18 Mistakes Most Sellers Make When Putting Their Home on the Market

  1. Pricing your home too high: Have a professional determine comparable sales and listing competition. You want top dollar, and you want all the buyers to see your home.  The top agents know how to walk that fine line.
  1. Small repairs bring big profits and fast sales: Have a professional give you low-cost solutions to minor repairs that will yield big profits. I arrange for a professional inspection for my sellers so we are actually selling “pre-inspected properties”, which is another reason why I get more showings for my sellers.
  1. Not considering other financing terms (besides cash): Have a professional give you options that may be better than cash for you, the homeowner, and financing options that excite a buyer. All of my sellers have a flyer that we give them on the “Fifteen Ways a Buyer Can Finance” detailing how new buyers can finance your home.
  1. Market Timing: Have a professional determine if the market cycle is poised to net you the most money. At least ask to be shown how you make profits in a down market.  There are opportunities in good and bad markets.  At Sanford Systems, we study market trends and know what is around the corner.
  1. Providing easy access for showings: There are many ways to show a home. Appointment only is the most restrictive; lock boxes are the least restrictive.  Have a professional help you determine which is best for your lifestyle.  I have a full-time staff that will make sure your home is shown when that buyer is ready.  Another exclusive service of Sanford Systems is that we train each of the agents in our office on how to best show your home.
  1. Staging your property correctly: Can you put items in storage? Create more light or music?  Walter can help you with ideas, a handyman, or designer.  We have the experience and ‘know how’ to make your property a better value every week.
  1. Choosing the right REALTOR®: If your home didn’t sell last time, make sure and get it right this time with someone who knows the market and how to create a customized marketing plan to bring top dollar.
  1. Believing that selling property is seasonal: Do not base selling decisions on the seasons. Property is always selling.  In fact, in the traditional “off times” there is less inventory, and, therefore, more activity on individual properties as a result.  One of my biggest months for sales and seller success has been XXXX.
  1. Pricing their home too low: One reason to hire Walter is to make sure that no money is left on the table. We will make sure all of the features and benefits are not only brought out in a real world marketing campaign, but also that you get paid for them.
  1. Not using current marketing technology: Make sure your agent is on the “Information Highway” with 800 interactive voice recognition systems, personal web sites, search engine technology, and the latest in buyer communications. Check out our web site and buyer resources here XXXXX.
  1. Re‑evaluating the marketing plan every 10 days: The market, you, and your property require intuitive changes on a regular basis. That is why we schedule a meeting with our seller clients every ten working days.
  1. Believing the agent is not doing the job: Do you know that 80% of buyer activity comes from signs and the MLS? Even the most mediocre agent can bring these tools.  So if you lack showing problems look at your price, terms, and staging first.  At Sanford Systems we can add value to your property in many ways.
  1. Ignoring first impressions from the buyer: Sales are often hampered by unkempt lawns, cluttered closets, unpainted front doors, hard‑to‑work locks, dead light bulbs, bad colors, stains, unlit areas, and unusual smells. Spend time on the little things; double up on your gardener, keep things cleaner than usual and “marshal” the pets.  Understanding you still have a life, I will give you a simple list of small items to consider.
  1. Not giving the sales effort enough time: You should never give too little time to something that is inherently a long process. Estimate the time you have to sell and then add some time so that you are never put in the position of having to do something based on deadlines. Walter can help you with the average time on market in your area in your price range.  We do, however, pride ourselves on beating the average days on market, as published by our Multiple Listing Service.
  1. Dealing with unqualified or unsavory characters: One of the best reasons to hire a real estate professional is they have the ability to pre‑qualify a prospect before valuable negotiation time is lost. More importantly, they have the tools to discover if a prospect’s motivation to see your home may be other than purchasing a house.  Understand that I use a team approach in achieving your goals as a seller.  One of my team members is a local lender who I will involve in your sale early who will pre-approve every buyer that I show your home to.
  1. Believing they are powerless to make a difference: Top agents in the industry report that sellers themselves are responsible for one out of six sales. You can network with your business and personal friends, hand out flyers to your personnel department, and keep the house “ready to move into.”  Your professional real estate agent should be ready to hand out all sorts of easy assignments to make the “team effort” successful.  I have a list of thirty items you can help with, if you are so inclined.
  1. Testing the market: Never put your property on the market unless you really want to sell. Get ready for a professional sales effort if you list with a great agent.  If your plan includes indecision, be prepared for frustration because top dollar sales success is Walter’s objective.
  1. Not setting up expectations with their agent: Your agent needs to guarantee how fast the return phone calls are made, how many websites your home will be on, numbers of showings, and a myriad of other goals. Sanford systems provides these guarantees (as many as 300 marketing points) in writing.

