Area Real Estate News & Market Trends

You’ll find our blog to be a wealth of information, covering everything from local market statistics and home values to community happenings. That’s because we care about the community and want to help you find your place in it. Please reach out if you have any questions at all. We’d love to talk with you!

June 13, 2019

Serious About Selling Your Saratoga Home?

When it comes to selling your home, it’s not just about “keeping up with the Joneses.” It’s about outshining them at every opportunity!

If you’re looking to sell your home fast and for the most money possible, you’ll need a strategy to set it apart from all the other listings competing for buyers in your area. That’s why we’ve outlined our proven, five-step plan for serious sellers. 

Use these five tactics to help your listing get noticed, win over buyers, and net a higher sales price than your neighbors!

STEP 1: Stage Your Home to Show Its Full Potential

Selling your Saratoga homeThe average seller will do the minimum to prepare their home for market: clean and declutter, fix anything that’s broken, mow the lawn. And while those tasks are essential, today’s buyers want more than just a clean house and tidy yard. When they dream of buying a new home, they envision a designer house with modern finishes. Help them see your property’s full potential by staging it.

Home staging is one of the hottest trends in real estate—because it works! According to the Real Estate Staging Association, homes that are professionally staged spend 73% less time on the market.1 

So what exactly is staging? In a broad sense, staging is the act of preparing your home for market. The goal is to highlight your home’s strengths, minimize any deficiencies, and help buyers envision themselves living in the space. When staging a home, you might rearrange the furniture to make a room feel larger or remove heavy curtains to make it appear brighter.

Some sellers choose to hire a professional home stager, who has specialized training and experience, to maximize the appeal of their home to the largest number of potential buyers. Others may opt to do it themselves, using guidance from their agent.

We can help you determine the appropriate budget and effort required to push your home ahead of the competition in your neighborhood. The good news is, an investment in staging pays off. A 2018 survey found that 85% of staged homes sold for 6-25% more than their unstaged neighbors homes.2

STEP 2: Draw Buyers in with High-Quality Listing Photos

You only have one chance to make a first impression with potential buyers. And many buyers will view photos of a listing before they decide whether or not to visit it in person. In fact, 87% of buyers find photos “very useful” in their home search.3 Poor-quality or amateur-looking listing photos could keep buyers from ever stepping through your door. 

Since good photography plays such an important role in getting your property noticed, we only work with the top local professionals to photograph our listings. But we don’t just rely on their photography skills when it comes to showcasing your home.

We go the extra mile to ensure your listing photos showcase the true essence of your home. We’re always on site during the photo shoot to help the photographer capture the best angles and lighting, and to let them know about unique or compelling selling features that they should photograph. The extra effort pays off in the end. In fact, listings with high-quality photography sell 32% faster than the competition … and often for more money!4

STEP 3: Price It Properly From the Start

Even in a strong real estate market, there are homes that will sit unsold for months on end. This can be the “kiss of death” in real estate, as buyers tend to imagine that there must be something wrong with the property, even if it’s not the case.

But why are those houses still on the market in the first place? It’s because they are often priced too high.

Every buyer has a budget. And most will be viewing listings within a particular price range. If your property is overpriced, it can’t properly compete with the other houses they’re viewing that are priced correctly. Which means it’ll sit on the market until you’re eventually forced to drop the price.

Alternatively, if you price your home aggressively, it can be among the nicest homes that buyers have seen within their budget. This can lead to emotionally-attached buyers, who are often willing to pay a premium or settle for fewer seller concessions. And in certain markets, it can lead to a multiple-offer situation, or bidding war. The end result? More money in your pocket.

We can help you determine the ideal listing price for your home in the current market. Pricing it properly in the beginning is the best way to ensure a fast and profitable sale.

STEP 4: Put on a Good Show at Each Showing

Good staging stepsOnce buyers are interested enough to schedule a visit, it’s crucial that you put on a good show at each showing. 

The first step is to make your home readily available—and often on short notice—for buyers to see it. A missed showing is a missed opportunity to sell your home. If you set too many restrictions on when it’s available to view, busy buyers will simply skip over your listing and move on to the next one.

Part of making your home available means keeping it relatively show-ready as long as it’s on the market. Most of us don’t live picture-perfect lives, and our homes reflect the day-to-day reality of our busy (and sometimes messy) families. But a little extra effort spent keeping your home clean, fresh-smelling, and ready for buyers will help it sell faster … which means you can get back to your regular routine as quickly as possible!

STEP 5: Use a Proven Promotion Plan

Most agents are still marketing their listings like they did 20 years ago  … put a sign in the yard, put the listing in the MLS, and pray that it sells. Yet, we know that 93% of buyers search for real estate listings online.3 

That’s why we invest in the latest training and technology—to ensure your listing appears in the places where buyers are most likely to look. Our dual-level promotion strategy includes both pre-launch activities designed to seed the marketplace and post-listing activities to ensure your home stays top-of-mind with potential buyers. 

By utilizing online and social marketing platforms to connect with consumers and offline channels to connect with local real estate agents, your property gets maximum exposure to prospective buyers.

LET’S GET MOVING

Are you thinking about listing your home? Get a head start on your competition! Contact us for a copy of our Home Seller’s Guide, which offers a complete guide to the home selling process. Or call us to schedule a free no-commitment consultation. We’d love to put together a custom plan to maximize the sales potential of your property!

 

Posted in Selling Your Home
Sept. 28, 2018

Smart Home Trends for 2018

The Smart Home comes of age in 2018. A bunch of new products are being introduced at trade shows this year, including the International Builders’ Show and the Consumer Electronics Show.

