Have you ever wondered what it would take to get your home ready to sell? Do you play the comparison game with homes in magazines and think yours could never look that good? Think again!
Achieving amazing curb appear isn’t that hard or expensive! There are so many simple DIY projects that can be done in a day and cost next to nothing. I’ve created a handy chart to show just a few.
These little things have a big impact on the marketability of your home. If you need more inspiration, check out my Pinterest boards on home design!
I saw a nice home in Woodward Lakes for this post. Always on the hunt for new delivery methods, I toured it live on Facebook. Here is the playback of my live video tour!
Real estate professionals are often asked the question “how’s the market?” In our current economy, the answer is a resounding it depends. As of the date of this post, in the Fresno/Clovis area, there are approximately 1,500 single family homes for sale. On average, a house listed for sale in our county will sell in 40 days.¹ The answer to “how’s the market” is that it depends entirely upon whether you are a buyer or a seller.
What that means in everyday language is that we are currently in a Seller’s Market. Houses are staying on the market fewer days and commanding a higher asking price to boot. This is awesome for anyone selling a house. It is highly likely that a seller would receive multiple offers and possibly even one for higher than the asking price. For buyers, on the other hand, writing an offer that will be accepted can be tricky. As a buyer in a fast moving market, where most sellers will receive competing offers, it is super important to keep in mind a few helpful hints.
If you heed these rules, you can score the house of your dreams…even in a seller’s market!
Shop during the week. Open houses are typically held on the weekends. This is also when most offers are made. If you can be flexible with your time and tour houses during the week, you may be able to get an offer in the seller’s hands before anyone else even sees the house.
Have a loan pre-approval letter from a local mortgage lender ready to submit with your offer. A seller will usually be more likely to accept an offer if they know you can easily and quickly remove the loan contingency. Working with a local lender means your loan representative can be highly responsive to requests for documentation and will be available in the same time zone.
Hand over a higher than normal deposit along with your offer. It shows you have considerable skin in the game and you’ll have to pony up the cash in escrow anyway. Writing a bigger check up front is like dangling a big juicy carrot in the seller’s face.
Don’t ask for any extras. It can be tempting to write up an offer that is loaded with wish list items. A portion of the closing costs, repairs-repairs-repairs, that 80″ flat screen tv you saw hanging above the mantle… Forget it. Be prepared to do the repair work on your own and pay for every penny of your closing costs. If a seller has two full price offers to consider, you better believe he will select the one that asks for the least amount of extra items and work.
Don’t lowball your offer. Look at houses in your comfortable price range and pay what they are asking. This isn’t the time to shop $30k over your loan pre-approval and submit a lowball offer with fingers crossed. It’s a bad strategy right now. In fact, it could be prudent to shop slightly below your maximum price and offer high!
Use a Realtor. Let a professional do the negotiating for you. Things are moving fast right now and your Realtor will be able to submit paperwork in the proper timelines and effectively communicate with the other parties on your behalf. You won’t gain anything but stress by going it alone. We are here to help, so please let us.
Now let’s get down to business and find your dream home! Seller’s market or not, there are tons of awesome houses out there and I know I can find the right one for you.
“Beautifully maintained 2 story home on a spacious cul de sac lot. One bedroom with a bathroom is isolated downstairs. Loft area as a great bonus room. Spacious kitchen with a breakfast bar and eating area, opens to the family room, with a fireplace. Separate living room, formal dining room. Covered patio, shed, mature landscaping. 3 car garage with storage, shed. Unobstructed mountain views. Too many amenities to mention. Must see to appreciate!”
The house I visited for this post is in Clovis near Barstow and Temperance. It is a larger home with 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, loft, formal dining room, and a nice sized backyard. This was an open house, so even though it is still occupied by the owners, I had the opportunity to look around and take some pictures. You’ll see the occupant’s furniture and personal belongings in here, but try to picture it with your own sofa and bedroom set instead. Then let me know if you want to make this gorgeous house your next home.
