Fall Selling Tips

If you’re thinking of putting your home on the market or already have it listed for sale here are a few quick tips to help ensure a sale:

First things first, make sure you price it right.  You’re either helping your competition sell by being overpriced, or you’re getting your own home sold by being priced competitively.  The more aggressive you price the home the less negotiating and haggling you’ll have to do.

First impressions are key.  Make sure your curb appeal is crisp, clean, inviting, and now is a great time to enhance curb appeal even more with some tasteful holiday decoration.  Pinterest is a great place to search for front porch/front door decorating ideas.  Some quick things you can do to ensure great curb appeal are the obvious including a fresh layer of mulch, nicely mowed grass, place some flower pots with blooming flowers, power wash, paint, seal as needed.  Remove screens from front windows and clean them.

High quality professional photographs are a must!  Studies continue to reveal that most homebuyers are shopping online more than any other source making photographs of your home a huge part of the selling process.  Make sure you have your home photo ready when they are taken.

When it’s time to show make sure you tidy up and give a wow factor of some kind.  Turn lights on, make beds, dishes & laundry up, trash cans empty, toilets clean, showers clean, toys up, open the blinds, and yes bake some cookies, burn a candle and play some soft music.  Give buyers a reason to want to stay and look for a bit.

Sit back and let your listing agent do their job which is to market, advertise, and get your home exposed to all the buyers in the marketplace. Sometimes the sale happens quickly and sometimes it takes more time than anyone would like.  There is no magic pill for getting a home sold.  In the end, it boils down to price, condition, location, and timing of the right buyer coming along.  No matter who your listing agent is, rest assured they want to get it sold because they don’t get paid unless and until it sells as well.  It really doesn’t do them any justice not to do everything they can to get it sold for you.

Trust the process and happy selling!

If our team can help you get successfully from one door to the next, please give us a  call at 540-725-7727 text us at 540-312-0085 or email us at christy@thecrouchteam.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Fall Season, The Time to Buy and Sell or Not?

Recently, I’ve gotten this question quite a bit; “Is now the time to buy or sell, or should I wait until after the holidays and winter season?”

This is a great question and here are some quick thoughts I wanted to share.

If you’re thinking of selling, now is a great time and here are some of the reasons:

  • There will be fewer homes on the market which means less competition for you
  • There will be more serious buyers looking this time of year because the “shoppers” fall off
  • There will be folks looking to buy who want to close before the holidays and before the end of the year for tax purposes
  • After the first of the year brings tax refunds, bonuses,  and job transfers in many cases
  • The spring market brings lots of inventory because everyone tends to think it’s the perfect time to sell which can drive prices down

If you’re thinking about buying, now is a great time and here are some of the reasons:

  • Interest rates are on the rise, logically it makes sense to buy while money is cheaper, right?
  • You can buy now and take advantage of any tax benefits available for doing so before the end of the year
  • There is still plenty of inventory and if you look closely at homes that have been on the market for a bit vs the brand new listings, you may find a nice buy!
  • Listing prices are still favorable

If you’re thinking of buying or selling we would love to help you get succesfully from one door to the next.  Give us a call at 540-725-7727, text us at 540-312-0085, or email us at christy@thecrouchteam.com

 

 

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Recognition of The Roanoke Valley

CHECK OUT THIS COOL INSIGHT ON OUR HOMETOWN!

USA Today recently named Roanoke as one of the best metro job markets in 2018. Roanoke was ranked #10 and Blacksburg was ranked #6 — the only two Virginia localities to make the list.

Franklin County and Roanoke County have been recognized as nationwide tech leaders for communities with a population of less than 150,000. Each placed in the top 10 of the Annual Digital Counties Survey.

Outside Magazine featured Roanoke as one of “America’s Smartest Towns”, with a focus on the growth of craft breweries in the area.

If you’re thinking about buying or selling here in our awesome hometown, our team would love to help you!

