6 Easy, Affordable Smart Home Features

When you’re selling your home, you may be willing to do whatever you can to help it stand out and sell faster. Because the National Association of Realtors is predicting modest growth for the 2017 real estate market, as a seller you want every edge you can get.

“Smart home features are designed to make homes more convenient, appealing, secure and energy-efficient — all of which are bonuses when you’re trying to sell a house,” says Geoff Lewis, President of RE/MAX, LLC. “Sellers who want to move their homes faster may benefit from adding smart features that make their properties more appealing to tech-minded buyers.”

According to IHS Markit and CNBC, 80 million smart home devices were delivered worldwide last year. That’s a 64 percent increase from 2015.

Here are six trending smart home features that might catch buyers’ attention and help sell your home faster:

1) Keyless/remote entry door locks

Have you ever left the house and worried that you left the front door unlocked? If your home is equipped with a keyless/remote entry door lock — available from multiple manufacturers — you can use an app on your smartphone to lock the door from wherever you are. Some manufacturers make versions that will also send a text or email to your phone when the door opens. Locks that can be programmed with multiple entry codes also allow you to see who comes and goes and when.

2) Smart lighting

From lighting automation that allows you to control lights remotely and wirelessly, to energy-efficient LED bulbs that can change color to match your mood and decor, lighting has come a long way. Some smart lights work in tandem with home automation systems to allow you to turn them on or off, or even dim them, from an app on a smartphone or tablet. Others require no communication hub and can be controlled directly from your mobile device. You can also put some smart bulbs on timers (using your wireless device), sync them with certain TV shows or movies, and integrate them with security cameras and thermostats.

3) DIY security systems

Don’t want to sign a contract or deal with complex security systems? Install-it-yourself security systems are affordable and offer security features like cameras, sensors, motion detectors and alarms or sirens, without the need for a security service to monitor them.

4) Smart appliances

The Internet of Things (IoT) — everyday objects that have network connectivity — includes a growing list of smart appliances. Many manufacturers are offering washers, dryers, refrigerators and other home appliances that can communicate with you — and each other — wirelessly. Many can be controlled remotely from your smartphone — so if you leave the house and can’t remember if you turned off the stove, you can check in and turn it off using your smartphone app.

While appliances aren’t always included in a home sale, they do make for interesting features that keep your home top of mind to buyers.

5) Smart plugs

One of the easiest, most affordable smart home upgrades you can make is to add smart plugs to your home. These Wi-Fi-enabled plugs fit existing outlets and can be controlled from a smartphone app. Plug anything into a smart plug, like lights or a television, and you can turn it on or off remotely, track energy consumption, or even create an on-off schedule.

6) Temperature controls

Programmable thermostats were just the beginning; today’s home temperature controls are even smarter. Like other smart home features, smart thermostats can be controlled remotely from your mobile device. You can program them to make automatic temperature adjustments and then use your smartphone to override the program like turning up the heat on a particularly cold day. Some smart thermostats learn from household behavior and adjust the temperature to meet your family’s needs and save energy, while others adjust based on the number of people in a room. And several can now be operated via voice-controlled virtual assistants.

“Many of these smart home features are surprisingly easy and affordable to install,” Lewis says. “Sellers who are open to the idea of investing a little money to possibly help get a speedier sale, may want to consider adding the smart features buyers will be looking for in 2017.”

If you or someone you know is thinking of selling, contact me today!

Finding Time for Fun in Real Estate

When you hire a real estate professional to help buy or sell a home, they can help free up time you would otherwise spend on sorting through listings, scheduling showings, or trying to figure out paperwork. You might even have time to focus on the fun parts of moving, such as:

  1. Building a Pinterest board of décor inspiration

Don’t have a particular design style in mind? No problem. Check out the RE/MAX Pinterest page for ideas.

  1. Clearing out the clutter with a yard sale

Remember, each thing you sell is one less thing you’ll have to pack – and unpack. Here are some top yard sale tips.

  1. Planning your housewarming party

You’ll want to show off the new place – especially after you’ve made it Pinterest perfect. Put together a Facebook event and start thinking about party favors to thank friends who helped you move in.

  1. Bargain shopping for furniture

There are plenty of options for you to furnish your new nest without breaking the bank. Here are six places to find furniture within your budget.

It’s easier to find time to prepare for your move if your agent does the heavy lifting. I’ll be happy to help; contact me today!

