Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Zestimate Shmestimate

Zestimates are a very popular source for both buyers and sellers alike these days.  I can't tell you how many people quote to me the "Zestimate" of a property they are interested in buying, or their own property that they are selling when trying to determine the price.  And now matter how many ways from Friday I try to explain that these Zestimates are as accurate as my NCAA tournament bracket I put together (by the way, I don't watch football...or basketball;) it seems people still fall back on these for price gauging.  But what is the real scoop about Zestimates and are they really applicable to the real world of real estate here in LA? Well LA Times did an article on this topic and in this article they pointed out that " New York County — Manhattan — the median valuation error rate is 19.9%. In Brooklyn, it's 12.9%. In Somerset County, Md., the rate is an astounding 42%. In some rural counties in California, error rates range as high as 26%. In San Francisco it's 11.6%. With a median home value of $1,000,800 in San Francisco, according to Zillow estimates as of December, a median error rate at this level translates into a price disparity of $116,093."  Read the complete article here
There are just too many factors that can influence the price of a home. If two similar sized homes are on the same street both built around the same time would you assume they are worth the same?  Now lets say home "A" has a lovely golf course outside it's back yard. This home also has a new roof, is completely remodeled with things like wood floors, stone counter tops, top-of-the-line appliances and all new windows, and also has a professional landscape.  Home "B" on the same street, just a little ways down from home "A", is across from a middle school, hasn't ever been remodeled and is complete with older carpeting, older appliances and needs a new roof.  Would you pay the same for both homes? So while Zestimates may be in the ballpark of where prices are, even Zillow clarifies Zestimates by saying "It is not an appraisal. Use it as a starting point to determine a home's value" Not to say that Zillow is not a good site to use...quite the opposite.  It has a ton of helpful information that consumers can use about the real estate market and communities.  It's just not a great place to get the value of a home from.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Top 4 Remodeling Tips To Showcase Your Home

1. When it Comes to Remodeling, The Most Value Will be in the Kitchen

I see it time and time again when I show and sell houses.  The biggest wow factor of remodeling is with the kitchen.  It not only shows very well in the photos (which gets buyers in the door) but it is the most used room of a house so people like to see updated kitchens more than any other room.  And many of my clients when buying homes, have also mentioned that having an updated kitchen it great because it can be the largest expense and hassle, in terms of remodeling, and they would rather have it already done for them when they buy a house. 

2. The Second Best Room to Remodel is the Bathroom

A newly remodeled bathroom can do a world of good when selling your home.  While a 30 year old shower may work as well as a 2 year old one and the faucets of an older sink run water the same as a new one may, people like a clean newer bathroom.  If a bathroom in a home is not only older, but hasn't been well maintained, then people just imagine the germs and dirt in the bathroom and it's a real big turn off. 

3. Give the Front of a House a Face Lift

Sometimes remodeling is really just a face lift.  Try painting or replacing the front door.  Spruce up the shutters with a new coat of paint.  Add some plants to the front porch. Just a few minor changes can really highlight some great curb appeal and curb appeal is very important.

4. Remodel your Back Yard

Yes, I did just say 'remodel' your back yard.  I have seen so many buyers walk through a home with a very unimpressed poker face as they look room to room but then step into a fabulous back yard and then write an offer on a home.  For some people, the size of the back yard is key, but for a lot of people it's all in how the space is being used and the look and feel of it.  Try a Zin back yard with a nice deck, some succulents that need very little water and a nice fountain.  Or build a pergola that adds shade to a bright back yard and decorate that area with an outdoor rug and patio furniture. Or even just adding some great bushes or an herb garden can really tug on the heart strings of someone who loves the outdoors.