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If you are selling your home during the fall, it is important to keep its exterior well-maintained and create a welcoming, cozy atmosphere indoors. Here are some ways to ensure your home appeals to as many prospective buyers as possible.

Yard Work
Mow your lawn and remove leaves and debris. Weed, get rid of dead flowers and trim back all branches and foliage so that everything looks neat, clipped and in keeping with the season. Give your flower beds a splash of color by adding some plants that flower in the fall, such as chrysanthemums, coneflowers, and salvias.

A Perfect Porch
Place seasonal flowers in large pots on both sides of your front door. Give your front door a fresh coat of paint and hang up a wreath made from seasonal flowers and foliage. This will provide the perfect finishing touch for your entrance area.

Exterior Excellence
Is your home exterior clean and free from paint chips or does it need to be pressure-washed and re-painted? Make sure the windows are clean. Do not forget to remove leaves, foliage and other wind-blown material from your gutters on a regular basis.

Inviting Interior
Remove clutter from all surfaces each day and keep as many personal items as possible out of sight. This can be a challenge now that the children have gone back to school, so ensure that they put away their school work, backpacks, and other school-related items each evening.

Holiday Decor
Don't let Holiday decorations overpower your home. Prospective buyers may find it hard to look beyond the decorations and see your home's true features and advantages. 

Keep It Cozy
Create a warm, cozy atmosphere that will encourage people to fall in love with your home. Adjust the temperature on your thermostat before each viewing to ensure that your home is comfortable and welcoming.

Add Some Warmth
Another way to create an inviting atmosphere is to add touches of warmth to each room. Place a fleecy throw on the arm of a comfortable chair, pile sumptuous pillows on your bed, and display fluffy towels in the bathroom.

Seasonal Decorations
Add some well-chosen seasonal decorations, such as a small basket of pine cones, long twigs in a terracotta vase, or a bowl of cinnamon-spiced potpourri.

Smells Like Fall
Do not neglect the scent of your home. Air fresheners and scented candles in such fragrances as apple, cinnamon, and vanilla will give your home an appealing atmosphere

5th Annual Clearwater Beach Chalk Walk Oct 21-23

by Tom Smith Team

The Clearwater Beach Chamber of Commerce is proud to bring Beach Walk Chalk Walk, an exciting Chalk Art Festival event to Clearwater Beach.  This event is a collaboration of our Chalk Art Festival Committee and community minded art lovers.  Now in our fifth year bringing in local and regional artists, students, and artist groups to participate, the Clearwater Beach Chamber teams up with the City of Clearwater & generous sponsors to promote, celebrate, and engage the community in this artful event!  As a Not-For-Profit Business, through selfless sponsorships are we able to raise prize money, supplies and other support for this event.  We proudly enjoy promoting this family friendly event while encouraging the artists to create their masterpieces, transforming Beach Walk into an unique and one-of-a-kind open air gallery.

For more information, please visit http://www.clearwaterbeachchalkwalk.com/

Armed with a few important facts about your local real estate market, you will be prepared to make smart decisions about the sale of your house. The phrase All real estate is local accurately describes how to think about your individual circumstances. National trends in real estate do not necessarily reflect what is happening in your town, city, or region. Here are five local real estate factors you need to understand so your expectations for a home sale are realistic:

1. Know Your Market.
It is a seller's market when there are a lot of buyers and limited housing inventory. One indicator of a seller's market is how long properties stay on the market, which is referred to as Days on Market. In a seller's market, houses sell more quickly—often with aggressive pricing. Some markets have multiple offers on in-demand houses. In a buyer's market there are many houses for sale and buyers have a lot of choices. Each house is competing for a more limited number of buyers. Sellers have to be willing to negotiate either on price or home improvements. Know which market you are in.

2. Price It Right.
Pricing dynamics for your house depend on a number of local factors. Know how active your price range is in today's market. All markets have busy price ranges, so know if your house fits into a busy range. Houses in these price ranges have the largest pool of buyers. However, your house competes with other houses of a similar price. Lower and higher price ranges have different dynamics. Whatever the price range, make sure your house meets the expectations of buyers. Go to open houses for similarly priced houses and see what these houses look like inside and out. Does yours stack up?

3. Consider Your Time Frame.
The shorter your time frame, the more flexible you may need to be on price and terms. If you are not constrained by a schedule, you can be patient for the right buyer and the right price. The first two weeks on the market will tell you whether you have the house priced correctly. Most active buyers will scour for new listings that meet their needs and attend the first open houses or make an appointment through their broker. If initial open houses do not draw a reasonable number of people, and there are few appointments to see the house, you need to evaluate the price. Act quickly. Lowering the price will generate new interest, new buyers, or previous buyers who passed on the house the first time.