Wireless Kitchen

It may seem futuristic but cords may be a sooo 20th century soon. The startup firm Urbaneer is developing a kitchen design that allows appliances to charge right on the countertop, no cords needed. The compatible devices charge and can be used for cooking when needed but then can be stored out of the way freeing up space when finished. Great idea for small kitchens.

Remote Controls

Ever since the introduction of the TV remote control, we have seen these devices used in more applications. The firm Nanoleaf makes internet connected light panels and recently debuted a 12-sided geometric device that can be programmed separately to control specific devices such as lights, fans, thermostats and speakers. It works with Apple’s HomeKit.

Can Fitness Data Put You to Sleep?

We are getting used to seeing fitness trackers monitor heart rate, footsteps and more, but can all this biometric data help you sleep or even prevent disease? A few companies like Sleep Number think the answer is yes. 

Posted in home improvement
Sept. 28, 2018

Curious About Local Real Estate?

Receive the Latest Local Market Stats

Curious about local real estate? So are we! Every month we review trends in our real estate market and consider the number of homes on the market in each price tier, the amount of time particular homes have been listed for sale, specific neighborhood trends, the median price and square footage of each home sold and so much more. We’d love to invite you to do the same!

Get Local Market Reports Sent Directly to You

You can sign up here to receive your own market report, delivered as often as you like! It contains current information on pending, active and just sold properties so you can see actual homes in your neighborhood. You can review your area on a larger scale, as well, by refining your search to include properties across the city or county. As you notice price and size trends, please contact us for clarification or to have any questions answered.

We can definitely fill you in on details that are not listed on the report and help you determine the best home for you. If you are wondering if now is the time to sell, please give me a call at 518-928-5446. You’ll get an estimate on the value of your property in today’s market. Either way, we hope to hear from you soon as you get to know our neighborhoods and local real estate market better.

Posted in Market Updates
Sept. 28, 2018

Moving to Saratoga County

Moving from one part of the country to another can mean changes both big and little. With some advanced planning you can make the transition easier.

Cedar Pointe - BriarwoodResearch before you move. If you are able to visit the area before you move, that will make adjusting easier. Saratoga has a lot to offer in terms of arts and culture, sports, entertainment and peaceful living. Public transportation may not be as extensive as you will find in large metropolitan areas like New York City, San Francisco or Dallas. Do some research on what the local schools offer, parking and toll passes, regional festivals, weather and seasonal attractions such as the Saratoga Race Course and New York City ballet at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center.

Develop a Plan. Before you load that last box on the moving van, determine where you are going to stay, both in the near and permanently. Be cautious about signing long term leases on an apartment or condo you have never seen. Give yourself plenty of time to find the right location. The competition for apartments in downtown Saratoga Springs is fierce and may not be available during the summer racetrack season. Employment is strong in the Saratoga area with several major employers having national or regional headquarters in the area. Be prepared to switch over your driver’s license and car insurance. Register to vote! You can register online or through the New York Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) when you register your car.  Get an EZPass while you are there too.

Get involved in the community. It can be a challenge to establish both business and social relationships in a new community. When you move to Saratoga, you will find a myriad of opportunities to volunteer, take courses at one of the local schools or colleges, join a chamber of commerce or business association and attend of the many arts, culture, food and sports festivals that makes our area so attractive.

Your real estate agent can help. The to do list for moving can be daunting: insurance, doctors, dentists, dry cleaners, schools, shopping areas, maintenance and repair persons, restaurants, and the list goes on. A real estate agent like Susan Baranski who knows the Saratoga and greater Capital District very well can guide you in the right direction. See our area pages for some interesting things to do and see in various communities in Saratoga County. Of course the biggest item on your list will be finding the perfect home for you and your family. You can search listing all over the Capital District on her website.

Posted in Buying a home
Sept. 28, 2018

Buying a Saratoga Home in 2018

Shelborne frontSo you want to buy a new home, but are unsure what steps you need to take to get ready to negotiate the best deal. 

Home sales in Saratoga County as well as the whole Capital District were the strongest that we have seen in a decade. If you are looking to buy a home, now is the time before interest rates begin to creep back up. Here are some tips for getting prepared for the home buying process.

Get pre-approved. Not many people are in the position to buy their new home with cash. That means you will most likely need to obtain a mortgage. Your first step in this process is to get your financial records organized and determine what kind of budget you can afford for housing. If you are currently renting, keep in mind that with your great new updated kitchen come the responsibility for repairs and maintenance. Once you have a good idea of what you can afford, it is time to shop for the best rates and terms for a mortgage. Try to get a pre-approval, which is based upon an actual analysis of your income, debt and spending. Obtain a copy of your credit history from one of the credit reporting agencies and make sure that the information is accurate.

Choose your mortgage carefully. This is a dizzying array of choice for mortgages. Gone are the days when everyone pretty much got a 30-year fixed rate mortgage. That is still the most common mortgage product but take a look at adjustable rate mortgages if you are pretty sure you will move within the adjustment period. When you pick a mortgage, you usually have the option of paying “points” (a portion of the interest that you pay at closing) to get a lower rate. If you plan to stay in the house for a long time—and given the current real estate market, you should—taking the points will save you money.

Do your homework before bidding. You may want to take a look at what is available in your price range. Open houses provide an opportunity to peek behind the curtain at the amenities that are standard in your area and price point. Most importantly, use the services of a reliable real estate agent for your search and negotiation. What you should bid for a property, what contingencies you want in the contract and the timeline for closing the deal are all things your real estate agent can help you do.

A real estate agent can help you calculate the total cost of ownership, not just what your mortgage costs will be. For example, there can be a significant variation in taxes between one area of the Capital District and another.

Posted in Buying a home