Palm Beach Real Estate News

One of the reasons many people continue renting is because they believe it’s the easier option. But according to a recent survey, the vast majority of homeowners would disagree.

According to a recent survey from LendingTree, a whopping 67% of homeowners—more than two-thirds—say owning a home is easier than renting. And the best part? It seems as though the longer you own a home, the more likely it is you’ll find it easier than renting (72% of people who have spent seven to nine years in their homes say it’s easier than renting)—and the less likely you’ll ever want to go back to renting (only 7% of people who have owned their home for a decade or more said they wished they could return to renting).

The Takeaway:

If you’re renting a place because you think it’s the easier option, it might be time to look at the data and buy a home of your own—which, as it turns out, may be the easier option after all.

Posted by Heather Smith on September 12th, 2019 12:54 PM

There’s a lot that goes into successfully selling your home, from listing at the right time to hiring the right agent. But there’s one asset you might not have thought of that can make or break your home sale—and that’s the right photos.

recent article in the Washington Post explored the importance of photos in the home selling process, and the results were astounding. The article, which examined data from various real estate sources (including the National Association of Realtors®TruliaRedfin, and real estate photography company VHT), found that 87% of buyers relied on photos to help them make a decision on a home, and 84% of buyers wouldn’t even consider a property that didn’t have listing photos. While any photos are better than no photos at all, the most benefit comes from professional home photos; professionally photographed homes sell 32% faster—and demand a 47% higher asking price per square foot—than listings without professional photos.

The Takeaway:

If you’ve been thinking about listing your home, photos are a non-negotiable. And if you want your home to sell quickly (and profitably!), you should definitely consider hiring a professional photographer to capture the perfect shots.

Posted by Heather Smith on September 6th, 2019 3:08 PM

A real estate transaction can be an exciting thing to experience, but it can also be nerve-wracking and stressful. Your experience will largely depend on the circumstances surrounding your transaction and, perhaps more importantly, the agent you’re working with.

A great agent will not only get you over the finish line to the best of their ability, but they can also change your life for the better. Here are eight ways:

1. They’ll show you they care

In today’s fast-paced world, it seems like everyone’s attention is in short supply. A great real estate agent will show you that’s not always the case, by listening and caring about you and your needs. Not only will being a good listener help an agent do their job, but it’ll also show you that even in business, there are still people out there who care.

2. They can save you a lot of money

There’s an old expression, “If you think it’s expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur.” Hiring a great agent can save you literally thousands of dollars, as the right agent will not only negotiate effectively, but also know what pitfalls to look for as the transaction moves along, saving you money in the process.

3. They can help you see things in a different way

One of the most overlooked aspects of hiring a great agent is just how much of an effect they can have on your perspective. For instance, you might think that you’re looking for something in particular, but a great agent can take what you asked for and find something that’s even better than anything you’ve ever considered. A great agent is like an expert matchmaker.

4. They’ll do more than help you buy or sell a home

A great real estate agent will go above and beyond for you. They’ll help you find contractors, give recommendations on design (if you’re open to them), and even help you navigate the restaurants in your new neighborhood. Great agents provide so much value because they want to be your go-to resource for anything to do with real estate.

5. They can find you something that no one else can

Great real estate agents aren’t necessarily miracle workers, but they’re close. A great agent will surprise you with something no one’s ever thought of before, whether it’s finding a property that you didn’t know about, or a solution to an otherwise complex problem. A great agent is proactive and instead of sitting around waiting, will make things happen for you.

6. They can take a lot of stress away

One of the best things about a great real estate agent is the peace of mind that comes from working with them. There are lots of things that can go wrong during a real estate transaction, and a great agent knows this and will not only anticipate issues ahead of time, but will shoulder the burden and solve problems for you, making it a low-stress experience.

7. They’ll go to battle for you when it counts

The right agent is like a general you can depend on when the going gets tough. From searching for the right property or buyer, to negotiating, to pushing the deal through despite all obstacles standing in the way… a great real estate agent won’t back down from adversity and will battle for your best interests at all times.

8. They can become a friend for life

Maybe your real estate agent is already your friend, but if not, with a great agent you might eventually become one. Real estate is much more about relationships than it is about individual transactions, and great agents know this. They also usually have the kind of infectious personality that you always want to be around. So don’t be afraid to form a lifelong friendship with your real estate agent, it could truly change your life.

via GIPHY

Posted by Heather Smith on August 29th, 2019 12:24 PM

Picture this…

There’s an inexperienced real estate agent in your town.

