Ken Bradley
May 2024
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Selling Your Home? A Kitchen Clean Up Pays Off

When it comes to selling a home, a kitchen clean up pays. You don't have to do an expensive remodel to make your kitchen appealing to buyers. If you're starting with a good kitchen space, then making a few inexpensive modifications can help you get your home noticed and sell for more money.

Here are a few things to start with:

Some people like to leave every single appliance that they've used in the last week out, but, to show good space,you're going to have to clear your counters. One of the major mistakes sellers make is leaving the kitchen, or their home, the everyday way they live in it. The way you sell and show a home is not usually the way you live in it. Yes, it may be an inconvenience but it's worth the hassle if it brings in more money when your home sells.

Look around your kitchen and see what you can put away.

The more empty the counter tops, the better. A few subtle decorations that bring your kitchen to life are perfect. Leave open space for buyers to imagine their own belongings in your kitchen.

If you have any low-hanging pots and pans on racks from the walls or ceilings, consider removing them and patch the holes. Unless the rack is very necessary or really nice decor that doesn't block views or hang too low, removing it will help create a greater feeling of spaciousness.

Wipe the counter tops thoroughly.

Sounds so ridiculously simple and obvious. But many sellers forget to do this and the counter tops are left sticky or with stains on them. A little elbow grease could remove a wine stain or watermark and make the kitchen look much more cared-for.

No island? No problem. 

If you don't have an island in your kitchen but have some extra room, a rolling butcher block island works like a charm for adding convenient working space and a sophisticated look. You might also have some delicious-smelling freshly baked cookies out alongside your flyers for open houses.

Get some light in the kitchen.

If you have all recessed lighting, you might try adding a few pendant lights. They add a completely different look and can be quite attractive.

Change your flooring if it's very old, torn up, or outdated.

Putting in some inexpensive flooring that gives an updated look will help. You don't have to spend lots of money and get the best flooring around; just make sure your flooring doesn't make your home look like it's in a time warp.

Add some plants and greenery to the kitchen.

Using fresh herbs in simple containers is a great way to add some pretty decor plus their lovely aromatic odors help buyers think about the meals they'd cook in your kitchen.

Clean up or replace old worn-down appliances.

You can sell the home with appliances "as is" but a broken dishwasher, for instance, is a point of price negotiation. You can expect buyers to want some money off or for it to be replaced.

The kitchen is one of the most important areas of a home for most buyers, even if they don't cook. Taking the time to enhance it before you list your home will help make sure your home sells for top dollar.


Tips to Buying a Home Out of State

It can be hard buying a home in a different state than where you live in. Not only is the area new, but the people are too. To help you buy your home out of state, follow our tips below, to get yourself started in the right direction.

Buying a Home Out of State

The first step you should do is hire a buyer’s agent. Buyer's Agents are incredibly useful in assisting you in the home buying process in general, but especially if you are looking to purchase a home out of state. In addition to knowing your new area, they can also:

- Build a solid relationship with you and negotiate on your behalf. 
- Represent your best interests, without disclosing any personal information
- Help you make the right decision on a property.
- Often enough, they know the neighborhood well and can show you around the area.

How to Find a Buyer's Agent Out of State

Generally speaking, most buyer’s agents are referred to by friends, family, and co-workers. However, buyers in a new area usually don’t have the resources to get a trusted referral source. Here are a few things you can do to find a buyer’s agent in another state.

1. Perform a Web Search

One of the best ways to find a buyer's agent who specializes in your chosen region is by doing a quick online search. To do this, enter a specific keyword following the formula: chosen neighborhood/area + buyer's agent. This will help you to locate all of the agents who work in your chosen neighborhood. You can also use niche searching websites like realtor.com and activerain.com. On these sites and others like them, agents from around the country can create their own profile to draw in new business. You can easily find an agent or an exclusive buyer brokerage that only handles buyer representation.

2. Visit Open Houses

The agent who is hosting an open house may be the listing agent or they may be a buyer's agent. Chat with them to ask what their job is. An open house provides a great opportunity to talk to a buyer's agent and learn more about them. Ask for a business card if they appear to be knowledgeable and you get along together. From there, you can head home and gather more information about them by scanning their website. Check out how many homes they have sold and read reviews from past clients. If they still seem like a good fit, give them a call.

House Hunting Out of State

Your real estate agent can email you with daily or weekly updates about new homes for sale in the area and price reductions straight from the MLS. Most, if not all of these listings will contain plenty or photos and a virtual tour. If you see a home that you are interested in, you can email the agent to obtain more information. All communications can be completed through emails, phone calls, and faxes.

Then, if you so choose, you can visit your chosen destination and view a few of your top favorite homes in person. If you are unable to see the homes in person, that is alright as well. You can get a feel for the home on a virtual tour and sign all the paperwork electronically.

Simultaneous Closing in Different States

If you are buying a home and selling your current home in different states, it can be almost impossible to orchestrate a simultaneous closing. Many banks will refrain from funding a loan for an out of state buyer until they receive the HUD on the sale of the buyer’s current home. Typically this is how the situation plays out:

1. The sale on the buyer's current home closes.
2. The funds are wired to the closer who is handling the purchase of the buyer's new home. The HUD is then faxed to the bank.
3. The lender funds the new purchase.
4. The new home closes. You can begin making moving arrangement, obtaining homeowner's insurance, getting a home warranty plan, and more.



