Updated: Tuesday, September 01, 2015
Clever Home Staging Tricks You Can Steal
Getting ready to sell your home? It would be awesome to hire a home stager.
Home stagers are paid to furnish a home and help it look its best. What they create isnt so much the ideal living environment but rather the idealized oneone in which there are no awkward furniture arrangements, toys on the floor, crumbs on the countertops, or surprises in the toilet. Its not maintainable for most people everyday, but boy, does it work when selling your home
Stagers typically have furniture and accessories at their disposalnot to mention interior design degrees. But they can cost hundredseven thousandsof dollars. Fortunately, you can achieve great results by using some of their tricks.
Clear it out and clean it up
The first step in preparing any home for sale is to clear it out and clean it up, getting rid of clutter and personal items and scrubbing it down.
"De-cluttering -- and having a pristine home from top to bottom -- are the no-brainers that can make your real estate look better than the house down the block," said Better Homes and Gardens. "Your home must be cleaner and less cluttered than its ever been. You need to banish not just the day-to-day buildup the mail, the shoes, last seasons clothes, the dog hair, but also several years accumulation."
Removing kids toys, outdated furnishings, and excessive knickknacks can help. Whatever you cant sell or donate, box up and store at a friend or >
A house that reflects your personal >
"Prospective buyers wont be able to picture themselves in the house if theyre surrounded by dozens of photos of your children and grandparents," said Bankrate.
Update the bathroom
Not everyone has the funds for a big bathroom renovation prior to selling. Smart changes can make a big difference.
"Avoid dated tile by painting. Bathrooms sell houses, but dated tile in a bathroom doesnt. A low-cost alternative to replacing the tile is to use paint," said HGTV. "First coat the tiles with a high-adhesion primer.
Next, brush on a special ceramic epoxy covering. For a fraction of the cost of new tile, you will have an up-to-date bathroom that brings in big bucks."
Pay attention to design details
After youve cleared away the clutter, you want to focus on creating simple, elegant designs. Its easier than it seems.
"For a visual impact on a table without a lot of fuss, remember a design basic: Groupings of odd numbers always do the trick Three of a kind, likehurricane jars, filled with something as simple as pinecones, makes a ridiculously easy and dynamic table scape," said Katie Jane Interiors.
Katie Jane Interiors
Up your curb appeal
Make sure you make a great first impression, or you might not have an opportunity to make a second impression.
"You may have spent hours making sure the kitchen is clean, and doing so is worth the effort," sad Bob Vila. "But remember, the facade is the first part of your house a potential buyer will see. A little landscaping can go a long way. Strapped for time? Potted plants placed around the front door will add welcome charm to your entryway."
Pay attention to odors
We get used to our environment, so we might notice that musty smell or cat box aroma. Have your realtor or a trusted friend do a walk through and give you an honest assessmentnot just of the way the house looks, but how it smells. Then take action to improve it. Start by steam cleaning the carpets and any upholstered pieces that need it.
Dont ignore the windows
Windows that are cloaked by outdated or heavy window coverings can negatively impact the image your home projects. Open the blinds and replace drapes with inexpensive versions that will let the light in and frame the views.
"Need to dress up a window but dont want to shell out big bucks for window treatments? Heres a trick: Use place mats," said HGTV. "First, apply a hook-and-loop fastener to the place mats and attach them in a row to a basic curtain rod. Now that the place mats are attached to the curtain rods, pin them together at the bottom, and youll have a stylish valance that costs about 12."
Upgrade the Furniture
Giving your home a fresh, clean look with new furniture can make it feel more modern and appeal to more buyers. Dont have money for new stuff? "Try giving worn-out pieces a pick-me-up with new pillows or a slipcover," said Bob Vila.
While youre at it, take a look at your furniture layout too. "Your preferred setup may not be the most appealing one to would-be buyers. Where logical, opt for a social layout that makes it easy to envision the space being enjoyed among family and friends."
Give rooms a single purpose
That home office that doubles as a guest room is useful, but when it comes time to sell your home, pick one and run with it. "Potential buyers are confused by extra rooms that have a mishmash of uses," said HGTV.
> Full Story
New California Law Mandates Broker Supervision Course
Recently, the California Bureau of Real Estate BRE issued the following advisory:
"In July 2015, the California Legislature passed and the Governor signed Assembly Bill 345 .AB 345, Frazier, amending Section 10170.5 of the California Business and Professions Code the Code. The provisions of this Code section take effect on January 1, 2016. The essence of this amendment requires that broker licensees complete upon their first renewal as a broker, a three-hour continuing education course in the management of real estate offices and supervision of real estate activities Management and Supervision. Moreover, salesperson and broker licensees must complete an eight-hour continuing education survey course for subsequent renewals that includes topics in ethics, agency, trust fund handling, fair housing, risk management and management and supervision."
This has an effect on licensees, to be sure; but hardly a momentous one. "Ok, there will be some new and different courses required as part of the 45-hour continuing education requirement. Something more to keep track of, but hardly a big deal."