“Grasshoppers can only jump forward….not backward, or sideways. So, when grasshopper shows up he could be reaffirming to you that you are taking the right steps to move forward in your current situation. Or it could be that he is telling you to go ahead and move forward, getting past what is hindering you. This is why grasshopper is the symbol of good luck all over the world. Grasshopper’s ability to connect and understand sound vibrations is why he is also a symbol of your inner voice. He could be telling you to trust yours.” ¹
This grasshopper was just hanging out on the window of FresYes. I was likely the only one who noticed her presence and of course my first instinct was to take her picture. Isn’t she lovely? Grasshoppers, praying mantises, and dragonflies all have a degree of serenity about them and I prefer to revel in their bliss than be disgusted by their “bugginess”. This particular grasshopper made a cameo in my life on a day when I truly needed a reminder that good luck, good things, and goodness all come from inner peace and patience. Plus, I’ll take any good luck charm I can get on the day of a Fantasy Football draft! Thank you, grasshopper, for your subtle yet powerful message that success in life is found within ourselves through patience and perseverance.
Fantasy Football and spirit animals aside, I did manage to squeak in a tour of a charming cottage in Clovis. It’s a cozy 1268 sq ft house near Clovis High School that has a lot of potential as a starter or downsize home for the right person. The backyard is lush with mature trees and there is beautiful wood laminate flooring in the hallway. It’s located in a quiet and well-maintained block. You can tell that pride of ownership is alive and well in this neighborhood.
“ Nice and Clean Gamber Home in Clovis. Big back yard. Beautiful Shade tree in front yard. Many nice features in the 3 bedroom 2 bath home. A/C was replaced 1 year ago. New Garage door. Home offers dual pane windows and water softener/purifier. Automatic Sprinklers front and back.”
Note — My commentary stated this house has one bathroom, which conflicts with the listing details. I may have missed the second bathroom, but I’m 99% sure I opened every door and I only saw one. If you are interested in purchasing this house, we will need to verify the details.
PS: I’ll take Fantasy Football tips and hints if you’ve got ’em
Here it is, the last day of August. Fall will be upon us in just three short weeks! Of course, we all know that around here that doesn’t mean a whole lot. Our trees only see a hint of fall colors and our activities remain firmly “summer” for at least another month. But it’s coming! And I am totally ready.
Even if the outside temperature stays closer to 90 than 60, we can still embrace the coming of the next season. I plan to “will” fall into existence soon as possible by making small changes to the decor in and around my house. Even if we don’t feel it in the air, we can still see it in our homes! Isn’t this fall-inspired centerpiece just gorgeous?
What will you do to prepare for the Fall Equinox on September 22?
The house I toured today is located in the Quail Lake community, which I also happen to call home. Writing about this house practically feels like cheating because I actually lived in a house on the same block as this one for a time and I’m fairly sure my former home was designed by the same builder as this one. This house is a lovely, single-story, four bedroom house with custom tile and wood floors throughout and a very modern kitchen.
There are two things I really love about that stand out from the “sameness” of most tract homes: 1) the ceiling fan in the living room is HUGE! I mean, it practically looks like a helicopter propeller. It’s quite impressive. 2) I adore the side-by-side double pantry in the kitchen. It seems so intuitive to have the extra kitchen storage, yet so many houses are designed with skimpy pantry space. There are many other lovely features in the house as well. I saw stylish detail in the master bathroom tile, beautiful plantation shutters on many of the windows, and generally a good use of the square footage. It feels very open and comfortable.
The backyard is on the smallish side, but my personal expectation is based on my super-active children who demand space to explore their world. It would be just fine for a family that doesn’t require ample room to roam for a couple of bustling boys. Both the front and back yards are nicely landscaped and have been well maintained while the house has been on the market. This is a really nice space to call home. I would be surprised if it doesn’t get gobbled up in a heartbeat.
Continuing on with my search for the perfect property for an amazing family who raises livestock, I had high hopes for this 2-acre homestead on Herndon and Highland. The location is prime, no doubt about it! With mature fruit trees and a cross-fenced area for four-legged friends to roam, it has many of the features I hoped to find.
“This 4 Bed 1.75 Bath, has a large lot that is located with an effortless, short commute to the town of Clovis. While still maintaining some privacy. Wonderful view of the Foothills. There is a large Living Room and Family Room that can easily be enjoyed as a terrific bonus Game Room. The carpets have been cleaned. This home includes Laminate, Tile, and Carpet flooring. Central Heat and Air Conditioner. Property is perfect for the animal lover or Gardener. Fenced and cross fenced for livestock with many fruit trees to enjoy. Plenty of room for RV and Boat parking. This home has fresh interior paint and the floors are in great condition. This home is move-in ready. Call today for your private showing.”
As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. A video, therefore, must be worth a mint. I’m enjoying playing with a variety of media publishing software and have prepared a gem of a movie about this rural home using Apple’s iMovie. It’s not as glamourous as Magisto, but I like that I can splice clips and pictures together for more control over the storyboard.