He hasn’t sold any homes yet.

He wants to drum up some business.

So, he climbs up onto your roof and paints what he estimates to be the value of your home.

He feels like this could be a win-win:

YOU get to know the value of your house, so he was helpful to you, without even having to meet with him…

… and HE gets to show you how that he knows his stuff. Hopefully you’ll turn to him for help once you want to sell your home.

But you’re kind of ticked off, aren’t you?

First off, this guy painted on your roof. That’s just vandalism.

Beyond that, he wasn’t even close to accurate! The value he painted up there is tens of thousands of dollars off.

He didn’t even see inside your home

You notice he did the same thing to all the other houses in the area.

He seems off on the value of all of them.

It’s still kind of intriguing, though, because you’re like, “Hmm, I always felt like Bill’s place was worth less than mine. Looks like I was right. But there’s no way Gary’s house is worth more than mine, that agent is craaaazy. Unless maybe Gary did some major remodeling inside…”

But how would the agent know? He never even went inside your neighbor’s house. Or your house. Or anyone else’s house.

He just eyeballed everyone’s house from outside, and took a quick peek at some data available to the public. Then slapped his estimate up on your roof for everyone to see.

His estimates are all over the place. Some high. Some low. Once in a while he seems to be somewhat in the ballpark.

His “value” affects your actual value

Beside the fact that this guy vandalized your roof, now you have people sizing up the value of your home based upon a number he came up with, without even seeing inside your home.

It was careless and thoughtless.

He lacked respect for your privacy, your equity, and ultimately your wealth. The value of your home can now be viewed by anyone, for whatever reason they feel.

It would be even worse if you were in the middle of trying to sell your home, and now you have buyers pulling up, seeing your painted roof, and considering his estimate when (and if) they make an offer.

Can you imagine if a real estate agent actually did this?!

You’d probably want to report him to the police, his real estate broker, the real estate commission… and all of your friends, family and neighbors.

You’d want everyone to know not to trust this guy, or give him any business.

Online valuation sites are basically doing this to you

You’ve probably seen or heard about websites where you can look up the value of your house (or anyone else’s house) for free.

It seems great because there’s no need to even talk to a real estate agent. Just pop in the address, and voila, you get to see the value of the home.

You might figure that it’s super accurate, since they use fancy algorithms and stuff.

However, these online real estate valuation sites are all basically painting a number on your roof, without ever having gone inside, and without ever having sold a house. And they’re definitely not experts in your local market.

Unfortunately, there isn’t much you can do about it.

They’re using public data to come up with their estimates. They didn’t steal anything. They didn’t actually paint on your roof (they just hover a value over it digitally).

They post disclaimers about their accuracy (or lack thereof), at least if you really, really look for them.

Plus, who would you even report them to anyway?!

Start valuing real estate agents’ values

The thing is, these sites exist because people tend to like them, and look at them. They wouldn’t exist if people didn’t continue to click on them. But people do.

They certainly are convenient, and entertaining, even if they are not accurate.

Many people just don’t want to deal with real estate agents, until and unless they have to. But that’s actually what you should be doing if you want an accurate value of your home.

Great real estate agents take a lot of time and pride in estimating the value of a home. This is not something you can do remotely by simply reviewing public data and algorithms.

In order to be accurate, even a local real estate agent needs to see inside of your home.

So, instead of encouraging these online valuation sites to exist, by visiting their sites and clicking around…

…click on a local real estate agent’s site, and invite him or her in to take a look at your house, and come up with an accurate value.

Don’t rely on an online valuation.

And, whenever possible, spread the word about the inaccuracy of these online valuations because they can affect the perceived value of your home… and beyond. And they will exist as long as people continue to pay them any attention.

Pay attention to real estate agents instead.

Posted by Heather Smith on August 22nd, 2019 2:17 PM
The success of HGTV and the plethora of online information has shifted the ground rules of real estate sales
BY JUNE 16, 2019

Any seller who has not sold a home in the past five years is in for a shock: Everything they thought they knew about selling a home has changed.

Sellers who do not understand the new rules of engagement can easily make costly mistakes and jeopardize their chances of a sale.

3 fundamental changes

These three changes have altered the homebuying and selling landscape forever.

Change 1: The advent of HGTV

Buyers spend countless hours watching HGTV and have developed extremely refined tastes. They know what they want and when they look at homes for sale. They are looking for properties that look similar to what they have seen and liked on TV.

