Lower Your List Price to Increase Your Home Value?

August 23rd, 2014

Lower your list price to increase your home value? Sounds crazy, but it’s what some home sellers have tried with some success. A great listing price should attract strong interest, driving up the price in an auction-like bidding war. So the theory goes.

The Wall Street Journal published an article this week looking at pricing strategies that bring the best selling price: Strategies for Setting a Price for Your Home. The piece starts out with the story of Alex Hickman, a Portland Oregon home seller who set his list price slightly below market value. He received 6 competing offers in 4 days. While he thought it was a great strategy to bring a higher sale price. But does this strategy really increase your home value and sale price? His real estate agent was not convinced. She thought it just brought chaos to the negotiations, with buyers offering concessions on things other than price, like a short closing or no financing contingency.

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Would such a strategy work in Tallahassee to increase your home value? Lower listing prices certainly attract more buyers. While the market has recovered somewhat in Tallahassee, we still see relatively weak demand in many neighborhoods and price points. Listing lower to create a bidding war may work great in hot West Coast markets, but it’s uncertain if it would create the demand needed in slower markets like we have here.

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What’s the best strategy to price you home for sale? Try to hit the market value right on the nose. As the Wall Street Journal article notes, nobody knows the exact market value of your home until a buyer plunks down the money for it. List too low, and you may see money slip away. List too high and you drive away potential buyers who will simply look at similar homes that are priced lower. Setting a listing price is about psychology – the sole purpose is to entice the buyer to make an offer. Michael Seiler, professor of real estate and finance at The College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Va., says “When you set a list price, you’re sending a signal to the market.”

Looking for your home value? Contact us, we’ll give you the guidance to increase your home value.

Increase Your Home’s Value with Kitchen Countertops

August 6th, 2014

13Looking to increase your home’s value? A kitchen update can bring you a high rate of return. One question that homeowners ask us when they are considering an update is “Which countertop should I chose?” Good questions, as there are several options. All these options will increase your home’s value.

The right material will increase your home’s value

Granite. The most popular choice for kitchens, granite come in a variety of colors and patterns. Make sure you match your granite choice to your home’s style. Granite is easy to clean and durable, but it does need to be periodically sealed to maintain its look. This is the most popular choice in Tallahassee, so expect it to have a very positive effect on your home’s value.

Quartz. Another stone that is very popular. Quartz has a more uniform pattern and comes in a variety of colors. It is even more durable than granite, but expect it to cost a little more.

Butcher Block Wood. This is a classic material that looks great – as long as it is maintained. Many kitchen benefit from the soft natural look of wood. This material needs to be sealed frequently.

Stainless Steel. Stainless looks good in any kitchen style – antique to contemporary. It is easy to clean, anti-bacterial, and very durable. Some buyers find it cold and uninviting though. In Tallahassee it is rarely used for a whole kitchen.

Ceramic Tile. This material is not as popular as it once was. Tile looks very elegant, but it can scratch and chip easily. The grout between tiles also needs to be cleaned and sealed. Tile styles can change too – what was popular 5 years ago may not be so much now.

Concrete. Yes, concrete counters are very popular in high end modern homes. It is almost unheard of in Tallahassee, though, where traditional tastes prevail. Concrete is durable, and can be stained to match any color. It is porous and needs to be sealed.

Marble. Natural marble is the choice of bakers, where it is desired for kneading dough. Marble is a relative soft stone so care must be taken with it. Marble is frequently used as an accent, such as for an island or baking station as part of a larger counter space.

If you are choosing new counters, look around your neighborhood and model homes to see what’s popular in your area. If you make the right choice, you can certainly increase your home’s value.

How does Age Affect my Tallahassee Home Value

July 24th, 2014

How Does Age Affect Home Value?

