October 30, 2015

What is Virtual Home Staging?

When it comes to marketing and selling a home, staging can be a powerful tool. Some may argue that home staging isn't worth the cost, but there are many good arguments for making the investment in a professional home stager.  Staging not only helps a home sell faster in many cases, but it can also boost buyer desire for a home, resulting in a potentially higher closing price. What’s more, a commitment to staging can prevent you from procrastinating when it comes to decluttering. (After all, you need to have a nice clean canvas for a staging expert to work with.)

Now, though, some agents are turning towards virtual staging. Virtual staging, broadly defined, is the use of computer imaging technology to create realistic listing photos which display a staged home, even though the property itself is not actually staged. Photos of empty rooms are transformed through 3D modeling and photo editing. The results can be quite impressive.

Proponents of virtual home staging say the benefits are obvious. Not only is it less expensive than traditional home staging, but it can also be completed in less time. Stagers, on the other hand, feel the practice is somewhat deceptive. The main argument seems to be that buyers will be disappointed when they arrive at the empty home after seeing staged photos online.

October 16, 2015

What is a Pocket Listing?

Not every home sold gets a shiny new for sale sign out front. Some change hands quickly and quietly without any public advertising whatsoever. In the industry, these are known as “pocket listings.” Pocket listings are sometimes referred to as “coming soon” listings or “whisper” listings.

Pocket listings used to be the domain of the very famous or the very wealthy. People who liked to protect their privacy would typically work with an agent who could find a buyer among word-of-mouth networks of agents representing high-end buyers. Often this happened only in urban areas or in the luxury segment, but now in markets where inventory is tight and bidding wars are not uncommon, pocket listings are becoming somewhat more mainstream.

You might ask yourself: Why not advertise a home in a market where multiple offers are the norm? It can depend. In some cases, the seller may want a quick and painless sale, and would prefer not to go through the traditional process of cleaning, curb appeal sprucing, and open houses. When the seller’s agent happens to know the buyers directly, often a simple walk-through with prospective buyers is enough to secure one acceptable offer.

October 2, 2015

Is Your Home Prepared for your Retirement Years?

If you love your home and plan to live it in through your retirement years, you’ll want to be sure it’s safe for you as you face some of those little challenges aging presents. Assess your home and see if there are any changes you may need to make. Doing so will not only reduce the risk of injury, but it will also give your loved ones peace-of-mind, especially if you live alone.

Here’s what you’ll want to inspect as you consider aging in place:
  • Bathroom handrails. Next to the toilet and tub are top choices. Not only are they there for moments of instability, but they can help you raise and lower yourself more easily. You might also consider converting to a walk-in shower with a seat.