Change 2: The advent of mobile devices and HD internet connectivity

Buyers used to have to visit a home to add or remove it from their short list. No longer the case, today’s sellers have between seven and 10 seconds to sell their home, and those seconds are on a mobile device anywhere on the planet — not in any home for sale.

If a buyer does not like an online listing, they will move on to the next home in a heartbeat and will usually not come back to review.

If they do not like what they see on their device, they will never waste their time visiting in person.

Change 3: The advent of internet real estate sites

Realtor.com, Zillow, Trulia and a host of broker-owned sites have populated the internet with user-friendly websites that provide property data, historical facts, HD pictures, automated valuations, neighborhood and school info, and more.

They have completely removed the need for buyers to visit in person to determine if they like a home. Once a buyer has shortlisted available inventory, they only visit the select few they like.

These three changes have not only revolutionized the way buyers search for and view prospective homes, they have transformed what they buy as well. Historically, there were three groups of buyers:

Top-tier buyers: Willing to pay a premium, this group looked for move-in ready homes that had all the amenities they were looking for.

Middle-tier buyers: Looking for homes in “original” condition, this group hoped to get a decent price and then improve the home over time with sweat equity.

Bottom-tier buyers: This third group were contractors and flippers looking for distressed properties they could buy for 60 percent to 70 percent of retail value.

The middle tier, which historically represented a significant percentage of market sales, is disappearing. More comfortable with tech than construction, today’s buyers are forgoing the middle tier en masse and paying more to obtain move-in-ready homes that look like the finished properties they have seen on HGTV.

This is not simply the consequence of real estate-related technologies. The past few years have seen sweeping societal shifts as homebuyer wannabes, for many reasons, are less willing or even capable of fixing up a home they’ve purchased.

They know exactly what they like when they see it, but have almost no idea how to produce it themselves. The No. 1 question buyers ask about our listings is, “Can we buy the staging?”

With buyers moving away from “original condition” properties they perceive as needing upgrades, homes that appear in the middle tier are being forced down into the bottom tier and need to be priced accordingly. Sellers who do not understand this new reality stand to end up with far less than they imagined.

5 seller myths

With this in mind, here are the top five seller beliefs that are no longer true:

1. I do not need to have the listing agent visit until my home is ready.

Wrong. In reality, the sooner the agent can get in, the better. Sellers, assuming the old rules still apply, might spend money on things that could harm a home’s potential and, conversely, fail to spend money where it matters.

Agents can not only help sellers maximize their potential, but they can also connect them with the trades and other professionals required to do it right.

2. I do not need to upgrade the property for sale.

Since increasing numbers of buyers are looking for move-in ready homes, the more a seller does to get the home to that level, the higher the returns. In an up market, sellers can reap a $2-$3 dollar return for every dollar spent.

In a declining market, they may not get 100 percent back, but they will get a sale. I frequently hear sellers ask, “Why should I upgrade? Won’t the new buyers come in and rip out all the stuff I just put in?”

That is not the right question. A better question is, “What can I do to make my online pictures sizzle to get the highest number of buyers through the front door regardless of what a buyer does once they own the home?”

If a seller can invest $1,000 on carpets and in the process make $3,000, does it matter what the new owner does once they move in?

3. I need open houses to sell my home.

The myth here is that buyers need to visit your home in person to decide whether they like it or not. In the new reality, buyers are visiting because they have already seen the home online and decided it was worth seeing in person.

Open houses simply make it easier for buyers who are already going to visit to actually get in. They also make it easy for the neighbors to come through — which is good because they frequently know someone looking to move into the area.

4. I need many open house signs at multiple key intersections.

Wrong again. Savvy listing agents put out tons of signs because they are free advertising. Buyers who have seen the home online do not need directional signs to find the home. With open houses dates and times syndicating to all the major web portals, buyers simply use the GPS feature in their phones.

As for the neighbors, they will not come because you posted signs at far away intersections. To get them, you want signs close to the open house.

5. If buyers really want my house, they will pay more than market value.

Buyers are not running charities. Due to online AVMs (automated valuation models — think Zestimate), buyers know when a property is overpriced and generally stay away, assuming the seller is unrealistic.

While pricing strategies vary from region to region, most agents know to recommend that sellers price listings close to market realities. As more listings come onto the market, buyers have more choices and migrate toward those they believe represent good values.

