Rubber Ducky, You’re the One; You Make Remodeling so Much Fun

Like any good homeowner, you’re always on the lookout for the next premier upgrade for your home. Whether you’re considering aging in place or preparing to sell, it’s typically a positive measure to give your home the love and care it deserves.

When upgrading, it’s essential to acknowledge which rooms are needing a boost. If you’re trying to impress a potential buyer, the bathroom is usually the key.

Bathrooms can make or break the vision of a home – carpeted bathrooms? No way. Bright pink walls? These examples might push the buyer to run for the hills.

So what are some key improvements you can give your bathroom?

According to REALTOR® Magazine, grays, mixed metals, and farmhouse styles are some of the more popular trends that are being remodeled in bathrooms.

Some of the more special features that are popular: dual showers, one-piece toilets, vessel sinks, and built-in vanities.

These homeowners are even looking at more than just the bathroom – viewing their project as a complete renovation within their room – to create a master suite. It looks as though 46% of homeowners that remodel their master bathroom also take on their bedroom, with 11% actually creating their master bathroom to be the same size or even larger than their bedroom.

So, bathrooms are important. Not only for the obvious reasons, but also for creating a luxurious retreat from the stressful world. How does your master bath look?

Check out Alliance’s Blog to stay on top of all things real estate.

Tip of the Week: Some Home Showings Are Worth Melting For

Winter is coming. And with winter, comes darker and colder evenings.

When it is cold outside, open houses might not be as appealing. But it’s important to remember the cozy aspects of the winter season, and how to apply those warm feelings into your showing.

Got Snow?

It’s important to keep driveways and walkways clear. If you have to, shovel the areas so the path to the home is safe to walk on. It might be nice to also shovel the sidewalk and part of the street; this way potential clients aren’t having to walk down the block in snow.

Staging

Like usual, tidy up the space and remove any clutter. This is where you get to make it feel all warm and cozy to really spark up those fuzzy feelings.

Everybody loves holiday scented candles – burn a cinnamon-scented candle or simmer a pot of apple cider with cinnamon sticks on the stove. You could even pass out the cider to clients as they check out the home!

Just because winter is upon us, doesn’t mean your sales have to stagnate. Open houses can be incredibly cozy and inviting during the winter months – you just might have to work a little harder at showcasing it.

Up High, Down Low, Too Slow

The quicker you buy a home, the quicker you are one step closer to retirement.

At least that’s what the independent think-tank, Urban Institute is saying.

The institute released data that has been collected from the years 1968 on – specifically, they were looking at homeowners who turned 60 between the years 2003 to 2015. Half of the adults who bought their first home between the ages of 25 and 34 were not only half of the pool sample, but they also had the greatest amount of wealth in their 60s and close to $150,000 in median home equity.

Let the research also show that just 10 years of home appreciation leaves a lasting impact – a $72,000 difference in median housing wealth between first-time homebuyers in the age range of 25 and 34 versus those who waited longer.

Those who bought their home when they were younger tend to currently be living in more expensive homes in their 60s than those who bought later; these more expensive homes have roughly a home value of $240,000.

While this may be the case, it’s important to remember that millennials are having to deal with more debt by the time they reach 25 than their generational counterparts.

It will be interesting to see if the Urban Institute continues to work with this data in years to come, and what it will mean for future homebuyers.

Tip of the Week: It’s All in the Title

Being a real estate agent means you’re juggling many different talents – a few of them you might recognize: staying on top of emails and phone calls, being a great seller, and maybe the most intimating one, a convincing writer.

While those are only just a few of the many things a real estate agent does, writing real estate listing descriptions can – at times – be the most frustrating. How do you persuade potential homebuyers to click on your listing when it’s crowded among many others that look the same?

It’s important that your listings catch a home-shopper’s attention. Here are some fool-proof tips to help set your descriptions apart from the crowd:

Headline / Title

Future homebuyers are scrolling through endless amounts of listings and titles – you want your headline to pop out from the page and grab their attention.

Keep it short and sweet; five to seven words can be a good goal to keep in mind. Using descriptive and emotional words will resonate with the buyer, and hopefully, evoke some sort of response. Some of the better real estate keywords will fall under aesthetics – exposed brick, frameless shower, subway tile – are all good examples.

Topic Sentence

Don’t dance around what you’re trying to get at here – get straight to the point. A reader will ask, why am I reading this? Why should I continue reading this?