It is, however, a big deal for the providers of continuing education. If they want to be able to provide a full complement of required courses, they will need to have their Management and Supervision course written, approved by the BRE, and ready for delivery by January of 2016. They will also need to have made, and had approved, the mandated modifications to the eight-hour survey course. Of course they can have courses approved and ready later than January; but who will want to have a "coming soon" sign out when the competition is ready to deliver?
The Bureaus requirements for the content of the 3-hour course are specific and daunting. Guidelines have been published "to assist sponsors in preparing a Management and Supervision course" The following list is taken from those guidelines. It is a list of topics that must be included in the course. [I have omitted Code references and I have numbered the topics for ease of reference.]How to establish policies, rules, and procedures including systems to review, inspect, and manage offices.Supervision of all transactions involving a real estate license.Retaining and reviewing documents which may have a material effect upon the rights or obligations of a party in a transaction.The proper filing, storage and maintenance of documents.Proper handling of trust funds.Advertising of any service for which a license is required.Familiarizing salespersons with the requirements of federal and state laws >Regular and consistent reports of licensed activities of salespersons.The role and responsibilities of branch or division managers, including salespersons acting as branch or division managers.The responsibilities of a broker to ensure salespersons working as "teams" are in compliance with [recent Code amendments].Supervision over restricted licensees.
All of the topics listed are taken from existing Commissioners Regulations and the Business and Professions Code. Still, some may come as a surprise such as 8 and some may cover ground that will be new to many e.g. 10.
The suggested guidelines also contain this piece of advice: "Coverage of appropriate court decisions and practical examples and/or case studies as >
The guidelines note that "Instruction time, including exam time, must total a minimum of 150 minutes three >
Bob Hunt is a director of the California Association of Realtors. He is the author of Real Estate the Ethical Way.
> Full Story
Airbnb And Condominiums
The Pope will be here on September 23rd. Millions of people will come to see and hear him. Where will they stay? Back in 2009, in anticipation of the large crowds wanting to be part of history for Barack Obamas inauguration, the District government >
Currently, there are over 1000 possible rentals in the Washington metropolitan area. They range from a private room, a shared room, or even the entire apartment or house.
But if you own a condominium apartment, you will most likely be in violation of the association legal documents. The bylaws of condominiums typically contain restrictions on leasing units. In some associations, the bylaws prohibit any leasing whatsoever. However, the majority of associations do allow leasing, but with either a six month or one year minimum term.
Kyle Piers, a unit owner in Boston, learned his lesson the hard way. He was renting his one-bedroom condo unit for 200-300 per night, but his neighbors in the 31 unit complex were not pleased. The heavy traffic of daily visitors was a concern to the board of directors, and Mr. Piers was hit with a 9,700 fine for violation of the associations leasing restrictions.
Housing advocates are complaining that landlords are depleting the housing stock because the short-term rentals are more lucrative than long-term leases. San Francisco recently enacted legislation which legalized such rentals, on the condition that the host must be a full-time resident, and they cannot rent for more than 90 days a year. Any such renter must register with the city.
In addition to being subject to fines, a short term rental can trigger FHA sanctions. Stephen Marcus, a Massachusetts attorney whose law firm represents thousands of community associations in New England, and a member of the College of Community Association Lawyers, asked FHA for comment. According to Marcus, "A condo currently on the FHA approved site could conceivably find their approval in jeopardy. HUD is clear. Any short term rental, even one out of 100, could cause a problem with project eligibility and approval status."
But Marcus conceded that FHA would probably not take such drastic action if the short-term rentals were limited to just the popes visit.
What should association boards do? On the one hand, the board -- and its manager -- might want to take the position that we just do not want short-term rentals, period. That is the decision of the board, and the courts will most likely support the board. The "business judgment rule" is in effect throughout the metropolitan area. Oversimplified, the courts take the position that unless the board is doing something seriously wrong, it will not second-guess the boards decision.
The board could also decide to temporarily waive the leasing restriction for a one or two day visit by the Pope. It would be prudent, however, to run that decision by the owners. Many owners just do not like strangers roaming all over the building, day and night. And as is occurring in San Francisco, owners may not want a precedent to be set. Will the board take the same action for the next inauguration? What about when the Nationals go to the World Series this year?
These are difficult and complex decisions facing boards of directors. It not only involves losing FHA status, but >
"Courts," added Marcus, "have upheld the desire for predominately owner-occupied condominium units. Airbnb has upset this goal by creating a hotel-type use with real issues including constant move-in and move-out, transient and security issues. Renters, many believe, tend not to take care of a property as well as owners residing in that property."
If you do decide to use this service, here are a few suggestions. First, contact your insurance company to make sure you are fully covered. Next, you should personally contact your potential guests. If you have any hesitation, dont rent to them. You have the right to take a security deposit to protect you from any damage created by your guests. And finally, while this may be obvious, put all of your valuables in safekeeping, preferably away from the premises.
> Full Story