Sellers who insist they must net a specific amount, which in turn pushes the price too high, are only kidding themselves.

For sellers who have not sold a home in recent years, the new rules can be a shock. Ironically, since most sellers are also looking to buy a replacement home, all I usually have to do to change their thinking is to ask them how they are personally searching for homes in their new location.

They walk me through their process, and suddenly, in most cases, they get it.

Carl Medford is the CEO of The Medford Team.

Article image credited to Joe Belanger / Shutterstock.com

Article Link: https://www.inman.com/2019/06/16/5-outdated-seller-beliefs-agents-should-debunk/?unl=3b1c675869f2ef8c0f1c4508b3473a6e04514608&utm_source=referral&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=sharedarticle 

Posted by Heather Smith on August 15th, 2019 1:40 PM

Vacation Rental Ownership – Is It For You?

Investment properties used to be homes and multi-family properties used for full time rentals. Over the past decade, we’ve seen a new crop of investment properties emerge, the short term rentals. But what’s involved in owning a vacation rental? Is it worth the work?

A short term rental is a great investment for a number of reasons. In addition to creating annual income for the investor, the property could also appreciate in value during the time of ownership. Although the short term rental is still a rental property, it often pencils out to much higher income than a traditional long term lease does.

Vacation Rentals might seem like a great deal of work, and they can be. The first choice a vacation rental owner will need to make is whether they would like to self-manage or hire a property management company. Many short term rentals are managed by a professional property manager that specializes in the short term market. These managers have people on call to help with arrival, departure, cleaning, repairs and rent collections. While they do charge for their services, a professionally managed vacation rental can provide a nice income stream by building positive reviews.

Of course there are downsides to owning this kind of investment. It’s important to choose the right location to ensure a steady stream of renters. Additionally, one must budget for unexpected repairs or damage. With the deposit being made with a credit card, it can be difficult to collect for damage done to the home.

The Internet has been instrumental in the new vacation economy as peer-to-peer platforms like Airbnb, VRBO and HomeAway offer visitors the ability to interact directly with the owner. By reducing the advertising costs, investor-owners, can negotiate directly with potential renters and screen them to prevent possible problems.

Posted by Heather Smith on August 8th, 2019 1:28 PM

So you’re thinking about selling your home? I realize you didn’t arrive at this decision lightly, and that you might be nervous or scared. There are so many things that are probably going through your head right now. I’d like to help you by offering some advice, and hopefully putting your mind at ease.

First, do some research.

It’s important for you to understand how much money you can expect to get for your home. We need to be realistic. Unfortunately, checking online sites like Zillow or Trulia isn’t going to give you the most accurate picture of your home’s value. This is why it’s important to sit down with a real estate agent that understands the market and will give you a realistic home value estimate by comparing similar properties that have recently sold in your area.

This meme is pretty funny (and rather sarcastic)… but at the same it illustrates a painful reality.

Discuss your situation.

Discussing your situation with a real estate agent will also help you identify any other aspects of the transaction that you might be forgetting. For instance, there might be something glaringly obvious that could get in the way of a smooth home inspection that you might not be considering… or, on the other hand, a unique feature that your home might have which could help maximize its value. Also, discussing the process with an agent will help you understand how much money you can expect to walk away with after the closing.

Considering braving it alone?

If you’re considering selling your home without an agent, remember that you’re doing so at your own risk. There are quite a few things that can go wrong (many of them legal) which an agent is trained and perfectly setup to handle. Also, do you really want to deal with random strangers showing up at random times throughout the day, wondering whether they’re even qualified to buy a house or if they’re just bored and looking for something to do.

Or said a different way…

Let an agent worry about these things; you’ll thank yourself later.

Pick the right agent.

Working with the right person can mean the difference between a smooth transaction and a less-than-memorable experience. How do you pick the right one?

First, make sure you feel comfortable with the person. You might spend a lot of time with them, so it’s important that you have rapport.

Secondly, if the agent is giving you some inconvenient feedback or information, don’t dismiss them. The best agents will tell you the truth because they understand that setting the right expectations is more important than promising you the world.

Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Lastly, ask as many questions as you need to until you feel comfortable with your level of understanding. The right agent will be patient with you, and will understand just how big of a deal this is.

Don’t stress!

