Real Estate Tip of the Week: There’s an App for That

The real estate industry is constantly transforming and changing in lieu of technological advancements – which means as an agent, you need to stay informed on all of the new updates.

Luckily, there are apps that can help separate you from the pack.

Here are some of the best apps you can use as a real estate agent:

Realtor.com®’s Street Peek & Sign Snap Feature

Street Peek allows users to point their phone at homes to have instantaneous property details surface about the home’s you’re currently facing. This allows users to see the information they need to know about homes on any street.

The Sign Snap feature allows users to snap a photo of a For-Sale sign to immediately receive more listing details of a home.

LionDesk

If you have a buyer that is looking to purchase remotely, then LionDesk might be the app to use to showcase potential homes.

This app lets you seamlessly add videos to your emails and text messages – you can upload your own videos or record directly from the app.

LionDesk also offers power dialing and contact management, among other features!

Sideline

If you don’t have the option (or simply don’t want to) to have a separate business phone, the Sideline app might be a good fit for you. This app allows you to connect one phone with multiple phone numbers that can even offer a different ringtone depending on the type of phone call you’ve categorized it as.

Spacio

Don’t you just hate having to deal with all of the paperwork when it comes to open houses? With Spacio, you can create digital forms to accurately collect visitor information and even set up follow-up emails after the open house ends.

 DocuSign

With DocuSign, you won’t have to worry about all being in the same room at the same time – because let’s face it: we’re all busy. This app allows users to sign electronic signatures on disclosures, forms, and closing paperwork without even having to be in the office.

Research which apps might benefit you as a real estate agent!

Inspect the Uninspected – Pre-Listing Inspection for Your Home Sale

Sometimes, the unexpected can be scary – especially if you haven’t kept up with home repairs.

Potential buyers and their agents will be inspecting every inch of your home with a magnifying glass. Instead of crossing your fingers and hoping for the best, why not schedule your own home inspection first?

Yes, it’s true – most sellers just allow the buyers to place the order on a home inspection during escrow. While you’d have to pay for the inspection yourself, if you choose to have one before listing your home (usually anywhere from $350 to $600), it would ultimately pay off in the long run.

Here’s why:

  • After you repair and update the features of your home that the home inspector suggested, you can justify listing your home at a higher price
  • Some states allow your pre-sale home improvement repairs to be deductible from the profit you make after closing
  • Home inspections can help assuage any worries the buyer may have, and it might incentivize  them to put an offer down on your home sooner
  • A pre-listing inspection will allow you to update repairs more leisurely than if you had a seller on the table waiting for your updates to be completed 

However, if you decide to go with a pre-listing inspection, make sure you’re ready to go through with any updates and repairs that need fixing. Sellers are legally obligated to disclose any problems brought forth by inspection.

It’s always best to sit with your real estate agent and go over your plan to sell the home. Discuss a pre-listing inspection with your agent to see if it’s a good fit for you.

Bank of Mom and Dad No Longer Needed for Millennial Homeowners

Just because millennials aren’t using doorbells, doesn’t mean they aren’t buying homes.

It’s true – millennials have been slower to enter the housing market. With lifestyles and finances being vastly different from previous generations, millennials have put homeownership on the backburner.

But as a majority of this generation enters their early 30s, these first-time homebuyers have been the dominate force in real estate.

Last year, Redfin asked U.S. residents how they were going to afford their mortgage – after releasing the same survey again this year, there has been some key differences with how millennials are using their finances.

51% of millennial homebuyers indicated plans to use one or more of the following strategies below to cover their mortgage payments, down from 60% last year:

Do you plan to do any of the following to help you pay your new mortgage? Select any that apply:”

20192018
Work a second job31%29%
Get a roommate/roommates11%14%
My parents or another family member will help10%17%
Rent my home on Airbnb, VRBO10%12%
Co-ownership with someone who is not my spouse7%14%
None of the above49%40%

It looks like just 10% of millennials plan to get help from parents or another family member for their mortgage payment, down from 17% last year.

Redfin Chief Economist, Daryl Fairweather, explains, “Over the last couple of years, millennial household incomes have been rising […] millennials have postponed getting married, having children, and buying a home while they got their careers on track, but now that they are more established in their careers and earning more, I expect to see more millennials buying homes and checking off those major life milestones.”

Real Estate Tip of the Week: Pricing a Home

You’ve got the client – success!

Now, you’ve got to list the home.