Q. How does the age of my home affect my Tallahassee home value?

A. Good question. There are many factors that affect your home’s value. One factor that often gets overlooked is the age of a home. There are various reasons why age affects the amount of money a buyer is willing to pay for your Tallahassee home:

  • Older homes need more maintenance simply because there major systems – plumbing, electric, HVAC, all wear out over time. Buyers are willing to pay more in return for less repair worries.
  • Newer homes reflect the most up-to-date design trends. For example, buyers today tend to like very open floor plans with high ceilings. Older homes, even those built in the 1980s and 1990s don’t always have the openness of today’s new construction homes. Homes built in the 1960s often have kitchens and living rooms half the size of today’s models. Buyers are willing to pay more for the current style.
  • Newer homes generally have newer amenities. New appliances, light fixtures, bath fixtures all appeal to buyers.

Q. Can I make changes to my older home to improve my Tallahassee home value?

A. Of course, an older home may be remodeled and updated to match the style and features of a newer home, and in that case the updated home will command nearly the same price as a comparable newer home.

How Much Home Value?

Q. How much of a difference does age make in my Tallahassee home value?

A. This is a key question that property appraisers try to figure out for each real estate market. In Tallahassee, appraisers will tell you that each year of difference in age between 2 similar homes will roughly translate to $1,000-2,000 less in value for the older home. Is this accurate? It appears so. Let’s look at comparable home values in Ox Bottom Manor. In 2013, there was a new construction home on Rogers Drive that sold for $379,000. A few weeks earlier there as a 2004 home on Thornberg Drive that sold for $352,000. The homes were roughly the same size, same 4 bed-3 bath arrangement. This is emblematic of how age affects value.  What’s my Tallahassee home value? Click on the link below to find out.

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Are Foreclosures Affecting Home Values?

July 16th, 2014

Are Foreclosures Affecting Home Values?

With the bulk of the mortgage crisis behind us, you would think the number of foreclosure homes for sale is going down. You’d be thinking wrong. The number and percentage of foreclosed homes for sale in Leon County has jumped in the first half of 2014. Are foreclosures affecting home values?

Well, yes, it seems so. Many banks have held on the foreclosures waiting for home values to recover somewhat. That recovery picked up steam in most metro areas during 2013. It seems banks decided it was time to sell those homes. So we are seeing more foreclosures on the market. Foreclosures are affecting home values in many neighborhoods including Ox Bottom, Summerbrooke, and Betton Hills. Click on these links to see some of the current foreclosures in these areas.

In the first half of 2013, the number of foreclosed homes sold was 299 out of an inventory of 1,555 homes sold overall, or 19% of all homes sold. The average price of these sales was $101,916. In 2014, the number sold jumped to 494. When compared to the inventory of homes sold – 1,645 – this is a 30% share of the market! That’s a big jump! Moreover, the average sale price was $93,634, much lower than 2013. With the number of foreclosures up, and the sale price of those foreclosures down, are foreclosures affecting home values? Yes.

Are foreclosures affecting home values?

Are foreclosures affecting home values?

5 Things Home Buyers Really Like

July 5th, 2014

5 Things Home Buyers Really Like

The housing bust didn’t just change prices – it helped usher in a fundamental change in how today’s buyers think about homes.  These are different buyers.  Here are 5 things home buyers really like in today’s home market.  Meet their needs, and you’ll increase your home value.

  • Home buyers really like smart homes that are energy efficient.  Home buyers really like technology – whether it’s in their car or in their home.  HVAC systems that save utility dollars, and energy efficiency standards in new green homes are popular.  Make your home efficient by getting an energy audit and replacing older appliances with energy efficient models when it’s time.
  • Man-Cave and Bonus Rooms.  Whatever you call them, rooms that provide some “away time” allow different family members to indulge in their hobbies and interests without being too far away.
  • Sex in the City Closets.  Need we say more?  Big, spacious, organized master closets are a trend that is here to stay.  If you don’t have big closets, install inexpensive organizing systems that maximize existing space.  If you are getting ready to sell, leave at least 30% of you closest space to give them a spacious feel.
  • Home buyers really like home offices.  In addition to bonus rooms, many buyers today work from home at least one day a week.  Buyers will often buy a home with an extra bedroom, but a dedicated home office is a big draw for buyers.
  • Hardwood floors.  Carpet is Ok for bedrooms, but today’s home buyers really like hardwood for the majority of living spaces.  It’s clean, and has a luxurious feel.