As you can see, the house needs some TLC. The location alone makes this piece of land pretty desirable and the house has some upgraded features such a new flooring in most of the rooms. For someone who doesn’t mind putting some effort into sprucing up the place, it would be a great buy. For a family looking for a move-in ready home with modern amenities, I’d say we need to keep the search going.
In closing, here is a little fun to brighten your day.
Today I toured a house in Northeast Clovis in the Buchanan Estates community. It sits on a cul de sac street that is very quiet and clean, much like most newer developer-planned communities. This house has lovely curb appeal with tropical trees and shrubs framing the front walkway. It appears to be well-maintained by the seller while on the market.
A couple observations:
CLEAN! The house is spotless. I had to double check the year it was built because it has the feel of new construction. The while tile and grout are immaculate. The walls are freshly painted. There is no dust on any flat surfaces and the carpets appear to be spot-free.
Details: Plantation shutters add charm to the bedroom windows. The living room and master suite have built-in shelving to accommodate decor. The master bath has patterned glass block windows to maintain privacy and style without adding window coverings.
The backyard appears to be overwatered. The lawn is muddy and it was soggy under my feet when I walked out to look around. I hope this gets rectified quickly given our severe drought conditions!
The price seems high to me. A search of recently sold comparable properties revealed the same model, but with a beautifully landscaped backyard, pool, and solar, sold for much less than the asking price of this one less than six months ago. Additionally, the 20+ houses I’ve looked at in the last couple of weeks have given me a wee bit of perspective on what would be expected in a given price range and this one seems to be priced for location, not amenities. Don’t get me wrong…it’s a beautiful house! Just not beautiful enough to persuade me that it’s priced right.
Oh, what a day! It started out in Easton to show a client that cool house I blogged about back on day 1? 2? I can’t remember that far back, lol. No matter. The day started out in the country and it was a very positive showing!
On the drive back to the office to pick up signs for Sunday’s open house, I got a call about an investor coming in from Salinas to look at one of FresYes’ listings. In anticipation of this client wanting to see a variety of choices, I pulled a few comparable listings in the general area and price range of the property she requested to see. She was expected to be in town by about 1pm, so I had a good two hours to finish up my open house activities.
I quickly headed out to Copper River Ranch to put flyers on the golf house neighbors’ doors. Boy-oh-boy was it HOT! Pounding Fresno pavement in August is no joke, especially at high noon. It totally had to be done, though. I have tried several tactics to host a successful open house out there with very little luck, so inviting the neighbors seemed like a good idea at this point.
After placing nearly 50 flyers with neighbors, I headed over to the house I would be showing to the investor to check out the location, as well as the locations of the others I planned to present to her.
All of these houses were vacant and a couple of them were foreclosures, so they did not have any staging to speak of. Of course, the FresYes listing looked lovely inside 🙂
To fully narrate the events of the afternoon would be more of a short story than a blog post and no one has time for that these days. Long story short, my investor chose the house in the top left of the collage above as her next rental home and SHE MADE AN OFFER!!!! Holy smokes, people…my first offer. I doubt this is any kind of record, but I’ve had my real estate license for 45 days. 45 days of hustling, learning, and working my rear-end off. 45 days as a Realtor and 19 days as a blogger and I wrote my first offer — WOO HOO!! Can you tell I’m pretty stoked?
(Special shout out to my mentor and teacher, Corrie, for getting me through the paperwork.)
So, though the day was long and I was thoroughly exhausted by the time I got home, it was all worth it in the end. Now cross your fingers for me and my buyer that the offer is accepted!
Today I had the pleasure of showing a newly listed, for sale by owner, house to my lovely client and her fiancé. This sweet couple is getting married in May and hopes to get established in their own home prior to the wedding. They had a list of about four properties they were interested in seeing and each time I tried to set up a showing, I discovered they had offers pending. Houses are flying off the market right now and buyers need to be ready to move QUICK! This particular house located in a prime location near Woodward Park, was still available on the day of our appointment! Yay!
“Your dream home awaits! You won’t be able to drive by this beautifully maintained home without stopping for a closer look. The mature landscaping alludes to the love and care that this home has given and received. It doesn’t stop there, cool off under the covered back patio or in the pool. With the pool heater, you’ll be able to unwind year round. The back yard includes a dog run for your best friend, a fence and a pool cover to keep the little ones safe and pool sparkling. The vaulted ceilings make this spacious three bedroom home feel even bigger. The central air, fans throughout the home, pool and large trees keep you cool during the summer while the pool heater, pellet fireplace and dual pane windows ensure the winters are just as great. Keep in mind that Liberty Elementary, Kastner Middle and Clovis West High are all within an eight minute drive.”