7 Important Things Home Sellers Often Forget to Do

When you’re selling your home there’s so much to do: find a Realtor®, do touch-ups, get that balky air conditioner fixed, look into staging… It’s no wonder that sometimes things fall between the cracks. Big things. (I’m not pointing fingers, promise!) An arsenal of experts—aka real estate agents who have worked with many home sellers—identify the to-do’s that sellers typically overlook. I promise you, these tasks are well worth the time it will take to complete them (which isn’t very long at all).

Heed this sound advice, and there’s a good chance selling your house won’t be nearly as stressful as everyone tells you it is.

Creating A Patio Scene That Sells

Whether you’re selling an oceanfront property in Miami Beach or a Colorado mountain escape, a home’s outdoor space is often key in the potential homeowner’s willingness to say, “We’ll take it!” With property values on the rise, it’s important to create additional living space by bringing the indoors out.

No matter the size, creating an inviting area for entertainment and daily living doesn’t have to be a massive construction ordeal. Instead, just a few simple additions to the outdoor space can make all the difference. Let’s take a look at ways to create a refreshing outdoor scene that sells, complete with fresh patio furniture and accessories perfectly matched to the home’s architecture and surrounding scenery.

Why is real estate inventory so low?

Consumers are increasingly on the house hunt this spring. Though they’re enjoying solid employment and paycheck gains and in a rush to beat rising mortgage rates, they’re also struggling to find a home to buy in many housing markets.

Indeed, the supply of homes for-sale is at a nearly 20-year low. The most affordable homes—those that tend to attract first-time buyers—are in short supply too. Meanwhile, home prices are rising sharply as buyers find themselves competing for the few homes that are for sale.

Reports are growing of bidding wars erupting across hot markets. About 1.75 million homes were for-sale nationally at the end of February, down 6.4 percent from a year earlier, according to the National Association of REALTORS®. The supply of homes has dropped on an annual basis for the last 21 months.

Why is the supply so low? Housing experts point to several reasons. The average time that owners are staying in their homes before selling has doubled to nearly eight years, according to ATTOM Data Solutions. Investors own a larger portion of houses and they’ve been renting them out. Between 2006 and 2016, the share of single-family houses and condos owned by investors averaged around 30 percent. Also, builders–faced with rising land costs and a shortage or skilled workers–have done little to ramp up new-home supplies.

The shortages are prompting home prices to skyrocket. The median sales price jumped 7.7 percent from a year ago to $228,400—more than double the pace of average pay gains.

Source: REALTOR.mag

Should You Sell Your Home Or Rent It Out?

Sometimes, you decide exactly when you’d like to move. Other times, life swoops in and decides for you. Your company might transfer you, a family emergency might require relocation, or you might finally find the love of your life—three states over. Should you sell your house or hang on to it as a rental property? Here are 5 important considerations.

1. Are you gone for good?

Or do you need an exit strategy? If there’s a good chance you’ll return to your current home in a year or two, the money and time you spend selling your home and then buying a new one might make renting it out a smarter option.

2. How’s the rental market?

Look at online rental sites to see what properties in your neighborhood and in similar condition to yours are renting for. Are there a lot of listings? Think about what you might charge and what you might have to do to bring your property up to the market standard. You can then get an idea whether your potential rental income will cover your expenses.

3. Where’s the neighborhood heading?

A lot of factors feed into property values, from national trends to long-term construction plans. An agent can help you understand your property’s potential for appreciation and whether or not it might pay to hang onto it.

4. How much is the hassle of being a landlord worth?

Unless you pay for a property management company (about 10 percent of the rental income), dealing with issues, emergencies and uncooperative renters (sometimes all at once, often in the middle of the night) can be trying. Ask yourself if it’s worth the stress.

5. What are the tax implications?

Each situation is unique, so before you decide to rent out your home consider talking with a tax professional. They can help you figure out how much you can expect to pay in taxes on the rental income.

If you’re ready to sell, I’ll be happy to help! Contact me today!

The Internet Didn’t Take Down Real Estate

The internet may have entered more aspects of a real estate transaction over the past decade, but consumers haven’t abandoned their desire for a real estate professional’s assistance, according to Steve Murray, president of the consulting firm Real Trends, who has been tracking for 40 years how real estate agents conduct their jobs. In fact, consumers are willing to pay even more for real estate agents’ services. The average real estate commission paid to real estate agents has risen slightly since 2005, according to Murray.

Real estate agent jobs have stayed firm, while the internet has disrupted other industries, like travel agents and stock brokers.

“There’s not a shred of evidence that the internet is having an impact,” Murray says.

The internet may have changed how agents work—like in automating several tasks–but it hasn’t taken their jobs, he adds. The number of real estate professionals has increased 60 percent in the past two decades, Murray notes.

It’s the opposite of what so many predicted.

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