When you put your home up for sale, one of the best ways to determine the asking price is to look at comparable sales. There’s rarely a perfect apples-to-apples comparison, so a pricing decision often relies on comparisons to several recent sales in the area. Here are five criteria to look for in a sales comparison.

 

  1. Location:Homes in the same neighborhood typically follow the same market trends. Comparing your home to another in the same neighborhood is a good start, but comparing it to homes on the same street or block is even better.
  2. Date of sale:It varies by location, but housing markets can see a ton of fluctuation in a short time period. It‘s best to use the most recent sales data available.
  3. Home build:Look for homes with similar architectural styles, numbers of bathrooms and bedrooms, square footage, and other basics.
  4. Features and upgrades:Remodeled bathrooms and kitchens can raise a home’s price, and so can less flashy upgrades like a new roof or HVAC system. Be sure to look for similar bells and whistles.
  5. Sale types: Homes that are sold as short sales or foreclosures are often in distress or sold at a lower price than they’d receive from a more typical sale. These homes are not as useful for comparisons.

 

*About Windermere Homes & Estates*

 

Windermere Homes & Estates has always focused on three basic principles: hire the best people, give them the best tools, create thriving communities. Collaboration not competition and building relationships with agents, clients and community partners has helped Windermere Homes & Estates become one of the top 5 brokerages in California. Backed by Windermere Real Estate, the largest regional real estate company in the Western U.S., including over 300 offices and 6,500 agents serving communities in Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Mexico. Last year, Windermere closed 87,000 home sales for more than $36.7 billion in dollar volume.

 

Windermere Homes & Estates donates a portion of the proceeds from every home purchased or sold to the Windermere Foundation, which supports low-income and homeless families in the community. What started in 1989 as a grassroots foundation serving families in need in Washington state has grown to encompass eleven states and has raised over $38 million for programs and organizations that provide shelter, clothing, children’s programs, emergency assistance and other services to those who need our help the most.

 

Windermere Homes & Estates was founded by Rich Johnson in 2013 and has been setting the standard ever since. The forward-thinking company has opened 17 offices and hired more than 500 agents with awards such as the Brokerage Achievement of Excellence and the Standards of Ethics, awarded by the San Diego Association of Realtors® (SDAR). Creating a “3rd place” for agents to collaborate and connect on a daily basis both virtually and in person has been a key factor in Windermere Homes & Estates’ success.

When you’re house hunting, focus on the things that will improve your quality of life.

There are so many factors that go into a home buying decision that it can make your head spin—especially if you’re in a competitive market where time is of the essence. The desire to purchase a property makes it easy to look past issues that could detract from your enjoyment of the home and cause some regrets down the road. That’s why when you’re weighing your options, quality of life should always be the top priority.

 

Location is part of lifestyle
Buyers often focus on “must haves” that can be added via renovation, but will downplay factors that are impossible to change. For example, if you work and spend much of your free time in the heart of a busy city, a house in the suburbs may mean more space for the same price, but it could also mean long commutes and a major hit to your nightlife. A centrally-located condo might be a better option.

 

On the other hand, if you’re a weekend warrior who looks forward to skiing, hiking, and mountain biking trips, living outside the city may be perfect—you’re that much closer to the trails when you wake up on Saturday morning. It’s a cliche, but it’s true: Location, location, location.

 

Big homes aren’t for everyone
If you love entertaining friends and family, a big house makes perfect sense. You’ll have all the space you need to prepare meals and throw big parties, and your guests won’t have any trouble finding parking.

 

But a big home also means more cleaning and maintenance—more lawn to mow, more bathrooms to scrub, more things that will break and need fixing. Before you dive into an alluring big home, consider your tolerance and enthusiasm for the upkeep. For some, a smaller home or a professionally-maintained condo are better options.

 

About Windermere Real Estate

 

In just over 6 years, Southern California-based Windermere Homes & Estates owner Rich Johnson has opened 17 offices and has had over 500 agents join the team. Winner of the Brokerage Achievement of Excellence, awarded by the San Diego Association of Realtors® (SDAR), Windermere Homes & Estates was also honored to be the first recipient of the new annual SDAR Award given for standard of ethics, commitment to compliance and high regards for running his business.

 

Windermere Real Estate is ranked the largest regional real estate company in the Western U.S. with over 300 offices and 6,500 agents serving communities in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Mexico. Last year, Windermere closed over 86,000 sides for more than $31.7 billion in dollar volume. The Windermere family has a proud heritage of serving our neighbors via the Windermere Foundation which funds services for low-income and homeless families. Since 1989, the Windermere Foundation has contributed more than 38 million dollars towards improving lives in the communities where we live and work. For more information, visit www.windermere.com.