4. Condition Matters.
You may have the right number of bedrooms and baths, but if it is apparent that work needs to be done—either upgrading inside or improving the outside— buyers will look for better quality. In many markets, buyers are looking for a turn-key house that is move-in ready. Consider what improvements you need to make or make sure the price reflects what work needs to be done. Most people will overlook minor repairs if the kitchens and baths are updated to today's standards. Know what buyer expectations are in your market and reflect these expectations in condition and price.

5. Showing Your House.
There are a few basics that sellers need to embrace. Once a house goes on the market, it is a house for sale and no longer your home. Eliminate extra furniture and décor. Make each room as spacious and bright as possible. People walking through your house are deciding how their furniture and lifestyle would fit. The less they comment about your décor, the more time they are thinking about living there. It's a good idea to leave when there are people touring your house. When owners are present, buyers spend less time in the house and will not have a productive discussion about likes and dislikes.

When you decide to sell your house, it is important to be well informed about the local market and current buyer expectations. Take the emotion out of the process. Be realistic about price and know what you need to do to get the best return on your home investment.

Four Ways to Successfully Decorate with Gray

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There's a reason interior designers love the color gray: a gray palette offers everything from off-white to barely black and is markedly more flexible than color. It's not just about walls either. Upholstery, furniture, and linens add texture to an otherwise uninteresting room. Here are four ways to make the most of the color gray:

1. Main-Neutral Grays
For a space to relax in, paint walls or recesses in a pale neutral-gray tone that reflects the light. Pair with a crisp white ceiling and woodwork for a room that feels open, airy, and pleasant. For something bolder, add some bright colors. Gray plays well with cool contrasts—everything from ice blue to turquoise, straw to taupe, citrus to saffron—so be brave.
 
2. Industrial Cool
Modern steel kitchen fittings and appliances lend themselves to cool urban gray. Pale glossy cabinets give a modern, edgy look—set against stark white walls and tiles for a professional feel. Outside the kitchen, neutral-gray trim adds urban, industrial cool to an open-plan scheme. Keep the walls white to stop the paintwork from feeling too heavy.

3. Scandinavian Style
Pale smoky gray is a good color for Scandinavian style. Cobblestone colors, with silver-blue undertones, provide the perfect backdrop to natural wood—the traditional Scandinavian style is uncluttered with open spaces. Keep your wood as pale as the walls for an airy and relaxed feel.

4. Light and Dusk
Light plays with the various undertones in the gray palette, changing the look of your room over the course of a day. Pale gray often reads white in the day, turning a softer blue green as dusk falls. Take control of the color transitions by adding more than one source of light. Sconces and lamps in strategic positions emphasize the complex gray hues that an overhead light might miss.

Welcome home to the Tuscany styled Bella Rosa on beautiful Sand Key Beach! Enjoy spectacular sunsets over the azure waters of the Gulf in the evening and watch dolphin frolic by day from your large private balcony. Spacious unit boasts 3 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms with a split floor plan. The master opens onto the balcony and has his and her walk-in closets, dual sinks in a corian vanity, separate large shower and jetted garden tub. The other two bedrooms each have a full bath and wonderful views of the Clearwater Bay. Carpeting in the bedrooms and upgraded tile grace the living areas. The open plan features large kitchen with custom maple cabinets, granite counter tops, center island, large breakfast bar and plenty of cabinet storage. Separate full size laundry room adds value and convenience. Bella Rosa was constructed in 2004 and is one of the last condos to be built on Sand Key. The building is designed for privacy with 4 units per floor and the elevators are situated so that 2 units share each floor's elevator lobby. Amenities include a fitness room, tennis court, beach side heated pool and spa, under building parking and secure building access. Furniture is negotiable and beach side cabana can be purchased separately. Welcome to paradise!!!

3 Bedrooms - 3 Baths - 2,381sf - SEE VIRTUAL TOUR with INTERACTIVE FLOOR PLAN

Eight Tips for Being a Good Neighbor

by Tom Smith Team

You've bought a house and you can't wait to move in. It's a perfect space for you and your family, and you're looking forward to beginning this new stage of your life. Well, there's one aspect of that new house and that new stage that you should consider—your neighbors. Here are eight ways to promote good neighborly relations:
 
1. Break the Ice Early. Look for an opportunity to introduce yourself soon after you move in, before anything happens that sets a negative tone. Shake hands over the fence or stroll over to chat if you see someone working in their yard. Tell them a little bit about yourself and your family and ask for friendly tips on the neighborhood.

