales activity! I’d be happy to guide you on the buy or sell side of this white hot market . . .

Posted by Debbie Cook | Discussion: No Comments »

Do Homes Expire? Understanding Functional Obsolescence

Can a perfectly useful home “expire”? The answer is yes. If you’ve never heard of “functional obsolescence,” now’s a good time to familiarize yourself with the term.

Sometimes a perfectly nice home in fine shape simply won’t sell. Fresh paint, fine curb appeal, a solid neighborhood… and no offers. Sellers are baffled and irritated. “But I’ve been living in this tv obsoletehome ten years! There’s nothing wrong with it!”

Often the culprit is “functional obsolescence.”

Never heard of it? You’re not alone. Investopedia defines it this way: “A reduction in the usefulness or desirability of an object because of an outdated design feature, usually one that cannot be easily changed. The term is commonly used in real estate, but has a wide application.”

Functional obsolescence can creep up on a home owner, as when a built-in technological feature is no longer useful. Some homes in the 1970s and 80s had old solid-state intercom systems for communicating between rooms. What was cutting edge then is a retro eyesore now. Built-in entertainment center kiosks or furniture are also a good example of this.

Home owners can introduce functional obsolescence with poor renovation choices. Renovations should always be made with an eye on the possibility that a home will be sold down the line, but occasionally an owner will ignore this. Take, for example, the massive kitchen renovation which takes an unreasonable bite out of the living room or a 4 Bedroom House with only 1 Bathroom

Inconveniences an owner has put up with over the years can be classified as functional obsolescence as well. If you have a second floor without bathrooms or a bedroom which must be accessed by walking through another bedroom? That’s a design flaw that can bite you when it’s time to sell.

Neighborhoods can introduce a degree of functional obsolescence as well. When an smaller, older home on a large lot is dwarfed by modern homes with more space, the home itself may lose appeal or value in buyers’ eyes.

Old-ComputerSome other items that render a home functionally obsolete and may be deal breakers:

Posted by Debbie Cook | Discussion: No Comments »

Silver Spring Home Sales Prices – Annual Review 2013

Silver  Spring is a huge unincorporated area of Montgomery County, Maryland with 7 zip codes that use the name “Silver Spring” as a postal address.   Silver Spring spreads way out from the Washington, DC border at Downtown Silver Spring to the east touching Prince Georges County,  Md.,  to the north touching Howard County, Md and to the west/northwest  touching Bethesda,  Rockville,  Kensington and Rock Creek Park in DC and Maryland.

Each of the 7 zip code areas that make up Silver Spring, has it’s own unique characteristics, identity, flavor and housing types.  The zip codes in Silver Spring are:  20901 (4 Corners Area), 20902 (some times called Wheaton),  20903 ( Hillandale and Burnt Mills Areas), 20904 (sometimes called the White Oak or  Colesville  areas),  20905 (Ashton, Spencerville, Cloverly  or Greater Silver Spring areas),  20906 (Aspen Hill, Leisure World) and lastly 20910 (Inside Beltway, Downtown Silver Spring).

2013 Annual Property Sales in Silver Spring, Maryland (All 7 Zip Codes)
According to the Multiple Listing Service – MRIS (Metropolitan Regional Information System):

Highest Condo Sale in Silver Spring 2013
Condominiums

There were 507 Condos Sold in Silver Spring, Maryland in 2013
Lowest Sales Price for a Condo –  $40,000 for a 2 Bedroom, 2 Bath Condominium ( in need of total rehab) in the Bel Pre Condo Development, Silver Spring zip 20906.
Highest Sales Price for a Condo –  $820,000 for a 3 Bedroom, 3 Full Bath, 2 Level Condo in a Newly Restored Historic Arts and Crafts Style Building –  The National Park Seminary – Silver Spring zip 20910.

Search all Condos for Sale in Silver Spring, Maryland

Highest town house sold 2013 in Silver Spring MD
Town Homes

There were 440 Town Houses Sold in Silver Spring in 2013
Lowest Sales Price for a Town House –  $128,000 for a 2 Bedroom 2 Bath Town Home, a Short Sale built in 1984 in the Avonshire Townhome Development, 20904
Highest Sold Price for a Town House –  $675,000 for a 3 Bedroom 3 1/2 Bath Craftsman Style Townhouse with 2 car garage built in 2008 in Forest Glen Park – National Park Seminary Development,  Silver Spring zip 20910

Search all Town Homes for Sale in Silver Spring, Maryland

Highest Sold Single Family House Silver Spring 2013Single Family Homes

There werre 1544 Single Family Detatched Homes Sold in Silver Spring in 2013
Lowest Sales Price for a Single Family House –  $135,000 for a 2 Bedroom, 1 Bath, One Level Brick Ranch Style House built in 1951, a Short Sale House in the Weisman Subdivision, Silver Spring zip 20902
Highest Sales Price for a Single Family House –  $1,065,000 for a 4 Bedroom, 3 1/2 Bath. Turreted  Romantic Queen Anne Victorian Style New Home built in 2012, 3 Levels with 2 Car Garage in Woodside Park, Downtown Silver Spring, zip 20910

Search all Single Family Detached Homes for Sale in Silver Spring, Maryland

Posted by Debbie Cook | Discussion: No Comments »

Should I List My Silver Spring or Takoma Park House For Sale During the Holidays?

Have you heard that real estate slows down during the holidays, so there’s no sense in listing until January?
If so, you’ve only heard part of the truth.
The number of showings does slow down, but the reasons for that are not reasons to wait. It may surprise you, but one reason is that there are fewer agents working. Some of them have bought into the idea that business is slow, so they’re taking time off. They’re not advertising their services or marketing their existing listings. Some aren’t even returning their calls.
Another important reason is that the people who are in no hurry to buy are doing other things.  That means serious sellers aren’t bothered by non-serious buyers.
Those who search for a home during the holidays are usually serious – they’re looking because they need to buy. Perhaps there’s a job transfer in the offing and they need to find a new home soon. Perhaps their children’s school holiday is the only time they can come to town. Whatever the reason, they’re taking time out from their own holiday celebrations to hunt for a home.
Wouldn’t you like to have your home shown to that kind of buyers?
While it’s true that I won’t be available on <name the holiday you celebrate>, I’ll be here working just like normal the rest of December. So if you’re serious about selling, get in touch today.
Let’s get your house on the market and ready for those serious buyers.
Have you heard that real estate slows down during the holidays, so there’s no sense in listing until January?

If so, you’ve only heard part of the truth.

The number of showings does slow down, but the reasons for that are not reasons to wait.  It may surprise you, but one reason is that there are fewer agents working. Some of them have bought into the idea that business is slow, so they’re taking time off.  They’re not advertising their services or marketing their existing listings.  Some aren’t even returning their calls.
Another important reason is that the people who are in no hurry to buy are doing other things.  That means serious sellers aren’t bothered by non-serious buyers.
Those who search for a home during the holidays are usually serious – they’re looking because they need to buy. Perhaps there’s a job transfer in the offing and they need to find a new home soon. Perhaps their children’s school holiday is the only time they can come to town. Whatever the reason, they’re taking time out from their own holiday celebrations to hunt for a home.
Wouldn’t you like to have your home shown to that kind of buyer?
I’ll be here working just like normal the rest of December. So if you’re serious about selling, get in touch today.
Let’s get your house on the market and ready for those serious buyers.

Posted by Debbie Cook | Discussion: No Comments »

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