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I’m reading article after article about there being low inventory across the country and our local housing market is no different. Last weekend we sold a listing in a day and have had buyers and other agents calling about it all week.   We also sold a house to a buyer that had 5 competing offers to the point where we had to do an escalation clause.
For sellers, this is a terrific time to try to sell. For buyers, it’s proving to be a bit more challenging. The advantage however to choosing to charter the waters right now as buyer is that money is still fairly cheap as far as interest rates go.
If you want to know how far your dollar can go, get with a lender to get pre-approved and see what price range to stay under in order to keep your monthly payments where you’re comfortable.
If you want to know what your home could sell for in today’s market reach out and we’ll be happy to provide you with a free consultation and market analysis.
Some quick current market stats:
There are currently 2,292 homes for sale in Roanoke and surrounding areas
There are 836 pending sales right now
3,530 homes have closed so far this year
The average sales price across the area right now is $217,031
The average days on market for a home to sell right now is 145
And the average list to sales price ratio is 97%
Reach out if our team can be of help to you or answer any questions you may have.
540-725-7727 Call
540-312-0085 Text
christy@thecrouchteam.com
www.thecrouchteam.com

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For Sale By Owner or an Agent?

I ran across the below article and thought it worthy of sharing if you’re thinking about selling your home.

The Cost of Selling Without a Real Estate Agent

July 16, 2018
You’ve heard of buyer’s remorse; but without your market expertise and sales skills to back them up, sellers who choose to sell their home on their own just may experience “seller’s regret” when they see how much less they get for their properties. FSBOs earn an average of $60,000 to $90,000 less on the sale of their home than sellers who work with a real estate agent, according to the National Association of REALTORS®. Here’s the breakdown:

All agent-assisted homes: $250,000 (median selling price)
All FSBO homes: $190,000
FSBO homes when buyer knew seller: $160,300
With this kind of discrepancy, why would any seller choose to go it alone? Some may want to avoid paying an agent’s commission—but even factoring that in, FSBOs still stand to make less on their home sale. “Talk to an agent and find out what they suggest for the commission, and then do the math yourself,” researchers write on NAR’s Economists’ Outlook blog. “The closing price for the agent-assisted seller is likely going to be way above a FSBO. [But] in reality, homes sold by the owner make less money overall.”

Homeowners seem to be hearing the message: Only 8 percent of sellers last year—an all-time low—chose to sell their home themselves, according to NAR’s 2017 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers. That figure has been falling since 2004, when 14 percent of homeowners sold their own homes.

Of the share of FSBOs last year, 38 percent of the homes were sold to a buyer that the seller knew, such as a friend, neighbor, or family member. The majority of FSBO transactions, however, were sold to buyers the owner did not know.

Source: “Selling Your Home Solo to Save Money? You’ll Actually Make Less Than You Think,” National Association of REALTORS® Economists’ Outlook blog (July 9, 2018)

If our team can be of support we would love to help you get successfully from one door to the next.  With 115 homes sold so far this year, I am confident we can help you get yours sold as well and will be sure to take excellent care of you.

Please feel free to reach out to us via email at christy@thecrouchteam.com if we may serve you.

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Roanoke, a Great Place To Call Home

Stumbled across this great article about our quaint hometown!

This Charming Virginia Mountain Town Was Just Named One Of The Most Livable Cities In The U.S.

Ask any Virginian and he or she will agree that our state is one of the most livable in the whole country. Of course, we may be just a bit biased. Yet there are plenty of polls and awards to confirm our suspicions – and we couldn’t be prouder! One such honor was bestowed upon our beloved town of Roanoke, named one of the most livable cities in the U.S. Here’s more on why this town continues to attract visitors from near and far:

Have you visited the city of Roanoke recently? Do you happen to call this gorgeous mountain haven home? If so, share your thoughts and experiences with us!

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Zillow Says Millennials Are Choosing Suburbs Over Cities

Zillow Group Data Reveals Why Millennials Are Choosing Suburbs Over Cities

Sonia Krishnan

SONIA KRISHNAN
 7 MINUTE READ

Ask Shaun Kennedy to describe the home he and his wife, both in their 30s, bought last year when they moved from Seattle to the suburbs of Boulder, CO, and here’s how he replies:

“It’s a McMansion,” he jokes.

That one word — McMansion — is enough to fire up a mental image of a home that has at least four bedrooms and four bathrooms (it does); sits in a subdivision more than a dozen miles from the nearest city center (check) and tops out at several thousand square feet (Shaun’s is 3,755 square feet to be exact — “on the smaller side,” he likes to point out).

A hint of amusement slips into Shaun’s voice when he talks about the McMansion, in part because they tried and failed to find a smaller house in the suburbs.

And, in part, because the couple’s house symbolizes what Americans simultaneously reject — and embrace — about homeownership in this country.

