7 Mistakes That Could Keep You From Selling Your Home This Winter

Selling a house during winter comes with its own unique challenges. Snow, for one, can bury your home’s best features. Your normally lush landscaping may look drab and lifeless. And truth be told, all you want to do is cozy up at home rather than welcome buyers through your door.

Still, if you’re game to sell during winter, it’s essential that you put on your snow pants and put some effort into making your house shine. To help, here are some classic mistakes to avoid once the temperature drops, and why they can make such a difference. Just avoid making these all-too-common winter-selling fumbles in order to get top dollar.

Mistake No. 1: Setting down the shovel

You cleared off enough of the driveway for your car, but potential buyers won’t be entering through the garage like you do.

“Blazing a path through 3 feet of virgin snow makes a lousy first impression,” says John Engel, a Realtor® with Halstead Properties, in New Canaan, CT.

Don’t put away your snow shovel until you’ve cleared a path to your front door. Or save your poor back by hiring a snow removal company to keep your paths walkable.

“Not only does it make it more inviting for buyers, but it avoids potential safety and liability concerns,” says Massachusetts Realtor John Ternullo.

Mistake No. 2: Giving in to the winter blahs

Gray skies and barren trees make winter a particularly depressing time to sell. But you don’t have to let your home look as doleful as the weather.

“Pops of color by the entryway, like a seasonal wreath and topiaries, can add some interest to the front entrance as well as make it more inviting,” Ternullo says.

And don’t wait until buyers schedule showings to add some life: Colorful curb appeal transforms your listing photos from drab to dramatic.

Mistake No. 4: Not scrubbing your windows

Colder temps have robbed your trees of their leaves, leaving your home to look a bit sadder in winter’s wake. But that’s not the only problem. Those full trees previously shielded your home from direct sunlight. And now that it’s pouring in your windows, potential buyers will be able to see everything. 

Scuffs, fingerprints, and streaks are “never more apparent” than in the wintertime, Engel says, so you should make sure you’re vigilant about keeping windows clean. Alone, that grime might not be enough to turn off a potential buyer, but it might make them wonder what other details you’ve missed.

Mistake No. 5: Displaying outdated summer photos

Your Tudor looks particularly glorious in the summer, but if your only listing photos were taken in April, buyers will immediately suspect a problem.

“Nothing says ‘old, tired listing’ more than the photo you took nine months ago,” Engel says. Talk to your Realtor about taking new photos that make your home look festive and seasonal. Feel free to keep older photos in the listing—your buyers might want to know what the home looks like when the gardens are in full bloom—but updated photos will make your listing seem fresh.

Mistake No. 6: Turning down the heat

Don't give potential buyers a chilly reception.
Don’t give potential buyers a chilly reception.

Olivier Le Moal/iStock

“Frugality is great, but not when you’re trying to sell real estate for top dollar,” says Brian Davis, a real estate investor and co-founder of SparkRental.com.

Turn the heat up before you leave for showings, your utility bill be damned. Stick to 68 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit to keep everyone comfy.

“It will make the house feel homier and more welcoming,” Davis says. “It also gives the impression that the house is energy-efficient and well-insulated.”

Mistake No. 7: Denying access

It’s New Year’s Eve and a buyer wants to stop by. How dare they! Shouldn’t they assume you have a fabulous party to prepare for?

Maybe. But if you want to sell your home in the off-season, the buyer has to come first. You’ll need to work with your Realtor to devise a strategy for squeezing in showings, even in between all of winter’s holiday events and family gatherings.

“While it may be inconvenient, it’s crucial not to deny showings, as that could be a missed opportunity,” Ternullo says. “There may be less buyers compared to spring, but winter buyers tend to be serious.”

Mistake No. 8: Leaving out your draft stoppers

Your hand-knit draft stopper might look adorable snuggled against your door, but it “sends a clear message to buyers,” Davis says. “This house is drafty and loses heat easily.”

Not that you should lie. But every home has hidden problems, and it’s best to let the buyers make their own assessments and discoveries during the inspection period. Don’t leave out little things that could sway their decision.

Source: realtor.com

American History: Massachusetts Home Built in 1647 Is This Week’s Oldest House for Sale

The United States has seen presidents come and go since 1789, but the oldest homes in America have been standing even longer than that.

Only a handful of homes in the nation can claim seniority over the oldest house to hobble onto the market this week. Built centuries ago, in 1647, the residence sits near the Atlantic Ocean in Marshfield, MA, and is one of the oldest homes in Plymouth County.

Updated inside and decorated in a nautical scheme of navy blue with crisp white accents, this old house doesn’t look as if it’s been around for nearly 400 years.

Besides the 17th century abode, there are several other can’t-miss Colonials on this week’s list—two in Bridgewater, MA, alone. There’s also a gorgeously renovated historic home in Charleston, SC, filled with fresh touches that elevate its historic status.

Scroll on down and have a look at all 10 of the oldest homes to land on the market this week.

