Home Staging- Is It REALLY Worth It? [Video]

Home Staging- Is It REALLY Worth It? [Video]

  Short Answer: Yes It Is.  Long Answer: It Really Depends.   So you’ve decided to sell, and are getting ready to put your home up on the market- fantastic news.  You’ve found an agent, made all the necessary repairs… but there’s just one problem: the house is empty. Is that actually a problem?  That really depends.  As real estate appraisers, we look at a wide variety of homes every day- some completely furnished, some completely empty.  We were curious as to how staged houses– or vacant homes on the market that have been made-up to look like they’re currently lived in- fare on the market in comparison to empty homes, regardless of their age or condition. We spent some time searching for recent sales of both staged and non-staged homes, and were a little bit surprised by our results:         When it comes down to it, a fully staged home will sell for around the same price as one with similar features in the same market area- but it will certainly sell faster.         Jonathan Montgomery Founder and President of the The Real Estate Appraisal Group.  He has been a real estate professional since 1998. He’s been a broker, and investor, and now serves as an appraiser.  He currently works as an appraiser, doing real estate appraisals in Washington D.C., Southern Maryland, and Northern Virginia. #treagroup...
How Technology is Changing Real Estate: Don’t Be Left Behind

How Technology is Changing Real Estate: Don’t Be Left Behind

Technology changes everything, and real estate is no exception.   Since the dawn of the 21st century, the real estate world has been making huge strides in embracing the potential convenience that modern-day electronics have to offer.  What previously took a calculator and a half-hour’s worth of work can now be taken care of with a single click, along with so much more.  Things like reading the newspaper for real estate listings or searching a neighborhood for “for sale” sign are almost entirely a thing of the past (although you still might find that one great deal that wasn’t listed online). Here are a few of the biggest technological game-changers in the real estate world:     It’s a bird!  It’s a plane!  No, it’s neither.  Since late 2014, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has been becoming more and more lenient on commercial-use of remote controlled unmanned aircraft, or aerial drones.  While it’s not yet outright legal to use drones for commercial use,  differnet states have been granting permissions to different businesses all over the country to take to the skies. Amazon has been working on delivering packages, Dominos has been working on delivering pizzas, and the real estate world has been working on taking high-quality aerial photographs and videos of properties headed for the market.  For rural or farmland properties with lots of acreage, the ability to tour a 4-acre property at your finger tips is a huge gamechanger.   Soon enough, this will become the industry standard for showing off larger properties with ease. Higher-end models of these drones able to fly stable enough for video at the proper distance...
7 Ways to Get Your House Ready For The Autumn Market

7 Ways to Get Your House Ready For The Autumn Market

  Autumn truly is a beautiful season.  The changing leaves paint a beautiful picture across the treetops; and lots of people go on walks or drives in their neighborhood specifically to enjoy the gorgeous blend of colors.  Eventually though, these leaves will start to fall- leaving the trees barren and every house in the neighborhood with both gutters and a yard full of leaves. Fall and winter problems don’t end there- to truly prepare a home for the dropping temperatures and the lead-in to winter, there are a lot of home maintenance tasks to take care of that can prevent serious problems down the road.   Here are a few essential tips to truly keep a home market-worthy as the leaves start to fall:       Keep the yard raked.  This one is obvious.  Leaves covering the surface of your lawn over time will keep what little daylight is left from reaching your yard, resulting in brown grass earlier than you would expect.  Autumn is also a great time to aerate your lawn to get more moisture into your roots.  If you want nicer grass outside, this is your last chance before the winter.     It’s important to keep downspouts and gutters unblocked by debris.   It is tedious, but it’s time to break out the ladder and gloves and get your hands dirty.  If your property rests under a larger canopy of trees, installing a gutter guard may be a valid option.     Take a good long look at the roof.  Shingles may need to be replaced if they are curling or crackling- and if there is...
Autumn Leaves Will Fall, But The Real Estate Market Will Not- Here’s Why

Autumn Leaves Will Fall, But The Real Estate Market Will Not- Here’s Why

Just because autumn is right around the corner doesn’t mean you need to give up on selling your home just yet.  Spring and Summer are always the busiest seasons, but that doesn’t mean sales grind to a halt every other day of the year. Of course browsing between each real estate open house is much easier in a summer dress or a pair or shorts, but there are in fact very real buyers still browsing around between Labor Day and Christmas.  While a bit of the family market may be dropping off as they’ve all settled in before the new school season began, times have changed- the market doesn’t religiously follow this formula anymore.  Singles, first-time millennials, and others are all still out there looking to buy- and they’re just not doing it driving from street to street anymore.   Most People Shop For Homes Today in the Palm of their Hand.   The internet’s made it easy enough to that we can search for the home we want without even lifting a finger- okay, well maybe lifting one finger- but that’s it.  Websites like Redfin and Zillow are now letting their customers shop for homes in 3D, able to take a virtual tour of the floorplan of select properties, making just that much easier to explore a home without getting up out of your seat. Even more, the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) is starting to approve unmanned flying drones for commercial use in real estate to take aerial photographs and videos to of a property, making even MORE easier to see an entire property without getting up.  Soon enough, everyone...
When Can You Call It A Finished Basement?

When Can You Call It A Finished Basement?

As real estate appraisers, we get questions about basements all the time- but just the other day, we were asked what is required for a basement to be considered a finished basement.  After a little searching, we found all sorts of DIY guides and forms across the net, but no definitive post or webpage answering this question.   We already know that basement space is not included in a properties Gross Living Area.  This begs the question,  “Well what is included?”  The parameters for above-grade living space are almost identical when defining finished below-grade space, with a few additional or locational rules here and there.   So what makes living space, above or below?   Here’s what you need to remember according to the ANSI voluntary Standard Z765-1996…   “Living space needs to be “suitable for year round living- requires permanently installed heat with a continuous power source (electricity, natural gas, permanently installed propane tank, or heating oil).   Through-the-wall heating units and permanently installed baseboard heaters meet the requirement, but window units and portable space heaters do not. “ “The floors must be completely covered with an installed covering (carpet, vinyl, wood, tile, laminate or stamped or stained concrete).  Exposed or painted concrete, or exposed or painted plywood is not considered a finished floor.”    The finished space must be contiguous and directly accessible from the balance of the living area.  Finished space that lack permanent stairs or direct access, such as plant shelves, are not considered living area.  Finished spaces only accessed by ladders, such as lofts, are not considered living area. “ Level ceilings must be...