The front yard is lush with trees and other drought-resistant foliage. This cottage has really lovely curb appeal. As I waited for my clients to arrive, I observed neighbors going about their lives. There were children playing and other signs of a very friendly block. Perfect for a newly formed family just starting out!
While the kitchen and bathrooms haven’t been updated from the original design in 1991, they are very clean and in great shape. This one really captured the hearts of my clients. I’m looking forward to helping them navigate the decision to make an offer.
While looking for properties with separate guest houses, I came across a listing in a desirable Clovis neighborhood that appeared to fit the bill. Since the listing photographs didn’t clearly depict the location and size of the guest house, I decided to preview the house before taking my client to see it.
“Traditional Sale in award winning Clovis Schools! Beautiful DeYoung 4/3 with guest house with its own separate entrance perfect for guest/in-laws/rent. Tile and hardwood floors, tile roof, ceiling fans in all rooms, dual pane windows, built in cabinets in laundry, dual fireplace in formal and family room, enclosed back porch, hallway built-in cabinets for extra storage, concrete in back and sides, new front lawn, 2 car garage with auto opener. Open kitchen with island, pantry, microwave, electric stove, dishwasher and tile counters. Storage shed in the back. Large master bath with separate tub and shower, walk-in closet, double sinks, tile counters. Hall bath has tub/shower combo and tile counters.”
Looks good, right? And the list price seems great for a two house property, as well.
My first impression upon entering is that it’s a clean, well-maintained house and so very blanc. Blank slate, ready to be decorated by its next occupants…excellent! I wander into the kitchen (seriously…I’m obsessed with kitchens!) and take note of the cabinets, pantry, sink, appliances, and island. All in good condition!
Moving along through the master bedroom, I notice lots of natural light illuminating the lovely wood floors. Cozy in size, yet nice. I then tour the two secondary bedrooms, hall bathroom, laundry room, and garage. And that’s it.
Wait…what? That’s it? This place is supposed to have a guest house. WHERE IS THE GUEST HOUSE? Seriously, there is no way there’s a guest house here. I look in every room again for secret passageways to a hidden guest house. Maybe it only appears when you truly need it…a room of requirement, if you will. Maybe it’s only visible on a Maurader’s Map for truly worthy occupants. Maybe…maybe…could it have been mismarketed?? No way, that’s a pretty significant oversight. Why can’t I find the guest house?
By this time I’m completely second guessing my competence as a human being, let alone as a Realtor. What well-adjusted adult can’t see a friggin’ guest house??? Riddikulus!
As I throw in the proverbial towel and go out the front door to leave…all the while pondering the mystery of the invisible guest house, I casually glance to my right at a door that I had assumed was the garage. But why would there be a garage door right there… Could it be the missing guest house in disguise? I’m skeptical, but I unlock the door anyway. Helloooo guest house! Well, guest room is more like it, since there’s no kitchen, but still. I found it. Yayyyyyy!
They say the third time is a charm, but not so much for this adorable little golf house. I have personally hosted three open houses for this charming (and gorgeous) home on the 12th fairway of the Copper River Golf Course. I hoped that tonight would be the night that we would find it’s new forever family after hosting a lovely brokers’ open house, complete with wine, cheese, and giveaways. Sadly, traffic was very light.
This is not my listing, but after logging so much time and emotional energy toward marketing it, I really really want to find a buyer for it. I have a deep affinity for Granville homes. They have a lot of style and substance, and this one is no exception. With 8′ tall doors, a chef’s kitchen, and beautiful tile flooring, it is a stunning home for a small family. What makes it such a niche property is the location. With a small patio backyard, that opens up to the golf course, there isn’t much privacy or outdoor space to roam. These are not bad features, but rather features that require a certain kind of buyer to appreciate them.
I consulted with a couple of more experienced Realtors after this open house to get some advice on how to find a buyer who would appreciate this house for all it has to offer. It looks like I’ll need to conduct some market research in the neighborhood by pounding the pavement and ringing doorbells. Maybe one of the neighbors has a friend or family member who would love to buy this golf house. Maybe one of you, my dear readers, can help make this house a home.