On the one hand, there’s our pop culture glorification of the downsized, urban-dwelling, less-is-more lifestyle. HGTV alone airs four different shows about tiny homes.

On the other hand, there’s the data that reveals what more and more millennial buyers, like Shaun and Courtney, truly desire: space, safe neighborhoods and yes — lots of bathrooms.

What the numbers say

According to the latest findings from the Zillow Group Consumer Housing Trends Report 2017, the suburbs are the most popular destination for all buyers across all generations.

Millennials are driving this market. Defined by Zillow Group as buyers ages 18 to 37, millennials comprise the largest segment of home buyers today.

Among millennial buyers who purchased homes in the past 12 months, 43 percent currently live in the suburbs, according to the report.

“We’re seeing an emerging pull to the suburbs, especially as cities grow more expensive and have a limited supply of homes for sale,” said Sarah Mikhitarian, an economist at Zillow Group. “As more millennials look to purchase a home, the suburbs are growing more appealing.”

This is a shift from the urban revival that took place during the 2000s, when young, college-educated professionals began pouring into city centers across the U.S., bringing vibrancy into long-neglected downtown cores. The 2008 recession also drew employers downtown to scoop up office space in urban centers as rental rates dropped, according to a 2017 report by Marcus & Millichap, a commercial real estate investment services firm which analyzes office occupancy data.

Now, U.S. Census data points to signs of a reversal.

In 2010, one-third of Americans moved to urban areas (30 percent), while less than half moved to the suburbs (46 percent), according to a Zillow analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data, American Community Survey, 2010-2016.

By 2016, those numbers were starting to trend in opposing directions: 28 percent of Americans moved to urban areas while 54 percent moved to the suburbs, the analysis found.

There is, of course, more land and housing in the suburbs. Yet the decline in the share of people moving to the urban areas signals a renewed interest in the suburbs, Mikhitarian said.

“Underneath this is the simple fact that you get more house for your money once you leave the city,” she said.

What do suburban buyers want?

Short commutes rank high. Eighty-one percent of millennials and 75 percent of Generation X buyers desire a home close to work, Zillow Group found.

Take, for instance, Shaun and Courtney. While the couple toyed with the idea of living in Denver or Boulder, they ultimately decided against city life because it would have meant a brutal commute for Shaun, whose office is in the suburbs.

They wanted space and a safe neighborhood, and they wanted it all, of course, for a great price. So the suburbs it was.

These priorities mirror what suburban buyers across generations want, Zillow Group’s analysis found.

Most rank safety and ample parking as their top two priorities in a home.

The homes that suburban buyers purchase average three bedrooms, two and a half bathrooms and 2,100 square feet.

Bathrooms also play a fundamental role in the home-buying process for suburban buyers. More than half — 58 percent — say it is a requirement that a home has their preferred number of bathrooms.

While millennials may be starting their families, many Gen X-ers have young children under 18 living at home. As these children grow from toddlers to teenagers, “having an extra bathroom or two quickly goes from a ‘nice-to-have’ to a ‘necessity,’” the report stated.

An agent’s view

Bic DeCaro, a Premier Agent in Great Falls, VA, near Washington, D.C., said she’s seen the shift to the suburbs happening firsthand over the past 18 years.

When she first became an agent in the early 2000s, many of her clients were first-time buyers looking to purchase starter homes either in D.C. or Arlington, VA.

Then her clients got married, got promotions, had kids. They came to her again years later, this time wanting bigger homes in better school districts and yards for dogs and kids, she said.

That desire is nothing new. The American Dream has long been synonymous with the white picket fence and its attendant trappings.

What was changing, however, was the suburban landscape on which this dream was built.

Live, work, play

As Americans began to demand more walkable communities, more and more mixed-use town centers — complete with restaurants, shopping, movie theaters and housing — started popping up in suburban cities across the country.

At the same time, office rents in urban cores got more expensive post-recession, making the suburbs a more affordable option for employers, according to the 2017 Marcus & Millichap report.

For employers, too, the suburbs have become even more attractive as millennials, a sought-after talent pool, increasingly choose to live there, the report stated.

Bic, whose client base primarily consists of buyers and sellers in the D.C. metro area, said the confluence of these forces has fueled increased demand for the suburban home.

Long commutes that once involved schlepping from bedroom communities to downtown offices are becoming less and less of a consideration, she said.