If you’re a new real estate agent, this can seem incredibly intimidating. You don’t want to price too high, and you don’t want to price too low – so, how can you list your client’s home right, the first time?

It’s important that you understand your client’s needs before diving into the listing. You should know why they want to move and what their timeline is for moving. Once you understand your client’s motives and wishes, you’ll be able to better serve them.

Before you sit down with your client to go over your listing price, you’ll need to do some research.

Days

You’ll want to do a search of comparable homes in terms of square footage, bedrooms, views, upgrades, amenities, condition of the house, and any other special features. When researching, look at homes currently for sale or that have sold within the last six months in your client’s neighborhood.

Competition

Take a glance at some of the other homes listed in the area. How many homes are going up for sale, what are their price points, and what features do they have to offer?

List-Price Ratio

This ratio portrays the difference between the original listing price and the closing sale price of the home. Again, research the comparable homes in the seller’s neighborhood.

New Construction or Developments

It’s important that you stay current with house trends. You should learn about any new construction financing and/or incentives that might take potential buyers away from your listing.

Ideally, researching should take no longer than three to five days. Be thorough and precise – and make sure you clearly explain to your client your reasons for the listing price.

To Home Improve or Home Maintain?

Throughout our lives, we’ve been taught the difference between wanting versus needing.

Do I need this $4 cup of coffee?

If you do, we’re not telling on you – we promise.

But it looks like a new survey shows that most homeowners are interested in home improvement/remodeling projects more than they are in tackling not so flashy home maintenance projects.

HomeAdvisor found that homeowners spent $3.70 less for every year since a home was built – meaning that an owner of a 50-year-old home would spend an average of $185 less on emergency home maintenance projects per year than an owner of a newer home.

Homeowners are more likely to spend more on home improvement projects rather than home maintenance projects – for every $1 spend on home maintenance, homeowners spent an average of $5 on home improvement projects.

It looks like millennials were the biggest generation to complete home projects in order to increase their home’s value. Baby Boomers and Generation Xers were more inclined to “modernize” their homes.

While room remodels seem to be the more popular home improvement project, owners spent an average of $9,081 on home improvement, maintenance, and emergencies for 2018. Spending on home services has increased 17% in 2018 from 2017.

Many experts strongly recommend saving 1% of your home’s value every year for emergency repairs. A homeowner with a $360,000 home would save $3,600 per year, or $300 per month.

Living Their Best Lives: Who is Purchasing Vacation Homes?

Knock, knock.

Who’s there?

Millennials.

Millennials who?

Millennials who want to purchase vacation homes!

Yes, you heard that right. Most people might think of older homeowners when it comes to owning more than one property, but with Vacasa’s latest survey, experts are a little surprised.

Older millennials and younger Gen Xers are interested in buying vacation homes – younger buyers are more likely to be motived by the idea of owning an investment property, while the older homeowners are looking to purchase a second home for personal use.

The majority of survey respondents stated they would plan to spend less than $400,000 on their purchase; and 75% reported a combined family income of less than $150,000 a year.

When asked where they’d like to purchase another property, most haven’t decided. 31% wanted an urban property, while 30% wanting a beach property – but 65% stated they haven’t picked an exact city for their vacation rental.

If they follow the popular trends for purchasing vacation rentals, the top states are Florida, California, Texas, New York, and Colorado.

Of those who completed the survey, 25% said they are looking to make multiple purchases, with half of them already owning at least one other home.

The real estate industry will have to keep an eye on these generational groups – as vacations and leisure time seem to accompany their preferences of investing.

Real Estate Tip of the Week: Marketing with Emojis

Emojis have essentially become their very own language – whether they’re used through texts, emails, social media posts, or marketing campaigns, emojis are not only fun to use, but can also help get your message across.

With World Emoji Day approaching this Wednesday, July 17th, it might be a good time to brush up on your emoji skills.

Yes, emojis are generally easy to work with, but it’s important that you are still able to connect with your audience the right way.

And there are definitely right and wrong times to send an emoji.

Emojis are entertaining! Not only are they a creative way to connect with your client, but emojis can also portray how much you truly care about their transaction and closing.

A University of Missouri-St. Louis study tested how the “smiley face” emoji was perceived in an email between colleagues versus a social email. They discovered that in both cases, the emoji made the recipient like the sender more and feel as though the sender liked them more.

When to Avoid:

If the appraisal came lower than expected, it probably isn’t a good idea to send an emoji their way. Emojis aren’t necessarily appropriate when there might be a negative moment in the transaction.