by Walter Sanford

5 kitchen design trends you may want to rethink

Serious home chefs, or just house-proud owners, might consider the kitchen their showstopper room—the one that will stop potential buyers dead in their tracks. And that’s why they add all the upgrades, accoutrements, and trendy new finishes they can possibly find. To some extent, they’re absolutely right—a great kitchen can make a buyer fall deeply in love.Open Kitchen Storage

But it doesn’t always work that way.

An inherent danger of taking a deep dive into modern design is accepting the harsh fact that today’s trends may be tomorrow’s “Oh, God, remember that?” fads such as fake brick or hideaway appliances. With the average kitchen remodel pushing $20,000, designing without foresight can be a costly and embarrassing mistake.

Some trends such as subway tile and granite countertops have a long tail: Designers expect they’ll be in style for the foreseeable future, so you’re safe giving them a starring role in your makeover.

Others are doomed to fade hard and fast. Such as…

Mixed metals

Combining bronze and copper in the kitchen might give the room an “eclectic” look, but in a few years, chances are good it will just look confused. Same goes for stainless steel and gold, or nickel and brass.

“Anybody who mixes metals besides Rolex is an idiot, and maybe Rolex is an idiot, too,” says Chicago kitchen designer Scott Dresner of Dresner Design. “Some people think it’s the greatest thing since sliced bread. It’s just not. I think it’s appalling.”

He should know: Dresner has designed more than 7,000 kitchens, and his airy Chicago renovation won K+BB’s 2014 Kitchen of the Year Design Award.

Still want the look? Try mixing in different metals with replaceable hardware such as drawer pulls and towel rings, so you can easily ditch them if you put your home on the market.

DIY concrete countertops

Making your own concrete countertops is all the rage on Pinterest, but kitchen designers think the trend is already passé.

“The DIY concrete countertops have become a nightmare,” says Yarmouth, ME, designer Jeanne Rapone. “Every call I’ve had about those counters  is all about people calling me wanting them ripped out of the house they just bought. They hate the concrete.”

Because countertops are the kitchen’s primary focal point, it’s important to ensure their longevity. Picking a trendy material will—at best—annoy the hell out of you in a few years. In a decade, it might make your home impossible to sell. Better to spend a bit more on a surface you’ll love for a long time.

Open shelving

There’s a time and a place for open shelving—a few simple marble-and-steel slabs can look stunning. But swapping all of your cabinetry for open shelving is a soon-to-be-outdated fad.

“Open shelving is a thing that could be done very elegantly or very cheaply,” says Dresner. Simply pulling off the cabinet doors to mimic the effect is a surefire path to an unattractive, dust-collecting kitchen. If you’re interested in the look, a designer can help you combine minimalism, style, and functionality.

Rapone believes open shelving was a “complete economic response to the 2008 recession,” when homeowners wanted to redesign their kitchen but lacked the budget for extensive cabinetry upgrades. Under financial strain, “they’re willing to do stuff like open shelving in the kitchen, which saves a lot of money. It came out of good intentions, but now people say, ‘No, Jeanne, I’m tired of dusting shelves. I’ll pay for the doors now.’”

Reclaimed wood

Another recession response that’s fast approaching (or already surpassing) its sell-by date, reclaimed wood can look either superb or terrible, depending on its application.

As an accent, it’s perfect: “I love reclaimed wood. I love the idea of reusing something,” Dresner says. “Reclaimed wood on your island top could be gorgeous.” But what happens when you go beyond accents? “If you’re using it to make cabinets, I think it’s garbage. It looks horrible, and it’s not the right way to use that type of wood.”