This might be easier said than done, but try to keep things in perspective. Your home is probably your most valuable asset, and the most consequential transaction that you’ll ever work on. But people buy and sell their homes every day, and there’s a very comprehensive system in place that helps facilitate those transactions. Your agent will help guide you through the process and will help you feel at ease. Remember, you’re not the first and you won’t be the last person to feel the stress.

Expect the unexpected.

It would be lovely if I could promise you that everything will go perfectly smooth, but it rarely does. Obstacles almost always come up during a real estate transaction, but that doesn’t mean you should pull your hair out worrying. Agents know there will be bumps in the road, and they’ll also know how to get over them and get your home sold with as little stress for you as possible.

So don’t stress, be realistic, find the right agent to help, and remember that small hiccups are just part of the transaction.

And by the way, feel free to give me a call. ??

Posted by Heather Smith on July 31st, 2019 12:33 PM

Summer has traditionally been the best time to sell a home. Not only do many families take advantage of moving when the kids are out of school, but in climates where winter weather is unpredictable or severe, the warmer months make it easier to be away for showings. With more homes on the market, how can you maximize your potential for a great offer among the options? Fortunately, you can take a few steps to ensure your home stands out from the crowd.

Tips for Selling in Summer

  • Control the Climate – The first thing a buyer will notice when they walk into a home is the temperature. If the weather is warm and humid, it’s critical you keep the home cool. A larger air conditioning bill is a small price to pay for a top dollar offer.
  • Let in the Sun – It might be tempting to close the blinds to save money on air conditioning, but bright, sunny rooms are always more appealing; leave enough open to showcase natural light.
  • Extend Outdoors – Today’s lifestyle includes the outdoor areas and more and more homes feature outdoor living and dining areas. Regardless of your home’s features, maximize the impact of your yard with furniture, BBQs and manicured landscaping.
  • Spring Clean – A fresh, decluttered home with a lighter, seasonal color scheme will be visually appealing to your buyers. Replace dark pillows, linen and accents with softer colors which make the rooms seem larger.

The summer selling season is here. Make sure your home is dressed for success. Welcoming outdoor spaces and bright sunny rooms combined with inviting an air conditioned rooms will ensure you get the best possible offer.

Posted by Heather Smith on July 19th, 2019 12:42 PM

Before you list your home, you want to feel confident in the market and the opportunity to sell your property at a competitive price. And in Q2 2019, it looks like that confidence is on the rise.

According to the most recent Homeownership Opportunities and Market Experience (HOME) Survey from the National Association of REALTORS®, nearly ¾ of people—73 percent—believe that now is a good time to sell a home. That’s up from 65 percent last quarter (Q1 2019), a jump of 12 percent. The percentage of people who are strongly optimistic that now is a good time to sell is also on the rise, increasing from 37 percent to 46 percent.

The Takeaway

The jump in optimism points to favorable market conditions for sellers. So if you’ve been thinking about selling your home, now is a great time to make a move.

Posted by Heather Smith on July 12th, 2019 9:01 PM

Summer is upon us and home designers are hard at work showcasing the upcoming trends for 2020. This year, kitchen design shows are filled with new materials, patterns and colors as enthusiasts look for the latest trends and styles.

As we leave the dark granite countertops behind, kitchens are getting lighter, brighter and more streamlined looks. These new backsplashes are design statement pieces in their own right, creating a uniquely modern feel to the space. With a focus on sleek surfaces and natural elements, here are the latest trends for kitchen backsplashes.

  • Mixed materials – layers of stone mix with sleek metal trims or soft wood to create layer upon layer of design.
  • Higher Profiles – the backsplash is no longer a 6” continuation of the countertop. Taller profiles and accent-wall styling are new trends.
  • Bold Patterns – geometric tone-on-tone designs create visual interest.
  • Subway Tiles – after so many of us removed the old white tile of our kitchens, designers are bringing them back in interesting shapes and patterns.
  • Veins – larger granite, quartz or natural stone pieces are used as focal points, adding drama and depth.
  • Backsplash Shelves – one of the latest design trends is to create a ledge or shelf along the top of a high-profile backsplash.
  • Solid Wall – this last trend is eliminating a backsplash entirely and adding a stone “wall” in the kitchen, removing any visual distinction and creating a sleek, clean line.

2020 design trends are contemporary and exciting. After years of cozy kitchens and dark woods, these kitchens are light and bright; mixing soft natural stone and wood with hard, urban features for a modern, functional kitchen that suits any home style. 

Posted by Heather Smith on July 3rd, 2019 1:15 PM