Tuesday, February 14, 2017

How To Stage Your Home Like A Pro

Whether you’re selling your home or staying put, staging techniques make the most of your space with minimal cost. All you need for most upgrades are the muscles to rearrange furniture, the patience to sift through what you already have, and the willingness to get rid of what you don’t need. Meridith Baer, a professional luxury home stager with offices in Los Angeles, New York, Miami, and London, chimed in on her top tips to make your space more spacious and streamlined.   Full Article

Photo: @meridithbaerhome on Instagram.

Keep it clean.  Remember when your mother used to pester you to clean your room? Well, she was right. The easiest way to brighten up your pad is to give it a good wipe-down. Removing clutter is also crucial. Shred outdated paperwork. Get rid of clothes that don’t fit. Toss any knick-knack that isn’t useful or aesthetically pleasing. This is where those Rubbermaid storage bins you see at big box retailers come in handy. They’re cheap, they’re stackable, and they make organization so much easier. If you want to be able to find things again later (think season-specific clothing or holiday decorations), buy transparent tubs. If you want to keep your stuff safe from roving eyes, stick to solid colored tubs. Have a basement? An empty closet? A storage locker? Use it. Live in a shoebox apartment? There’s always the old standby otherwise known as Mom and Dad’s garage.

The grand entrance.  The first impression guests have of your home should be a stylish one. Find a small table, storage bench, or other unobtrusive piece of furniture for your entryway. Make it functional by adding a lamp or a bowl for your keys. Display a sculpture or travel memento if you’re feeling fancy.

Let the light in.  Everything looks better in natural light. If your window treatments are old and mangy, take them down.

Look alive, living room!  Neutral colors and clean lines are the rules of thumb for living room decorating. Arrange furniture to facilitate conversation and make sure to have a coffee table to accommodate drinks. Angle furniture towards the best view, whether that’s a big bay window or a fireplace.

 If your living room is the only gathering room you have, you’ll likely end up planting your TV there. Consider a cabinet to cover it up when not in use—yes, they make them for flat screens, too, in plenty of styles. “It’s always good to be able to hide that stuff when you need to,” Baer says. If a cabinet is not in your budget, at the very least, center the flat screen over a solid, quality piece of furniture so the TV blends into the room rather than dominates it. And keep cords in control; there’s nothing more unsightly than a serpentine-like mess of wires on the floor.  

Table work when guests come over.  If your dining room or kitchen table is multi-purpose (students and telecommuters, we’re looking at you), clear your work away before guests arrive. Laptops, piles of paperwork, and textbooks are not centerpieces. But you know what is? A big bowl of lemons or apples. Simple, inexpensive, and lower maintenance than a vase of flowers.

Deck the walls, sparingly.  “For young men especially, less is more,” Baer says when it comes to wall decor. Rather than hurriedly accumulating things to hang up, let the art come to you. “Give yourself a chance to spend your time being out for a walk and finding something you like,” Baer says. Don’t purchase anything that you don’t love, and certainly don’t buy anything just because it’s of-the-moment or provocative. If you’re not comfortable with what’s on your walls, no one else will be, either.

Be a little bit anonymous.  If you’re selling your home, you’ll be advised to remove photos, diplomas, fridge magnets, and any other visual “tell” that makes your space feel like an open diary. This isn’t a bad idea even if you’re staying: guests don’t need to see you posing in front of every landmark from your last vacation or huddled together with relatives in matching T-shirts at the family reunion. If those pictures are meaningful to you, great, keep them up. If not, it can be refreshing to live among subtle objects that have private meaning you can choose to divulge or keep to yourself. After all, if someone really wants to see your selfies, they can stalk your Instagram from the privacy of their own home.

The bedroom isn’t just for sleeping.  You already know that adult bedrooms require bedside tables and lamps, right? Now take it up a notch and turn your boudoir into a suite. If space is tight, all you need are two small chairs and table where you can enjoy your coffee, read the paper, or put your shoes and socks on. Blessed with a big bedroom? Incorporate a love seat, reading chair, and an ottoman. Regardless of space constraints, remember this: no headboards in front of the window. “That’s the last thing you want to do,” Baer says.

Never underestimate the power of paint.  Painting is one of the simplest things you can do to make your space look new again. It bears repeating: stick to neutral hues. Make sure to do test patches before tackling entire walls; the color on the sample card might look different once applied. Always use painter’s tape for a clean edge and protect your floors and furniture with drop cloths.

Monday, January 23, 2017

We're Not A Start-Up Company

We're not a start-up company. We have decades of industry experience and have sold thousands of homes and helped save $17,000,000 in commissions.

A "start up" is a trendy word for a new company and Savvy Lane is a new way to sell your home, however we are established and know what it takes to successfully sell your home.


Friday, January 20, 2017

Outdated Real Estate Commission

Even our Agents know 6% is old fashioned  Work with one of our dedicated agents to help you maximize the value of your home. Go ahead, negotiate your commission. We promise to never charge you 6%.