    Home buyers reallly like

    Home buyers really like energy efficient homes

Home buyers really like a home that is clean, neat, and move in ready.  If you’re thinking of selling your home, meeting today’s buyer needs can increase your home value over the competition.

Tallahassee Home Sale Trends Up and Down So Far in 2014

July 3rd, 2014

Tallahassee Home Sale Trends

The first half of 2014 is in the scorebook (watching too much soccer!) with Tallahassee home sale trends showing mixed results.  The number of sales was down slightly from 2013 levels, as was the median sale price.  The average sale price was up slightly.  Here is the summary of Tallahassee home sale trends:

  2014                              2013

Number of sales:                         1,156                          1,206                Down -4%

Sales volume:                             $241 Million              $249 Million     Down -3%

Average sale price:                    $208,590                    $207,191          Up +1%

Median sale price:                     $147,500                    $150,000          Down -2%

Number of homes for sale:        3,594                           3,460               Up 4%

Tallahassee home valuesTallahassee home sale trends

Tallahassee home sale trends and Tallahassee home values are driven by employment and wage growth, as most locations are.  Since employment number and income levels have been flat in Tallahassee, it’s no surprise that home values have remained stable also.  One area that saw stronger than average number was southeast Tallahassee.  Home sale trends there show a 10% increase in the average sale price and an 8% increase in the median sale price.  Good news for places like Southwood!

While the Tallahassee home sale trends provide an overview of the market, your neighborhood home values may be on a different trend.  Call us for a free report on your Tallahassee home value and home sale trends in your neighborhood – 850.445.2476

NE Tallahassee Town Home Values

June 19th, 2014

Tallahassee town home values remain strong in 2014

Looking for a less expensive living alternative? Tallahassee town home values in the northeast have held up quite well in 2014. Town homes are housing units with at least one wall shared with an adjoining unit. With less yard and less exterior, they typically cost less to purchase than a detached single family home.Tallahassee Town Home Values

Tallahassee town home values show solid staying power in 2014. From January to June 2014, there were 71 northeast town homes sold. The average selling price was $111,528. These town homes were quite popular and sold well, with an average time on the market of only 97 days. Town homes continued to sell strong compared with 2013:

  2014 2013
Average Sale Price $111,528 $112,387
Number Sold 71 67
Total Volume $7.918 million $7.629 million
Days on Market 97 120


Prices in northeast Tallahassee range from under $50,000 for neighborhoods like Pinecrest and Victory Garden off of Park Avenue near the intersection of Capital Circle; and rise to over $200,000 in Lucerne Woodlands and Township One North. But Tallahassee town home values abound in other places: a very popular neighborhood is the Villages at Maclay, where town homes sell very quickly in the $160,000 – 170,000 range.

If you are looking for an affordable and easy to maintain living option, don’t forget to look at northeast Tallahassee town home values. Contact us for a full list of northeast Tallahassee town homes for sale, including some great deals. Click here to see today’s list of offerings:

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Summerbrooke Home Values Drop Slightly

June 15th, 2014

Summerbrooke Home Values Drop Slightly

Summerbrooke home values drSummerbrooke home values and homes for saleop slightly during the first half of 2014 as the overall US housing market cools from its rapid growth in 2013. The median sale price in Summerbrooke came in at 337,500 for the first half of 2014, a slight decrease from $350,000 during the same time period in 2013.

While home sale prices are not the same as home values, these two metrics usually trend in the same direction, especially for a stable neighborhood like Summerbrooke that has not seen a significant change to the features or size of its housing inventory. In addition to Summerbrooke home sale prices, the average sale price-per-square-foot also declined from $124 to $119, further indicating Summerbrooke home values have dropped as opposed to the size of the homes sold.