Tell them why they’ll love the house to draw them in. Something like: “This cozy bungalow nestled in the foothills will give you seclusion and peace after your long work day” can evoke both an emotional pull and get them to reading.

Highlight Features

This is where you’ll want to highlight the home’s primary features. Primary features include: number of bedrooms and bathrooms, square footage, lot size, location, recent renovations, and unique characteristics.

Give these features captivating descriptions to have the buyer envision their home memories being built there. Don’t be afraid to use a thesaurus!

Call to Action

At the end of your listing, you’ll want to include an urgent call to action to get the homebuyer to make a move. Give them direction on whom to get in touch with!

Listing descriptions are important – don’t let yours get bogged down with other boring ones.

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Hand in Hand: Technology & Real Estate Agents

Technology might be vastly improving how potential customers search for their future home, but it certainly isn’t replacing real estate agents.

A housing consumer study released by Harris Insights found that 90% of consumers use real estate agents to buy and sell their homes – this is up 5% from the last study in 2014. The study surveyed 1,000 people who had recently bought or sold a home within the past six months.

And although there have been fears of new technology and younger generations (ahem, Millennials) replacing real estate agents, it looks like 91% of purchasers aged 18 to 34 used real estate agents in their transaction. Gen Xers were at 94% in the study, with Baby Boomers falling at 81%.

It seems as though education also plays a role in whether a real estate agent is used. 94% with a college degree reported using a real estate agent, versus those with a high school diploma at 83%.

While real estate agents are still very much in the game, technology is still an important player. 92% of consumers looked at websites to research about real estate agents and homes. Technology seems to be playing the role of researcher and familiarizer, while the real estate agent comes out as the validation in choosing and finalizing their research.

If you’re looking to stay in touch with the latest real estate news, check out Alliance’s blog for more updates.

Meet our Mountain Home, ID Branch

Nestled just under an hour south of Boise, you’ll find Alliance Title’s Mountain Home, ID branch. This team includes an exemplary group of knowledgeable and proficient individuals who are all elated to help you through your next real estate transaction. The Mountain Home team provides consistent, accurate, and professional title and escrow services to their customers.

Each employee has become an invaluable member to Alliance Title and rounds up almost 57+ years of experience to the industry. Alliance’s Mountain Home branch is committed to being an active member of the community and takes pride in being located in Elmore County. The Mountain Home branch has been a constant supporter of the Mountain Home Chamber of Commerce, the Military Affairs Committee, and the Elmore County Board of Realtors. Two of the Mountain Home’s branch team have family members that are active or retired from the United States Airforce.

Alliance’s Mountain Home branch also contributes and participates in the October companywide annual campaign, “Closing the Hunger Gap.” Over the past four years, the Mountain Home branch has been the consistent top contributor to the annual food drive. Given the size of the Alliance Mountain Home team of five, this illustrates the branch’s commitment to their community.

Whether you’re buying or selling a commercial or residential property in Elmore County, the professionals at Alliance Title’s Mountain Home location are excited to help make your next transaction a success!

Alliance Title – Mountain Home
1715 American Legion Blvd
Mountain Home, ID, 83647
208.587.8428

Claws and Effect: Home Showings with Pets

Realtors have to maneuver through many things – low inventory, tricky sales, and overflowing emails – one obstacle that is sometimes forgotten: pets.

Recently, Realtor® Magazine released an article showcasing Cassie Sonnentag, a real estate agent with Century 21, having to fight off a feisty cat while staging a showing.

So what are some quick tips to make sure you have happy sellers, potential buyers, and furry friends?

Fix up the yard

Make sure both the front and the back yards are clean and clear from any holes or pet droppings. If there are any brown or yellow spots in the yard, it might be a good idea to aerate or seed the bare spots – or even replace patches with new sod. Curb appeal is important, after all.

Organize pet supplies

Think about stowing pet beds, litter boxes, leashes, toys, and food bowls away from the showing. It will help declutter and allow potential buyers to visualize the home the way they want to see it.

Crate or pet sit

Consider whether your client has insurance that can cover possible accidents (a dog protecting his home and scratching or biting potential buyers, for instance). Pets are cute and can be distracting – it might be best to have a pet sitter or to crate.

 

Want to stay updated on real estate news and tips? Subscribe to Alliance’s Blog!