Price: $659,900
Year built: 1647
Kenelm Winslow House: Lovingly updated, this Colonial sits on just under a half-acre at the end of a cul-de-sac near Rexhame Beach. Besides a plaque denoting its historic status, there’s also a gravestone out front with information on Kenelm Winslow.

The four-bedroom interior includes wide-plank pine floors, six fireplaces, beamed ceilings, built-ins, and a seamless mix of antique and contemporary finishes. The property also has an antique carriage house and storage sheds.

Marshfield, MA
Marshfield, MA

realtor.com

———

Price: $1,550,000
Year built: 1704
The Georgian House: Once frequented by a who’s who of historic figures—including the signers of the Declaration of Independence, according to the listing—this is one of the city’s oldest homes.

The five-bedroom home has its original red pine floors, new bathrooms and kitchen, exposed wood beams, an updated country kitchen, and mudroom. Outside, the garden includes a patio, a wisteria arbor, and mature trees.

Annapolis, MD
Annapolis, MD

realtor.com

———

Price: $750,000
Year built: 1705
Whitman-Rome House: The listing says this four-bedroom home is loosely associated with the poet Walt Whitman, who once lived in the area.

The charming residence has been updated in all the right places. The old wide-pine floors are still there, as are four fireplaces.

Each door on the main floor boasts a unique design. The nearly 2-acre lot also has a three-stall horse barn, so you can saddle up and explore the nearby 800-acre West Hills County Park, with its miles of trails.

Huntington, NY
Huntington, NY

realtor.com

———

Price: $515,000
Year built: 1716
Greek Revival: This 18th-century farmhouse sits on just over an acre. Completely restored in the 1970s by an architect and updated again in 2020, the two-bedroom, 1,722-square-foot home includes a light-filled living room with fireplace, repainted interiors, and a large eat-in kitchen. The basement has a brick floor and workshop, and there’s also a garden shed out back.

Bristol, RI
Bristol, RI

realtor.com

———

Price: $524,900
Year built: 1736
Wood/Crowley House: This charcoal-colored, three-bedroom home sits on nearly 3 wooded acres, and includes professional landscaping, an oversized barn and a garage. The antique home recently received a new roof and insulation, as well as a new water heater.

Bridgewater, MA
Bridgewater, MA

realtor.com

———

Price: $2,000,000
Year built: 1740
Exclusive Charleston: Situated on one of the most historic streets in the city, this beautiful brick three-bedroom home has undergone several recent renovations and upgrades.

Updates include the custom black wooden shutters and copper gutters, a kitchen with a Calacatta Gold marble island, and a private, brick-enclosed garden. The gorgeous interiors are a potent blend of vintage style and modern touches.

Charleston, SC
Charleston, SC

realtor.com

———

Price: $749,000
Year built: 1750
LaBasseur-Martinangle House: This historic four-bedroom home sits close to the water and received a restoration in 2007. Curb appeal is readily apparent, thanks to its covered porch and patio. Awash in airy pastels inside, this dreamy home is a one-of-a-kind antique.

Beaufort, SC
Beaufort, SC

realtor.com

———

Price: $549,000
Year built: 1765
Joseph Hewes House: Bearing the name of one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, who is said to have owned this property, this historic Colonial is just steps from the waterfront, shops, and dining.

After several additions over the years, the handsome home has four bedrooms, a roomy kitchen, and an added closet in the owner’s suite. There are gardens and a storage building in the fenced backyard.

Edenton, NC
Edenton, NC

realtor.com

———

Price: $579,600
Year built: 1760
Red, white and black: Impeccable from the exterior, thanks to its lovely lawn and bright-red front door, this Colonial has been updated throughout.

Highlights of the five-bedroom home include the sunny kitchen, four-season sunroom, wide-plank pine floors, and beehive oven. Outside, the 2-acre property has an in-ground pool, a barn with stables, plus a one-bedroom apartment with kitchenette and living room.

Bridgewater, MA
Bridgewater, MA

realtor.com

———

Price: $239,900
Year built: 1770
Post and beam: This old farmhouse was restored to create a gorgeous, modern family home with character to spare.

Beamed ceilings, wood floors, and a stone fireplace are just a few of the vintage touches. A new kitchen, modern bathrooms, and updated systems have given this old three-bedroom house new life. The surrounding acreage is filled with fruit trees, raspberry bushes, a patio, and a small horse barn.

Warrensburg, NY
Warrensburg, NY

realtor.com

Source: realtor.com

These Are the Top Reasons Home Buyers Haven’t Been Successful Lately

Posted on February 1st, 2021

In case you haven’t been paying attention, the housing market is en fuego. This is actually nothing new.

It’s been pretty red hot for years now, and home prices have risen consistently for about a decade since they bottomed around 2012.

But amazingly, the housing market has become even more competitive lately, despite us being in the midst of a worldwide pandemic.

I already explained that the 2021 housing market is akin to the toilet paper shortage, with too many buyers and not enough sellers.

This is why 2021 home prices will be roughly 10% higher than they were toward the end of 2020.

It also tells me you need to bring your ‘A’ game (and then some) if you want to be successful in winning a bid on a property.