“When you’ve got the jobs, the restaurants, shopping and good schools, the suburbs make sense,” she said. “You have that sense of community. It’s not just a place to sleep anymore.”

In suburbia

Piper Ryan and her husband, Sean, have moved every few years over the past decade for Sean’s career.

The couple and their family bought a house last year in Great Falls, VA, and chose Bic to be their agent, in part because of Bic’s expertise in the suburban market.

With each home purchase over the past decade, Piper said, she and her husband have picked the suburbs. The choice made sense.

They needed space for their big, extended family, enough bedrooms for visitors during the holidays, good schools for the children and proximity to Sean’s office and the airport. Also, Piper said, she loves nature and wide-open spaces.

“If we were in our 20s, downtown would be great,” she said. “But with kids, I want them to have room to run outside and play.”

From city life to the ‘burbs  

Speaking from his suburban office in Colorado, Shaun Kennedy recalled the time when he and Courtney first went to visit homes in Broomfield, which is about 15 miles outside of Boulder.

They prioritized their wish list. Courtney works from home, but with Shaun’s office located in Broomfield, living in Boulder or Denver was out of the question, he said.

They also wanted a large kitchen, backyard space for their two dogs and a functional open layout.

The couple was living in Seattle at the time; before that, they lived in D.C. and Denver. They’d grown accustomed to city life and making the most of small spaces.

Then their agent took them to showings in Broomfield.

“Houses here are So. Darn. Big,” Shaun said. “You have to take a search party to visit the whole house.”

After two weeks of looking, they made an offer on a house adjacent to a golf course. Unlike their classic brick Tudor in Seattle, the Broomfield house was in a new, mostly uniform development.

That was an adjustment, purely from an architectural standpoint, Courtney said. In the city, they’d gotten used to “the diversity of seeing modern houses next to 100-year-old houses.”

Still, they loved the floor plan in the suburban house they found, as well as the large kitchen and guest en suite for frequent visitors. Plus, it was a 15-minute commute for Shaun.

Courtney said that even though she and Shaun miss aspects of urban life, like having great restaurants minutes from their door, they don’t worry about crime or their car getting vandalized where they live.

They entertain more now and invite friends to cookouts on their patio while their dogs play in the yard.

“There are trade-offs,” Courtney said. “There always are.”

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Zillow, What’s It All Mean?

Zillow, it’s been a big word in our industry for quite some time now and I don’t think that will be changing unless its Zillow continuing to grow and be an even bigger impact on our industry.  I say this in the most positive way, I am a premier agent with Zillow and strongly support their business model and what’s it’s brought to our industry.

I am writing this post to clarify a few things so consumers have a better understanding of the basics of Zillow.  So when you see a home for sale or for rent on Zillow and you see an agent listed beside it, this is not always in fact rarely is it the listing agent of the property.

Zillow is set up so that it rotates agents that show up on the home based on various factors.  So when you’re reaching out to an agent about a home you saw on Zillow don’t assume it’s the listing agent of that particular property.  The good news for you is the agent you contact can still get you all the information on the home and even show you the home in person even if it’s not their listing.  At least this is the case in my market which is Roanoke Virginia.

A couple issues that seem to arise fairly often for consumers are homes they find on Zillow but their agent didn’t send it to them.  This could happen for a number of reasons.  One is that the home may not meet the specific criteria you discussed with your agent.  For instance, if you asked your agent to send homes with 4+ bedrooms and the home you’re seeing on Zillow only has 3 bedrooms it would not have come up in the search results for your agent.  Another example; if you told your agent to search say up to $175,000 and the price of the home you’re seeing on Zillow is $179,950 it would not have come up in the search results for your agent because they asked the MLS to send everything under $175,000 so if a home is priced at $175,100 even it would be eliminated.  Another is the home may already be sold but be reflected yet as sold on Zillow.  It takes a little time for a home to formally go under contract with all the necessary paperwork back and forth between buyer, seller, listing agent, and in many cases buyer’s agent.

So what’s the difference between in MLS and Zillow? That’s a great question and MLS stands for multiple listing service which is a platform where licensed Realtors list their homes for sale for other Realtors and now the public to be able to see.  I think it’s fair to say that MLS updates first and then the public sites like Zillow update as a result so it may take a tad longer for a home to come off Zillow once it’s sold or taken off the market.