It’s also best to not assume all clients will understand or even like your emoji usage. Not all young people use emojis, and not all older generations hate them. Understand their preferred method of communication in the beginning of your relationship. If they prefer texts to emails, that might be a good indicator on whether or not emojis would be safe to use.

Understanding your emojis is also critical to maintaining a good relationship between you and your client. Check out Emojipedia to get the full lowdown on all emojis and their meanings – even if the emoji was created with a specific connotation, audiences might correlate the emoji with their own interpretation. I.e., the “whistling” emoji is mostly depicted as a “kiss”.

When to Use:

After you’ve established that emojis are something your client would possibly like, think about how you’d like to use them.

Emoji’s can act as punctuation. Use an emoji to lead your audience or client to a hyperlink at the end of your text or post.

Think about utilizing emojis as a way to emphasize a statistic or a hyperlink that you want your client to see.

Essentially, emojis are an exciting way to add a little more fun and emotion to your message – but that doesn’t mean you should overdo it. You still want your message to be clear and concise to your audience!

Price Cut: How Long Should You Wait to Lower Your Home Listing?

The million-dollar question in real estate: how long do you wait to drop the price on your home if no one has made an offer?

It can be disheartening to adjust your listing price, but if some time has passed, your real estate agent might suggest it.

ShelterZoom, a blockchain-based real estate platform, released a recent survey that asked home sellers how long they’d wait to lower their initial price.

While these timelines aren’t necessarily suggested (your real estate agent will know when to alter your home price based on the location, region, and style of home), these timelines are what homeowners would contemplate doing on their own.

Out of the 1,000 respondents, 33% claimed they would consider a price reduction after three months – which made this the most common choice.

20% said they would wait one month, while 17% said they would wait for five months. 9% of those who responded stated they could wait an entire year before a price cut.  

12% said they would never lower the price of their home.

Each region, location, and style of home will respond differently to listing changes. It’s best to discuss price with your real estate agent.

While every homeowner has a different goal and path for what they’d like to accomplish in real estate, it’s always important to have a game plan when listing your home.

Google Search for Home Trends

Who hasn’t Googled themselves? We’re all guilty of it at some point!

Google has become the answer to all – it’s even used as the final point when having an argument on Brad Pitt’s age. (Psst… he’s 55, Google says so).

Not only can you search for celebrity ages, but you can also search for home improvement projects or home DIYs.

And look at our luck – Google released a recent survey to find some of the biggest search trends over the past year that current homeowners (or future homeowners) are searching for.

Here’s some of the hottest home trends consumers Googled:

Architecture

  • Ranch Style
  • Tudor Style
  • Craftsman Style
  • Mediterranean Style
  • Modern Style

Living Room

  • 1950s living room
  • Coastal living room
  • 1970s living room
  • Farmhouse living room
  • Victorian living room

Kitchen

  • Outdoor kitchen cabinets
  • Floating shelves
  • Bohemian kitchen
  • Light grey kitchen cabinets
  • Kitchen wallpaper

Garden

  • Enchanted garden
  • DIY raised garden bed
  • Garden pathways
  • Vegetable garden
  • Garden tub

DIY

  • Bathroom shelves
  • Outdoor kitchen
  • Outdoor furniture
  • Murphy Bed
  • Picture frames

Paint Colors

  • Blueprint
  • Nightwatch
  • Liquid Kitty
  • Metropolitan
  • On the Rocks

Furniture

  • Orange leather sofa
  • Emeco navy chair
  • Live edge river table
  • Gold coffee table
  • Friends couch

Commute Got You Down? Homebuyers Forfeit Features for Better Drive Time

It looks like commute times win when having to select the most important factors in choosing a home.

Realtor.com has added a new filter that allows consumers to search through homes for sale based on the commuting distance and time to their work.

About 85% of people in their survey said they would sacrifice on lot size, square footage, and the overall style of the home, if it meant for a shorter commute time.

Let’s face it – commuting can be stressful, and if it can be cut short, then why not compromise on having that spare bedroom?

The average American’s commute has moved up to 26.9 minutes from 26.6 minutes in 2018 from the previous year. This might not seem like a huge jump, but it still added up to two and a half extra hours on the road when compiled over the course of the year.

Realtor.com’s filter search could be the saving grace for homebuyers looking for a home that’s not only within their price range, but also within their commuting time.

Want to know what the average commute time is for the biggest cities? Check it out here.