So if you’re itching to integrate repurposed wood into your kitchen style, focus on horizontal surfaces, where it has a tabletop effect.

“We see people going a little overboard with the reclaimed look,” Rapone says. “A reclaimed wood island countertop will last a lifetime, but reclaimed cabinetry with barn doors and a real rustic look—that’s a trend that will be way out of style soon.”

Industrial style

Unless you’re living in a loft, skip the stainless-steel countertops, exposed Edison bulbs, and aluminum shelving.

“The industrial look is making its way out,” Rapone says. If you want the effect without the commitment, she recommends finding an industrial-looking lamp that can be easily swapped out when the trend passes its prime.

“In five years—when everyone’s, like, ‘Wow, remember when we did that in 2014?’—you can take it down and replace it with something else,” she says. “That way, you’re not changing out $30,000 in cabinetry.”

But whatever you do, Dresner strongly recommends avoiding the exposed-lightbulb look.

“There are so many cool lights at Restoration Hardware that have that industrial feel, versus something that looks like it should be in the basement of an old building hanging from a block,” he says.

Jamie Wiebe has written about home design and real estate for House Beautiful, Elle Decor, Veranda, and more. She loves vintage furniture, collecting fluffy blankets, and DIY-ing everything.

 

Posted from Crystal Edgerly

6 Rules to Follow When Pricing Your Home

It’s time to move on. You’ve decided to sell your home and embark on a new adventure.

Unfortunately, potential buyers don’t care about how long you obsessed over choosing the perfect bathroom tiles or the number of carpenters you interviewed to make the perfect built-in bookcase. To the buyer, those items may not matter to the value of the home, even if you think they should.

When it’s time to sell, you have to price your home right, using tangible factors. Here are six rules to remember:

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1. Price is king

Your asking price determines how long the home will sit on the market. Pricing the home too high may reduce the number of interested buyers, which can cause your home to sit on the market too long. If your house is on the market too long, it may create the perception that there’s something wrong with it. It can also lead a buyer to think that you’re desperate for an offer. You want to avoid these outcomes and not overvalue your home.

On the flip side, pricing the home too low may create some skepticism and raise unwanted questions about the home’s true value. This will hit you in the bank account if multiple offers don’t drive the price up to its true market value.

2. Use comparable sales 

The simplest way to figure out the right price for your home is to compare similar homes that have sold in your neighborhood. Instead of skulking in the shadows and casing the neighbor’s house, use realtor.com to check out nearby stats.

Compare your house with those with the same number of bedrooms, bathrooms, and square footage. If you find comparable homes with similar floor plans and outdoor space, all the better. See how many homes in your area have sold recently and what they went for. You can also work with a real estate agent to help you compare houses.

3. Compare fairly

Make sure your comparison is fair. If there are neighborhoods in your city that are more desirable, consider that in your comparison. Also consider your location and what buyers want. If a similarly sized new-construction townhouse sold for top dollar down the block, you may not get the same amount for your cute ’40s bungalow.

4. Check the market history

To get a more comprehensive picture of the real estate market in your neighborhood, check the listing history of a home. Compare the original asking price with the final sale price, and note the amount of time the house was on the market until it sold. A REALTOR® can help you with this step.

If you’re looking to speed up the process, you may want to price your house a bit lower. However, if profit is your motive, you may need to wait a few months for a sale on the high end of the spectrum.

5. Consider special improvements

Consider whether major improvements you’ve made warrant a higher asking price. If you’ve remodeled the kitchen and put down a new parquet floor, or if you really feel the special woodwork details will clinch the sale, make sure those enhancements are reflected in the price of the home. Be reasonable. Don’t be surprised if you don’t get as much money as you expected—improvements don’t always recoup their cost.

6. Don’t ignore supply and demand

In a buyer’s market, with many homes for sale and sellers competing for attention, you may want to ask a bit less for your home to make it more attractive to potential buyers. In a seller’s market, where there is little home supply and much buyer demand, you may want to ask a bit more and maximize your profit.