More info here.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Sell My Home and Save

Did you know that you can sell your home and save on commission? Yes, you heard that right. Would you pay anyone 3% of YOUR equity if you had the tools and resources to list your home? Savvy Lane gives sellers the ability to list a home on the MLS for a one time flat fee, as little as $95.

Savvy Lane is licensed brokerage that helps you handle your MLS listing. Once we list your home on the MLS all questions, offers, phone calls, etc  are directed to the seller. However, since we are a licensed brokerage we are here to help. Our professional team can set up a comparative analysis report (CMA) to help with pricing, look over any offers and answer any questions. Our team is available 7 days a week.

What will you do with the thousands you save listing with Savvy Lane?

Benefits of listing with a flat fee listing brokerage:

  1. Listed on the MLS exposing your home to thousands of buyers. 
  2. Your listing is syndicated to top third party each sites that all buyers are search on. 
  3. Save thousands of dollars in commission fees. 
  4. If you sell to a buyer that is not using an agent you pay no commission. 
  5. You can cancel your listing at any time.
  6.  Savvy Lane can help with a CMA to determine a marketable selling price. 
  7. 7 day a week customer service hours. 

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

5 Home Maintenance Tasks That Can Save You Money

Home maintenance can be time consuming and expensive and, as a result, may be one aspect of homeownership you tend to avoid.  But there are some easy and cheap DIY tasks that can actually save you money and time in the long run.  By spending a weekend performing some simple maintenance tasks around the house, you could reduce your bills or avoid costly contractor fees in the future. Full Article

1. Fix Leaks: Leaks don't seem like they should cost that much. After all, it's only a few drops of water at a time. But according to the Environmental Protection Agency, an average household's leaks can annually waste more than 10,000 gallons of water and artificially inflate a water bill by 10%.

Fixing leaky faucets and toilets can cut back on the wasted water. It's environmentally friendly and it saves you money. Win-win.

2. Cleaning Gutters: Your gutters are an important home protection system. When it rains, gutters carry water off and away from your home. If your gutters and downspouts are clogged, water builds up on your roof and collects around the foundation of your home. Over time, this can lead to leaky roofs, sagging gutters or even flooded basements. At this point repairs become expensive.

You can prevent this damage by cleaning your gutters of leaves and other debris at least once a year (more frequently if you have overhanging trees). All you'll need is a few simple tools which may include a ladder, gloves and a hose. It could also pay off to check gutters after strong storms.

3. Replacing HVAC Filters: Your HVAC system circulates air throughout your home and regulates the internal temperature. Unless you live in a moderate climate, your HVAC system most likely uses more energy than any other home system or appliance.

HVAC systems use air filters or screens to prevent larger dust particles from clogging up the works. When these filters become dirty, air flow is reduced and the system has to work harder. Luckily, these air filters are fairly cheap and easy to swap out. You'll want to switch them out every few months (more frequently if you have pets or a large family).

4. Maintaining Smoke Detectors: Early detection of smoke or a fire could save your life. It could also save your home and your property — for instance, if something starts smoking in the oven, you have a shot of preventing a major fire before it even occurs.

Don't wait for the telltale "beep" to service your smoke detectors when they're low on battery life. Instead, check your smoke detectors regularly, ensuring they work properly, and replace batteries or
the unit itself when needed.

5. Programing Your Thermostat: When you set and forget your thermostat for long periods of time, your home could be working hard to heat or cool itself while no one is there. When you're asleep or away from home, you can save money on energy costs by reducing your HVAC system's workload.

It's difficult to remember to manually set your temperature before you leave the house. Programmable thermostats can be set around your schedule, and reduce the amount of wasted energy spent cooling or heating an empty house.

As you take steps to repair things around your home, make sure you're doing so in a way that keeps you on budget, as it isn't worth going into debt over.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Do more of what Makes Sense

Paying 3% listing commission does not make sense given the technology agents have to make it easier to list a home. Savvy Lane can list and sell your home for as little as $95! Do more of what makes sense.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Why You Shouldn’t Panic About Rising Interest Rates

Mortgage rates have been on a steady rise recently, but buyers shouldn't panic -- rates are still very low.

The average rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rose to 4.16%, up from 4.13% last week, according to Freddie Mac. A year ago, rates were sitting around 3.97%.

At the current interest rates, buyers will pay $21 more per month compared to a year ago, assuming a $241,000 price tag and 20% down payment.

I don't think anyone welcomes higher interest rates, but it should not be a considerable deterrent to someone who really wants to buy a home," said Keith Gumbinger, vice president of HSH.com.

Rates under 5% have been the norm for a decade. "We still have quite a ways to go for rates to be even close to average," noted Len Kiefer, deputy chief economist for Freddie Mac.  Full Article

In 1996, the average rate was 5.67%, and in 1990 it was 10.13%.

Rising home prices, fueled by strong demand and tight inventory, have pinched buyers in recent years. Lower interest rates helped temper that rise, but as they move higher, borrowing becomes more costly and can reduce a buyer's budget.

"If rates remain at this level, some marginal buyers could be pushed out of the marketplace," said Gumbinger. "There could be less demand for properties on the margin, but I don't think there will be a huge change."