Here is a rundown of Summerbrooke home prices and values for January – June 2014

  2014 2013
Number of Sales 16 22
Total Value of Sales $5.46 million $7.97 million
Median Sale Price $337,500 $350,000
Average Sale Price $341,212 $362,386
Sale Price per Square Foot $119 $124


However, good things are still happening for Summerbrooke home sellers! The inventory of homes for sale in 2014 has dropped so far, from 46 last year to 40 this year. Less competition if you’re looking to sell a home. Plus, the average days on market has dropped from 92 in last year, to 88 for January – June 2014. Fear not! It is still a decent market for home sellers.  With the right preparation and marketing you can maximize your Summerbrooke home values!

5 Things a Home Seller Should Never Do

June 3rd, 2014

 5 Things Home Sellers Should Never Do

You’ve worked hard to maximize your home value.  When you’re ready to sell, you don’t want to give away any of that value.  If you want to earn the maximum profit on your home and have the most solid contract with a buyer, here are 5 things home sellers should never do.

1.  When Hiring a Realtor, Never Pay a Transaction Fee.  Several years ago, we went to buy a replacement vehicle after our SUV was destroyed in Hurricane Wilma.  We searched for several days to find the right one.  Having finally settled on the “out-the-door” price with the salesman, the sales manager gave us the written bill which included an additional charge: a dealer “transaction fee”.  In sales professions, transaction fees are nothing but junk, padding, extra profit margin.  Hire an agent that will give you an all-inclusive, standard price.

2.  Never List Your Home in Less Than Top Condition.  Today’s buyers largely favor homes that are move-in ready.  Since 2008, I have never heard the once-common term “sweat equity”.  Buyers don’t do that anymore, unless they are investors looking for a below-market deal.  Home sellers give up thousands of dollars in home value by not having the home ready.

3.  Never Accept Less Than a $1000 Earnest Money Deposit.  In a sales contract, an earnest money deposit represents the buyer’s “skin in the game.”  It ensures a buyer will not arbitrarily walk away from the deal.  Anything less than $1000 is too easily given up by a buyer.  Make sure your buyer is serious: demand at least $1000, or go even higher for upscale-priced homes.

4.  Never Accept Everything a Buyer Asks to Have Repaired.  After a buyer has your home inspected for non-working item, they will typically ask for repairs.  Some repairs are required by a sales contract, but often they are fluff.  Almost every home inspector will write that an air conditioning system should be cleaned, and buyers will ask for this as a required or “warranted” item.  But a system can be working great without a cleaning, and therefore cleaning is not required by the contract.  Always scrutinize what a buyer is asking for. Find How To Impact Your Home Value

5.  Never Ignore Closing Statement Details.  Closing statements, or “HUD” statements detail the costs and proceeds in a sales transaction.  They can be quite complicated depending on situation.  While closing officers do a fantastic job 99% of the time, an error in the statement can cost you hundreds or even thousands of dollars.  Always review the statement with your real estate agent and closing officer.   

These 5 things a home seller should never do covers the main pitfalls in a real estate transaction.  If you are curious about any facet of the home selling process, please give us a call, and we’ll provide you with great home selling advice – 850.445.2476.     

Home Price Appreciation Slow-down to Continue

May 24th, 2014

DISMedia reports that economist and housing experts expect a home price appreciation slow-down to continue through 2016. While appreciation grew at about 4.4% last year, experts predict the rate will drop to 3.4% by 2016. “These data are consistent with a growing uncertainty about how and when conditions in US housing markets will normalize” said Terry Loebs of Pulsenomics, the company conducting the research.

Reports have persisted from many sources that housing prices and values were losing momentum in the past year, and this recent research confirms these opinions. Some housing markets have been actually losing value in 2014.

For Tallahassee, the Freddie Mac Home Price Index numbers for this Spring indicate prices have dropped slightly. The 2014 February to March change was less than a third of a percentage point. The annual change between 2013 and 2014 shows a half-point drop in prices. Housing prices are largely tied to employment growth and wage growth, neither of which has taken off in Tallahassee, so it’s not unexpected that prices have failed to take off locally.

Despite the downbeat news, housing is acutely local, and some Tallahassee neighborhoods are doing very well in terms of sales and price growth. We received numerous inquiries about neighborhood prices each week. We treat each one with great care and research – we’d be happy to answer your home value questions. Just contact us for a free online home value report!

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