Employee Spotlight – Stacy Woods

Stacy Woods has been a Business Development Representative for Alliance Title’s Nampa, ID branch for the past nine years! Stacy is responsible for growing Alliance Title’s business and market share for the Canyon County; she truly enjoys helping new agents grow their network and connecting them with experienced lenders. Stacy appreciates Alliance’s encouragement in her involvement with the community – she is currently sitting as a Chamber Ambassador.

Of the Alliance Core Values, “Integrity” is Stacy’s top choice. She explains, “This core value is one of the many reasons I work for Alliance – they put integrity above and beyond even during the fluctuating market.”

Stacy looks to her family when she needs strength and advice. When asked whom she admires, Stacy’s grandfather comes to mind. She exemplifies that “he taught me honesty and that hard work pays off.” While her grandfather gave her wonderful advice, her husband and daughters give her warmth and light. Stacy has been married to her husband for twenty-four years, and they have two beautiful daughters that they are both extremely proud of. Her oldest is a senior at the University of Idaho, and her youngest is a senior at Homedale High School.

Outside of the office, Stacy enjoys horseback riding, traveling, going to football games, and being with her family.

Stacy’s favorite quote, “The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather, is a lack of will,” by Vince Lombardi, is something she tries to apply in her daily life. Stacy explains, “I like this quote because I have always considered myself the underdog; however, I have always had the will to overcome any obstacles that have gotten in my way.”

Now that you’ve gotten to know Stacy a little more, stop by Alliance Title’s Nampa branch to write them in on your next transaction! Stacy looks forward to helping make your home closing a wonderful and positive process.

 

Stacy Woods – Business Development Rep. III at Alliance Title’s Nampa Branch.
1005 W Sanetta St., 83651
208.465.6600
Stacy_woods@alliancetitle.com

Introducing: Your Team During a Transaction

Buying a home can bring you some serious déjà vu – like an overwhelmed child being introduced and shuffled around to random people at family events.

If you’re a first-time homebuyer, there will probably be some confusion as to who is who and what is what – but set aside your worries, because Alliance Title is here to help you sort out your transaction team (and keep you away from your pinching aunts and head-locking uncles).

Who you’ll be working with

Lender or Mortgage Broker – If you plan on receiving a mortgage loan, working with a lender or mortgage broker is your first step in buying a home. What’s the difference between the two, you ask? Well, a lender is a financial institution that makes loans directly to you. A mortgage broker does not lend money, but actually finds a lender for you.

REALTOR® or Real Estate Agent – A REALTOR® is a real estate agent who is a member of the National Association of REALTORS®, which means that he or she must uphold the standards of the association and its code of ethics.

A Listing Agent is the one who ‘lists’ the property for sale. They represent the seller and aid in marketing the sale of the home.

The Selling Agent (or Buyer’s Agent) is the one who works with the buyer. They assist in locating a home to purchase.  

Title Officer – These officers complete thorough research of recorded documents to help eliminate any possible hidden risks that can terminate the validity of the title ownership. They will also issue the title insurance policy when the transaction closes.

Escrow Officer – This officer acts as a neutral third party during your sale, purchase, or refinance. They will monitor the transaction, prepare closing documents, coordinate the closing, disburse the funds, and more.

So gather round the new family dinner table – you’ll have a great team backing you up as you complete an exciting time in your life – purchasing a home.

Stay in touch with updated real estate and title news by subscribing to Alliance’s blog.

Housing Discrimination’s Trojan Horse: Social Media

Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and Snapchat – distracting you from work and going to bed since 2004.

Social Media can do more than just occupy your day – Facebook has been under fire for sustaining algorithms that conceivably keep certain demographics from seeing particular advertisements.

Lisa Rice, president and CEO of the National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA), spoke at the session “Fair Housing, Social Media, and Equality,” during the Relators® Conference & Expo in Boston on November 1st. Rice explained that “housing discrimination is playing out in the form of hidden online calculations that companies can use to exclude certain populations from viewing residential real estate ads online.”

The NFHA, along with other housing groups, filed a lawsuit earlier in the year against Facebook. While Facebook has, since August, removed more than 5,000 targeting options from its advertising platform, Rice believes that technology still can serve as a tool for discrimination against equal access to housing.

Social media, although offering various platforms for entertainment and enjoyment, can be used unfairly. The NFHA is still working with Facebook to ensure that its housing ad tool complies with the Fair Housing Act.