Why Real Estate Market Conditions Matter

A Comparable Market Analysis (CMA) can tell you what buyers recently paid for homes similar to yours, but that's not all you need to know to choose the right listing price. You need to know the market's appetite for your home, and that can only come from an overview of your community's current market conditions.

Market conditions are like a weather report; it helps you predict what the current crop of buyers will do. Using this knowledge, you can price your home to sell quickly, and for the most money possible.

Why is a quick sale important? The right price generates a bumper crop of buyers. If you price your home too high compared to other similar homes, you'll appear to be testing the market. Buyers will assume that you're going to be too difficult in negotiations.

Here's what you need to know - what kind of a market are you in? Market conditions are formed by buyer attitudes, made sunny or cloudy by jobs, incomes, mortgage interest rates, and overall consumer confidence.

It's possible that your community could have buyer's and seller's markets simultaneously. For example, your neighborhood may be hot, while the subdivision a mile away is stone cold.

A seller's market is characterized by confident buyers, short "days on market" and low inventory levels of less than six months on hand. This usually results in rising prices.

A buyer's market is characterized by longer "days on market," and high inventory levels of seven months' supply or more. To get buyers to come in from out of the storm, sellers must offer incentives such as seller-paid closing costs or lower prices.

The market conditions will tell you the long and short-term trends. If the market is heating up, you can ask a little more for your home. If the market is cooling, you may need to price your home slightly under the market in order to attract more buyers.

One thing you absolutely should never do is ignore market conditions. It's said the market is always right. If you price your home too high, you'll know when you get few to no showings.

That's why it's important to ask your real estate agent for occasional market updates as well as a fresh CMA. You'll get a better idea of what your home will sell for and how long it will take to sell.


How to Choose a REIT to Invest In

You might want to invest in real estate, but you might not have the disposable income to go about doing so in the traditional way.

That doesn’t mean you’re left out.

A real estate investment trust or REIT is a good way to invest in real estate and diversify your portfolio, but you don’t need a huge amount of capital upfront to do so. Plus, a REIT tends to be lower-risk than other types of real estate investments.

What is a REIT?

A real estate investment trust is an investment vehicle where investors pool their money to invest in different types of real estate. Like traditional stocks or mutual funds, investors receive shares. That means as a REIT shareholder, you have a proportional interest in the income that is distributed by the investment trust and the assets under its ownership.

Basically, the REIT is a company that owns, finances or operates real estate producing an income. The company collects rent from its tenants, for example, and then that income is passed onto investors.

These are publicly traded companies that exist to provide exposure to real estate for investors.

A REIT is very similar to an exchange-traded fund (ETF). There’s diversification in the real estate assets, whether that’s in the form of loans or direct equity investments. It’s actively managed by real estate investment managers.

Choose Between One of Two Types

When you’re comparing REITs, there are two very broad categories to be aware of.

There are equity REITs and mortgage REITs. Most are equity.

An equity REIT is one that owns or potentially operates real estate that produces income, like commercial property and apartment buildings. An equity REIT will usually invest in one type of property. For example, it might invest in single-family homes or shopping centers.

When a REIT is investing in a mix of types of property, it’s a diversified REIT.

Comparing REITs

There are some factors to keep in mind if you’re an investor looking at a REIT.

First, you’ll want to identify the level of risk.

You’ll have to gain at least a basic understanding of the quality of tenants, lease lengths, business strategy, and how income comes in.

Another area you’ll want to understand to make a true comparison is the sector. There are REITs in the residential, retail, health care, infrastructure, and office sectors, just to give a few examples.

All REITs are properties that produce income, but there are going to be specific risks that are relevant to a particular sector.

A third consideration is the dividend yield. When you invest in a REIT, there is income that comes from property appreciation and also dividend payouts. The dividend yield on a REIT is often higher than on dividend stocks.

Other Factors

Some of the other factors that you need to assess when picking a REIT include:

Management: You want to learn more about the manager’s history. The profitability and appreciation of included assets are going to heavily depend on the manager’s ability to choose the best investments and strategies.
Diversification: Diversification can mean that if something happens to one sector of real estate, your REIT is balanced enough that you’ll be somewhat protected.
Earnings: A third factor to use as a basis of comparison for a REIT is earnings. This gives you an overview of the performance, which then helps you understand how much money investors are getting and likely to get in the future.

Investing in real estate can be lucrative but also risky and expensive. A REIT offers an alternative to retail investors, regardless of income, but you should do some research to choose the best one for you.


Mortgage Rates
Averages as of May 2024:

30 yr. fixed: 7.17%
15 yr. fixed: 6.44%
5/1 yr. adj: 6.68%

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Ken Bradley,REALTOR, e-Pro, Luxury Home Specialist
E-mail: [email protected]
Website: http://KenBradleyRealtor.com
Cell: 772-538-9981
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