Another thing many consumers wonder about is the Zestimate.  I honestly cannot answer for Zillow about the Zestimate but as an agent I can say that it’s just like any other statistical data it’s subject to debate.  It doesn’t reflect what your home’s value is an can range from being low to high and sometimes within the range of value.  There is certainly no crystal ball for determining the exact value of any home.  I think Zillow has done a phenomenal job of collecting and distributing data.

In order to determine your home’s value, the best thing you can do is look at what homes you’ll be in competition with as well as those that have sold within the last six months that are comparable to your home in bedrooms, baths, sqft., age, style, and location.  This is basically how the appraiser goes about determining the value and is ultimately the one to determine what the bank loans on the property if the buyer is obtaining a loan.  Of course, you have to take into account the different features, benefits, upgrades, etc and this is where having a professional real estate agent can benefit you to make sure you don’t make the mistake of overpricing your home or what’s worse underpricing and leaving money on the table.

If you are thinking about buying or selling a home our team would love to help you get succesfully from one door to the next.  Speaking of Zillow, please check out what our past customers and clients had to say about their experience with our team on Zillow here:

http://www.zillow.com/profile/thecrouchteam/Reviews/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Impact of Rising Interest Rates

Finally, the housing market seems to have remarkably improved across the nation and in many markets, it’s become very much a seller’s market with bidding wars going on above list price for homes on the market in many cases.

New agents are coming in the business and killing it merely by having a license to sell.  It’s not quite the “good ‘ol days” but it’s not a bad time in the real estate world for sure.

What’s this mean to you? Well, if you’re thinking of selling, now is the time because we have more buyers than we do inventory if your home is in a sought after location, in good condition, and you price it right.  The three main factors that determine whether any home will sell no matter what the market conditions are price, condition, and location.  But obviously, even more so when you add the low inventory factor.

For buyers, if you’re thinking of buying now is the time as well.  Why?  Because inevitably with improving market and economic conditions comes rising interest rates which means the same house you can buy today will cost you more if you wait.  It’s really simple and so is the home buying and selling process if you work with an experienced team like ours to ensure you’re properly guided through the sometimes choppy waters of buying and selling a home.   Speaking of choppy waters, if you were heading out to do some white water rafting, you’d likely want an experienced tour guide, right?  Then surely you want an experienced agent to support you with one of your largest single investments whether buying or selling, don’t you?

Here are today’s interest rates quoted from one of the lenders we work with locally, Rob Furrow at Integrity Home Loans.  You can give him a call if you have questions about getting pre-approved, the different loan programs, options, costs, etc. as well as refinancing if you’re thinking of staying in your home.  His direct line is 540-529-5772 and you can call or text him on that. These are subject to change and based on a 30 year fixed rate:

FHA 4.375

VA 4.5

USDA 4.625

VHDA 4.75

Conventional 4.75

If we can answer any questions for you about buying or selling you can reach us directly by phone or text at 540-312-0085.  Here’s what we can do:

If you’re thinking of selling, we can provide you with a free market analysis giving you an idea of what your home could sell for in today’s market and tell you anything that might need to be done to get it ready for the market.

If you’re buying, we can get you access to all homes that are currently for sale based on what you’re looking for.  And yes, the public sites are great in fact we love Zillow and what it’s done for the industry.  If you’re on there look us up and see what our past customers and clients had to say about their experience in working with our team.  The difference is we are able to get you the most update to date inventory based on exactly what you’re looking for and help you choose just the right home at the right price.

 

 

 

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Real Estate Lingo, What’s it’s all Mean?

Real Estate Lingo, what’s it all mean? That’s a great question that many of our clients ask so in the next few posts I thought I’d share in hopes to help it all make a little more sense:
 
MLS: Multiple Listing Service which is where agents post their homes for sale for other Realtors to be able to see, share with buyers, and show.
 
RVAR: Roanoke Valley Association of Realtors
 
CMA: Comparative Market Analysis
 
DOM: Days on Market
 
ROC: Removal of Contingency
 
BD: Business Days
 
CD: Closing Disclosure
 
HOA: Homeowners Association
POA: Property Owners Association
 
HI: Home Inspection
If we can help you with buying or selling a home here in Roanoke, Virginia and surrounding areas, we would love to apply for the job and interview with you.  We’ve sold 63 so far this year and are committed to taking excellent care of all our customers and clients.
We believe our 50+ year’s combined experience will help you get successfully from one door to the next and help you navigate the waters from beginning to end.

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