Kiefer said he expects home prices to continue to rise in 2017 year, but at a slower pace than we saw this year. "The supply is pretty low compared to demand and that will keep pressure on prices and rents."

The rate increases could be felt more by house hunters in the country's more expensive markets, like San Francisco and Manhattan.

"Affordability is already difficult in some markets," said Erin Lantz, vice president of mortgages for Zillow. "Rates can have more of an impact in those areas, but for most of the country, it's still very affordable, by historical standards"

Mortgage loan applications dropped 4% last week, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.

Experts forecast rates will continue to gradually increase throughout 2017, particularly after the Federal Reserve increased a key interest rate on Wednesday for the second time in 10 years.

A higher Federal Funds rate makes it more expensive for banks to borrow money, which can lead to higher rates on credit cards and home loans.

"The era of ultra-low interest rates is over," said Lawrence Yun, chief economist of the National Association of Realtors, in a statement Wednesday. "[The] short-term rate hike will be followed by several additional rounds of increases in 2017 and 2018. Despite these moves, mortgage rates will not rise alarmingly."

The bond market also plays a role in mortgage rates. Interest rates on the U.S. government's 10-year Treasury note have been on a tear since Donald Trump was elected president. Treasury notes are a benchmark for many types of credit, including home loans.

Other factors -- like global economic uncertainty -- also affect U.S. mortgage rates.

"Global markets have sneezed and hiccupped and gone crazy at times and have driven down our interest rates," said Gumbinger.

For instance, after the Brexit vote in June, the rate on a 30-year fixed rate mortgage dropped to 3.48% -- the lowest level since May 2013.

As rates move higher, we could see the return of more home loan products, like adjustable rate mortgages.

"Non-traditional mortgage products could start to creep back into the market as consumers search for more affordable options," said Lantz.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

5 trends that will shape the housing market in 2017

If the U.S. economy is to hit escape velocity in 2017, you can expect the real estate sector to serve as its rocket fuel.

At its most broadly defined, housing can be counted on to compose 15% of GDP. It hasn't done that much heavy lifting lately, however. That's because in the wake of the real estate bubble, lending standards have remained tight, while the cautious builders who survived the crisis have been reluctant to dive headfirst into expanding their operations again.

But there are signs that these trends are about to change. As the new year rolls on, we'll fill you in on the health of builders and other key trends to watch below. Full Article

1. Rising Rates
In December, the Federal Reserve raised interest rates for only the second time since 2006, and a majority of the members of the Fed's rate-setting board predict there will be three more increases coming in 2017. These decisions will cause mortgage rates to rise, potentially making it more difficult for prospective homebuyers to be able to afford the home of their dreams. (In fact, those rates have already started creeping up.) But don't worry too much about this trend. As Redfin Chief Economist Nela Richardson predicts in a recent blog post, "We expect mortgage interest rates to increase, but to no higher than 4.3 percent on the 30-year fixed rate." That's still a great deal compared to historical norms.

2. More Credit
Redfin's Richardson also points out that though rates may rise, mortgage credit will likely be more widely available due to slightly looser lending standards. She points out that the Federal Housing Administration will likely lower fees it charges first-time homebuyers, a continuation of a trend begun in the Obama administration, under which it lowered fees in 2015. In addition, starting in 2017, government-owned mortgage companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will begin backing larger mortgages for the first time in over a decade, making it easier for buyers in expensive markets to finance their purchases.

3. More New Homes
Though the most recent data on new home construction showed that builders pulled back on new projects in November, the overall trend in home construction is clearly positive, with the average annual rate of new groundbreakings reaching a 1.163 million rate so far in 2016, up about 5% from 1.108 million in 2015. Expect this to continue in 2017, as home builders are encouraged by higher wages, looser credit, and increased demand from buyers.

4. The Continued Rise of Medium-sized Cities
One of the dominant stories of the current economic recovery is that top-tier economic cities like New York, Seattle, and San Francisco have seen property values rise as workers flock to these locations to take advantage of high-paying jobs. But this trend has put a strain on those cities' real estate markets , because new construction is often unable to keep pace with demand due to geographic constraints, or restrictions imposed by local government regulations. That's why more younger folks are finding themselves attracted to medium-sized cities, which may not have the same professional opportunities as their larger counterparts, but provide housing affordability. Cities like Raleigh, N.C., and Fort Collins, Colo., have seen building permit issuance soar over the past six years as they attract younger adults seeking cheap rents and lower asking prices. Expect the trend to continue in 2017.

5. Foreign Buyers Aren't Going Away
One trend that is helping drive prices beyond the realm of affordability in places like New York and Los Angeles is an influx of foreign buyers of U.S. real estate. This has only increased of late, fueled in particular by buyers from China who are looking for safe places to store their wealth, away from the slowing economy of the homeland, where repressive financial policies make it difficult to earn decent returns on savings. "U.S. and Europe continue to attract growing amounts of foreign capital, especially from Asian investors," writes Scott Brown, global head of real estate at Barings Real Estate Advisers.