Updated from an earlier version by Aviva Friedlander

Craig Donofrio lives in New Orleans, where he writes about real estate and finance news. He enjoys books, football, Scotch, unusual video games, Southern architecture, and learning new random subjects.

Posted from Crystal Edgerly

Details released on Kissimmee’s $750 million MargaritaVillage

The developers behind the new $750 million MargaritaVillage resort coming to Kissimmee recently shared new details of what the resort will entail.
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While we’ve known for some time that the resort, which is located on the old Splendid China property, will include a hotel, vacation homes and Jimmy Buffett themed amenities, the previously announced 175 room Margaritaville hotel complex will also include 500 vacation homes (the area around the resort is one of the highest concentrations for vacation homes in the nation), 300 timeshare units and 550 condos for permanent residents.

While uncommon in most of Central Florida’s resorts there are a few with permanent residential units including Mission Inn and the Ritz Carlton Grande Lakes. The MargaritaVillage residential complex though would be by far the largest of any Central Florida resort.

A 3 acre freshwater swimming lagoon, similar to one being built in Lake Nona, will be one of the central features of the new resort. A water park (similar in size to the former Water Mania just down the street) and pools with direct ground floor suite access will also help create the Key West vibe of the resort. A water taxi, similar to the one found at Universal Orlando, will connect the 300 acre complex.

The developers are also planning numerous unique options for hardcore parrotheads, including a Margaritaville themed wedding pavilion, a St. Somewhere Spa and a fishing school.

Numerous restaurants, bars, a planetarium and swim up bar are also planned for development. Groundbreaking on the new Jimmy Buffett village is planned for mid-2016 with Phase 1 of the development aiming for a 2017 opening.

by November 10, 2015 at 10:30 AM

‘Minecraft’ YouTube Star Jordan Maron Scores $4.5 Million Bachelor’s Pad In Hollywood Hills

Sometimes it pays to be a player… A ‘Minecraft’ player, that is.

YouTube star Jordan Maron—who has made a fortune posting clips of himself playing the popular game (which involves building imaginary realms with virtual blocks)—just paid $4.5 million for a three-story house in Hollywood Hills, situated on a hilltop above the Sunset Strip.

Minecraft Mansion Jordan Maron Hollywood Hills

Signed by Maker Studios’ Polaris, the 23-year-old—best known in the online world by his YouTube username, “CaptainSparklez”—has amassed over 1.9 billion views and nearly nine million channel subscribers in the five years since his first upload.

Hoping to capitalize on his giant fan base, Maron—whose multimillion-dollar net worth is largely attributed to advertising revenue generated by his comic channel—launched a StartEngine crowdfunding campaign last June with the goal of attracting investors for XREAL, a mobile gaming franchise he co-founded with video-game visionary Howard Marks. The company—which has received $2.55 million in reservations (i.e. non-binding indications of interest)—aims to “build the future of competitive gaming” using its first game, “Fortress Fury,” to establish itself as the biggest name in the mobile player-versus-player market. (To date, the app boasts over a million downloads.)

Minecraft Mansion Jordan Maron Hollywood Hills Living RoomThe luxury spread offers over 4,100 square feet of living space, including living and dining rooms upstairs that open up to an outdoor terrace with a fireplace via floor-to-ceiling glass sliders.

Minecraft Jordan Maron Hollywood Hills Mansion TerraceEquipped with two sinks, the contemporary kitchen showcases stainless-steel appliances, an asymmetrical island, and polished wooden cabinetry.

Minecraft Mansion Jordan Maron KitchenDownstairs, a spacious den—complete with a five-seat bar—connects to an entertainment platform replete with a party-sized spa, infinity pool, barbecue station, and sunken wet bar.