2. Keep Garbage under Control. Make sure that your garbage is properly disposed of in secure cans in a tidy area beside your house prior to collection day. Then, when collection day arrives, put out your garbage for pickup in an orderly way and in a timely manner (not too early).

3. Maintain Your Yard. Whether it's covered by green grass or something more creative (like a garden or an arrangement of stones), ensure that your yard is well maintained and aesthetically pleasing. You should also prune any vegetation that crosses the property line. Tree branches and shrubs should not spill over into your neighbor's yard. Remember, your front yard is your calling card. More importantly, two or three poorly maintained front yards may affect property values in the neighborhood.  

4. Give Advance Warning of Noisy Events. If you are planning a party, a renovation to the exterior of your house, or any other noisy or disruptive activity, give your neighbors a heads up. Let them know what's happening and when, and tell them to contact you if they are unduly inconvenienced by the activity.
 
5. Park with Care. Be sure not to block your neighbor's driveway or park too close to the property line. If you are having a gathering at your house and your guests' cars will be filling most of the available spots along the street, let your neighbors know so they can plan accordingly.

6. Monitor Your Pet(s). If your dog is difficult to control, keep it on a leash at all times, especially when walking the animal past your neighbors' lawns. Make sure to clean up after your pet. And listen for obnoxious yelps—don't leave a dog barking in your backyard for hours.
 
7. Maintain Quiet Near Shared Walls. If you live in a town house, or any other dwelling that shares a wall with another home, think about the sounds that may be transmitted through the wall, including the bass of a stereo and the vibrations of an appliance.
 
8. Monitor Suspicious Activity.
Whether or not you are part of an organized network (such as neighborhood watch), be alert to the possibility of illegal activity in the neighborhood. If you see something suspicious, notify your neighbor(s) and the police immediately.

A quick internet search will reveal dozens of Automated Valuation Modeling (AVM) sites that promise to tell you how much your home is worth. These AVMs use statistical modeling techniques that "value" your home by comparing it with the price of similar-sized homes that have recently sold in your area. Using proprietary software, AVMs crunch publicly-available numbers from the multiple listings service and combine this with regional pricing trends to set a sale price for your home. Enter an address, and up pops a value. So why does anyone need a real estate agent?

Because AVMs Get It Wrong
Most AVMs admit that valuations may be out by as much as five percent. In fact, a recent study by Standard and Poor found inaccuracies of up to 20 percent, meaning that anyone relying on an AVM valuation could be seriously under- or overpricing their home. Old data accounts for some of the error. Because AVMs rely on public sales data, there can be a two or three month time lag between a sale closing and the data hitting the AVM. In a fast moving market, the time delay dangerously distorts the price.

What's more, AVMs do not take into account the condition of your property, nor the condition of the comparable properties that make up its data stock. The fact is, no two homes are alike. Statistical modeling does not account for your home's inlaid marble floors or state-of-the-art kitchen, just as it doesn't account for half the homes on a block standing empty and in foreclosure. Software cannot see these things, so assumes that every home is in average condition. This does not reflect reality, so the valuation comes out wrong.

Missing Links
A great deal of information determines the valuation range for your home. Market data is one piece of information. Others are property-specific, such as whether your basement is damp or you've had new hardwood floors installed. Others still relate to the neighborhood and its characteristics, such as transport links, local shopping and recreation facilities and zoning restrictions. AVMs simply don't have access to this information.

The Alternative - A Comparative Market Analysis
Real estate agents are trained to prepare a comparative market analysis, or CMA, for every home listed for sale. This involves a physical inspection of the subject property and local knowledge, which combine to give a valuation range. Note the word "range:" CMAs do not, as some people expect, ascribe a single sales price to a property. Rather, they specify the range of prices that the property could achieve on sale, depending on how quickly the seller wants to achieve that sale and other factors.

Preparing a CMA is an art, not a science. There's no one-size-fits all. Quality CMAs require thorough knowledge of the dynamics of property sales in a specific neighborhood. The agent makes judgments based on his / her understanding of the local market and the dozens of peculiarities that affect price, such as lot size, lot orientation, tax assessed value, features of the lot, including its terrain, access and privacy, improvements and additions, condition, quality and age. For example, your agent may know that an overextended home, the appearance of which is out of step with the neighborhood, will likely sell at a discount: an AVM will count only its square footage, and come up with a valuation that's too high.

Every home is unique and must be valued accordingly. Get it wrong, and you risk deterring buyers, or not getting the money you deserve on a sale.

Displaying blog entries 1-7 of 7

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Tom Smith Team
Coastal Properties Group International
423 Mandalay Ave., #102
Clearwater Beach FL 33767
(727) 776-3375