Home trends for 2010? Smaller and more energy-efficient homes. In the past, lots of square footage was most important, but now buyers are looking for a well-designed, energy-efficient home. Members of the National Association of Home Builders were recently given a list of 40 home features and asked to rank which they were likely to include in their new homes and which they weren’t. Results –
|Features Home Builders Plan to Use in 2010
||Features Home Builders Don’t Plan to Use in 2010
|1. Walk-in Closet in Master Bedroom
||1. Outdoor Kitchens
|2. Separate Laundry Room
||2. Outdoor Fireplace
|3. Insulated Front Door
||3. Sun Room
|4. Great Room
||4. Butler’s Pantry
|5. Low-E Windows
||5. Media Room
|6. Linen Closet
||6. Desk in Kitchen
|7. Programmable Thermostat
||7. Two-story Foyer
|8. Energy-Efficient Appliances and Lighting
||8. 8-ft Ceiling on First Floor
|9. Separate Shower and Tub in Master Bedroom
||9. Multiple Shower Heads in Master
|10.Nine-Foot Ceilings on First Floor
On buyer’s list of preferences this year? Low flow toilets, stainless steel appliances, darker “expresso” cabinets, distressed wood flooring, and little, if any wall-to-wall carpet.
Home Sellers in the current Austin real estate market are having to face the reality of a market that’s great for buyers, but difficult for sellers. Homes are selling, but the sales prices are lower than in previous years. I’m in the unique position of being a Realtor® and selling my own home so I can relate to the challenges my clients are facing.
The things I recently accepted about my own selling situation were: improvements I put in weren’t valued as much as I thought they were going to be; I was not going to realize the profit anticipated when I bought the home; and recent sales in the neighborhood indicated a down-shifting market so my sales price had to be in line with comparable properties.
For me, and any home seller right now, ignoring the following facts will only add to your stress of selling and will probably delay getting it sold.
- First, I had to wrap my mind around the fact that it’s a buyer’s market which means, quite simply, there’s a surplus of homes on the market and the best-priced home is going to get sold.
- Second, the improvements and features that I put into the home don’t necessarily bring any increase in sales price in this market. Unfortunately, potential buyers may not value custom tile or landscaping as much as you do; however, the good news is that more amenities and features in a home can lead to a quicker sale and help your home stand out from the competition.
- Third, no amount of Staging will guarantee you the sales price you want. I’m an ardent practitioner of Staging and Feng Shui Real Estate. Using these techniques will help you sell your home and distance it from the competition, but they won’t help much if your home is over-priced.
- Fourth, if you decide to accept an offer lower than what you had hoped for, don’t think of the buyer as the enemy. Try to work all issues out amicably and don’t make it a war. Be grateful for the offer and that you are selling your home in this market and create a transaction grounded on goodwill.
- If you hire a Realtor® to sell your home, follow the advice given. Don’t confer with neighbor’s, coworkers, relatives, or anyone else that isn’t an active Realtor® in the current market in Austin, Texas. The fewer opinions you have flowing into your stream of thought the better.
A previous client hired my company to sell her home. I meticulously staged it, marketed it, and gave her my recommendations for the listing price. She didn’t follow my price recommendation, her mother rearranged all my staging, and she conferred with everyone she knew about what to do to sell her house – which ultimately made her fearful to take any action. After 100 days (the longest time it’s ever taken for me to sell a house), we received a workable offer and the house sold. But what could have been a relatively easy process turned into daily stress for over three months with the end result no better than if all that second-guessing had not been done.
Our home’s been on the market now for 23 days. We’ve had five showings – less than we expected – but since our home is located in Southwest Austin, things are not as “hot” as central Austin. We’re following the advice that we’ve been giving clients for years:
1- Price your home competitively and be ready to lower the price. There is no stigma attached to lowering the price of your home – as long as you do it without much fanfare. Make sure to get comments from Realtors® and buyers about the price and any improvements you can make and adjust the price within 10-14 days if this is what the initial feedback says. And keep adjusting the price every 3 to 4 weeks if you want to sell.
2- Use Feng Shui Staging to ensure your house feels comfortable, attractive, and welcoming. I’m using every Feng Shui staging technique I’ve been taught to ensure that people have a terrific experience when they view our home. See if the photos above and below translate into a comfortable, inviting experience for you.
3- Engage all of the buyer’s senses. I play soft relaxing music, set out snacks and bottled water, spritz the house with a quality air freshener such as cinnamon/ylang-ylang or bake a refrigerated pastry, clean the house well and ensure every detail (down to the crease in the bed-skirt) is in order, place stuffed animals on the bed, soft pillows on the couch, and whimsical accessories here-and-there for people to pick up out of curiosity.
And probably the most important advice we’ve had to take for ourselves– Disengage from all the things you love about the house and think SHOULD be valuable in a buyer’s eyes and instead look at what John and Sue buyer feel is important — price, location, neighborhood, and how it suits their family, not yours!