$12 Million Frank Sinatra “Farralone” Home

The $12 Million Frank Sinatra Estate Where Marilyn Monroe Rendezvoused With Jack Kennedy

Morgan Brennan, Forbes Staff

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In the late 1940s Dora Hutchinson, heir to the Chase Manhattan Bank fortune, commissioned Pereira & Luckman, architects famous for the Los Angeles International Airport and Pereira specifically for the Kennedy Center’s Studio Theater and the Transamerica Pyramid Building, to build a house just outside the heart of Los Angeles, CA. Once completed in 1951, the wealthy socialite used the house to throw massive who’s who parties for Hollywood, hosting the A-list likes of Lucille Ball and Ava Gardner, and shooting off fireworks to signal Happy Hour to her neighbors. After several years Hutchinson fled the West Coast for her hometown of New York, leaving the party palace behind. But rather than sell, she found a long-term tenant: crooner-turned actor, Frank Sinatra.

More than 50 years later, the Chatsworth, CA estate, known simply as Farralone, is coming to market. It is the first time the celebrity compound has ever been publicly listed for sale. Coldwell Banker Previews International will represent the listing, priced at $12 million.

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“If walls could talk, this house has had more celebrities in it than just about any other house in Los Angeles,” says Lynn Teschner, a Coldwell Banker Previews International Realtor and Farralone’s listing agent.

Sinatra rented the estate for nearly a decade, starting in the 1950s, during his Rat Pack years. He occupied the 10,000-square foot, four bedroom main house, which touts 16 foot walls of glass curtains and a 50 foot swimming pool just outside.

The estate also boasts a 1,000-square foot, one bedroom guest house with a small pool of its own. Sinatra used to sublet the guesthouse to his friend: a blonde actress by the name of Marilyn Monroe. The swimming pool is alleged to be the site of one of the blonde bombshell’s last photo shoots, and more interestingly, the guesthouse is believed to be the alleged meeting spot for the late Monroe and President Jack Kennedy’s notorious reported affair.

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Given the tantalizing history of the house, the current owners have updated, restored and decorated the living space to embody that time period. Farralone’s grounds encompass 14 acres that include a fledgling vineyard and parking for up to 200 cars. The compound sits behind a gated entry and visitors must drive up a winding private road to the top of a hill, where the mansion sits perched. Surrounding the compound is 3,000 acres of nature preserve. “You would have to be in a helicopter to see the house,” explains Teschner.

Farralone’s potential allure doesn’t end there. Sure, its history might make it the ultimate trophy home for Ol’ Blue Eyes or MM collectors, but the hilltop home is also quite the investment property. Television and movie watchers may find its pools and glass walls familiar as the house has hosted oodles of location shoots for films like Swordfish, Dreamgirls and Ali and TV shows like ‘Mad Men,’ ‘Californication,’ and next year’s ‘Savages’ series from Oliver Stone. Usher’s ‘Burn’ music video was shot in the pool as well. All those property cameos mean money for the owner.

“One of the big draws of this house is if someone wanted to use it as an income producing vehicle that generates several hundred thousand a year in location shoots,” says Teschner. She notes that the house has pulled in as much as $2 million annually in previous years from location shoots. If the future buyer chooses to continue renting the estate out to production studios, they would have little to do except plan a vacation around shoot dates: Farralone comes with a property manager who acts as a liaison with the studios, paid for by the studios. The main house also boasts a lower level production studio equipped with conference room, edit bays, private office and a separate entrance, all paid for and maintained by the studios.sinatra3

“If this property was in Bel Air it would be a $100 million listing,” asserts Teschner. She expects that either an architecture-loving celebrity or international trophy home collector will snap it up. Whoever does will likely be someone who enjoys throwing lavish parties since it was, after all, built for that very purpose.

Teschner suspects that Farralone has the potential to sell quickly, likening its appeal to the Walt Disney estate in Los Feliz, CA, which sold after one week on the market earlier this year.

Forbes has the exclusive on this celebrated celebrity party pad as well as new images, courtesy of Nick Springett and Coldwell Banker Previews International. Check out Farralone in the slideshow above for yourself.

Correction:

An earlier version of this article misstated that Farralone was the site of Judy Garland and Vincente Minelli’s wedding. The couple was married in Beverly Hills at the home of Garland’s mother. The sentence has been omitted to correct the error. Update to correction: Apparently Garland and Minelli updated their 1945 vows at Farralone after it was built and while Hutchinson resided there, according to the current owners.