You Better Be Ready If You’re in the Market to Buy

pending sales

  • New for-sale listings fell 12% from a year ago, the largest decline since May
  • Active listings declined 35% from 2020 to reach a new all-time record low
  • 43% of homes had an accepted offer within the first 2 weeks, up from 35% a year ago
  • Last week that number hit 55%, the highest point since at least 2012 (when Redfin began tracking such data)

Just when you thought real estate was cooling off, it got even hotter. Don’t believe me? Check out the latest data from real estate brokerage Redfin.

The company noted that new for-sale listings fell 12% from a year ago, the largest decline since May.

Meanwhile, active listings, which are the total number of homes listed for sale at any point during a given period, slipped 35% from levels seen in 2020 to reach a record low.

This supply issue resulted in nearly half (43%) of homes receiving an accepted offer within the first 2 weeks on the market, up from 35% a year ago.

And that number hit a staggering 55% during the week ending January 24th, which shows it’s only accelerating.

Prospective Buyers Are No Longer in the Planning Phase

planning

In another report from the National Association of Home Builders (the Q4 Housing Trends Report), they found that 56% of prospective buyers have exited the planning stage and are now actively attempting to purchase a home.

That number is up from 43% in the fourth quarter of 2019, and reflects a climate filled with more serious buyers, as opposed to lookie loos.

The NAHB said this is being driven by a mixture of record low mortgage rates, COVID-19, and the fear of missing out (FOMO).

Remember, we’ve just entered February. The traditionally hot housing market doesn’t begin to reveal itself until March and April. I can only imagine what that will be like.

In other words, this situation is only going to get worse as 2021 rolls on, so you better be ready if and when you find a house you like because your competition will be…

FYI, don’t buy a house because you don’t want to miss out.

Why Prospective Home Buyers Aren’t Winning

missing out

  • The most common issue is being outbid on a property
  • Which replaced the inability to find an affordable home
  • Another common gripe is finding a home in a desirable neighborhood
  • Or locating a property that has the desired features/amenities

The NAHB report also looked at why prospective home buyers aren’t closing the deal, and after years of its being an affordability issue, it’s now a matter of being outbid.

While bidding wars aren’t new, and certainly ebb and flow over time, they appear to be gaining traction again.

As you can see from the chart above, there are four main issues that have kept active home buyers from landing a property.

They include housing affordability, features/amenities, desired neighborhood, and getting outbid.

For the first time in the NAHB’s series history, getting outbid was the number one reason a long-time searcher hasn’t made a home purchase.

It usurped the “inability to find an affordably-priced home,” which had long been the issue for most prospects.

Interestingly, home buyers are less burdened by affordability and more held back by higher bids from their competition.

Of course, you could argue they are somewhat one in the same, with a higher bid possibly reflecting a price that becomes too far out of reach.

However, it further illustrates just how strong the seller’s market has become yet again.

There were some periods over the past few years where buyers had the upper hand, but it appears those days are numbered, at least for the foreseeable future.

Prepare for War (of the Bidding Variety)

  • You have to be pre-approved for a home loan (no ifs, ands, or buts), you won’t even get into a showing
  • Expect to provide your “best and final” offer right off the bat
  • Don’t be surprised if you’re outbid, but also don’t expect home prices to get any cheaper this year
  • Consider properties that aren’t picture-perfect which could offer value and help you avoid a bidding war

If you’re a buyer, you need to get your ducks in a row, now more than ever.

At a minimum, this means being pre-approved for a mortgage, having assets set aside for down payment and closing costs, and being ready to make an offer at a moment’s notice.

Oh, and if you’re currently a homeowner, how to get rid of that property without it being contingent.

If you’re worried about affordability, it’s likely only going to get worse, whether it’s higher mortgage rates or even more expensive home prices.

Remember, they’re forecast to rise another 10% by November nationally. As far as interest rates go, the 2021 mortgage rate forecast calls for mostly higher rates, or flat at best.

With regard to the features/amenities issue, the NAHB noted that 41% of buyers in the fourth quarter of 2020 were considering a newly-built home, more than double the 19% share a year earlier.

Generally, new homes have all the latest features a home buyer could want, and/or they can be paid add-ons depending on the builder.

The tradeoff is typically a home in a subdivision that isn’t as centrally located, so you might get the home you want, but not the neighborhood.

If you must have the neighborhood, home renovation isn’t as daunting as it looks, assuming we’re just talking about new paint, flooring, appliances, curb appeal, etc.

Because the market is so competitive, it might be better to look at the homes that aren’t staged to perfection, but have potential.

These diamonds in the rough good could offer a discount, or at least help you avoid a bidding war.

Read more: 2021 Home Buying Tips to Help You Seal the Deal

Source: thetruthaboutmortgage.com

How to Keep Common Summer Pests Away from Your Home

If you’re spending more time outdoors, then you’re probably not alone. Here are some easy tricks and natural hacks to get rid of those unwanted summer pests.

The post How to Keep Common Summer Pests Away from Your Home appeared first on Homes.com.

Source: homes.com