Renovations never seem to go as planned. There’s always a cost you didn’t anticipate, or a problem that didn’t reveal itself until the project was underway. Here are five common costs to look out for.

  1. Higher utility bills: If contractors and builders are working in your home all day, there’s a good chance they’re constantly walking in and out the exterior doors. That wreaks havoc on your heating/cooling efficiency, so watch out for higher utility bills.
  2. Movers: It’s pretty hard to renovate a fully furnished home. You may be able to move and store most of your furniture yourself, but homeowners often have bigger pieces that require some hired help.
  3. Food: If your kitchen is being torn apart, preparing meals becomes a lot more difficult. You may be able to keep your food budget steady by switching to meals that don’t require counter space, the stove, or the oven, but don’t be surprised if you end up dining out more often.
  4. A few nights in a hotel: Depending on your renovation, there may be some nights where sleeping in your home isn’t practical, or you just need a mental break from the mess. Budget for a few nights at a hotel … or just schedule your family vacation for the worst part of the renovation.
  5. Deep cleaning: It’s one thing to clean and maintain your home after a typical week or two of living. It’s entirely different to clean up after a construction project, as sawdust and other debris can get in every nook and cranny. It may be worth your sanity to just hire cleaners.

 

About Windermere Real Estate

In just over 6 years, Southern California-based Windermere Homes & Estates owner Rich Johnson has opened 17 offices and has had over 500 agents join the team. Winner of the Brokerage Achievement of Excellence, awarded by the San Diego Association of Realtors® (SDAR), Windermere Homes & Estates was also honored to be the first recipient of the new annual SDAR Award given for standard of ethics, commitment to compliance and high regards for running his business.

Windermere Real Estate is ranked the largest regional real estate company in the Western U.S. with over 300 offices and 6,500 agents serving communities in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Mexico. Last year, Windermere closed over 86,000 sides for more than $31.7 billion in dollar volume. The Windermere family has a proud heritage of serving our neighbors via the Windermere Foundation which funds services for low-income and homeless families. Since 1989, the Windermere Foundation has contributed more than 38 million dollars towards improving lives in the communities where we live and work. For more information, visit www.windermere.com.

Some the features that increase property values are obvious—like a remodeled bathroom, a modern kitchen, or a sought-after neighborhood. But here are a few features and circumstances you have not have realized can affect property values.

 

  1. The neighbors: Not every neighborhood or community has an HOA that can keep the neighbors from going overboard with decorations or neglecting to care for their home. Homes adjacent to crazy neighbors can potentially be undervalued.
  2. Trendy groceries and coffee: Recent statistics suggest that if your home is a short walk from popular grocery stores like Whole Foods or coffee chains like Starbucks, it can actually appreciate faster than the national average.
  3. Mature trees: A big beautiful tree in the front yard is enviable, and it’s not something that can be easily added to any home. Homes with mature trees tend to get a little boost in value.
  4. Parking: This isn’t too much of an issue if you live in the suburbs or in a rural area, but residents in dense cities can have real problems with parking, and homeowners might need to rent a spot just to guarantee a place to park each night. That’s why having guaranteed parking in urban areas will raise property values.
  5. The front entrance: First impressions matter to buyers—many will cross a home off their list within 10 seconds of stepping through the front door. An appealing front door, a friendly entryway, and a functioning doorbell are all necessities for getting top dollar.

About Windermere Real Estate

 

In just over 6 years, Southern California-based Windermere Homes & Estates owner Rich Johnson has opened 17 offices and has had over 500 agents join the team. Winner of the Brokerage Achievement of Excellence, awarded by the San Diego Association of Realtors® (SDAR), Windermere Homes & Estates was also honored to be the first recipient of the new annual SDAR Award given for standard of ethics, commitment to compliance and high regards for running his business.

 

Windermere Real Estate is ranked the largest regional real estate company in the Western U.S. with over 300 offices and 6,500 agents serving communities in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Mexico. Last year, Windermere closed over 86,000 sides for more than $31.7 billion in dollar volume. The Windermere family has a proud heritage of serving our neighbors via the Windermere Foundation which funds services for low-income and homeless families. Since 1989, the Windermere Foundation has contributed more than 38 million dollars towards improving lives in the communities where we live and work. For more information, visit www.windermere.com.

There is a difference between the two—here’s how to get your home ready to sell Once you’ve decided to put your home on the market, you’re looking to sell quickly for the best possible price. One tactic that can help sell your home faster is staging.

 

At first, staging may seem like a real estate term that doesn’t actually mean anything. Isn’t staging just decorating? Well, not exactly …

 

Appeal to the masses
Your home is likely decorated to your tastes. It could be colorful and eclectic, or rugged and industrial. But when you’re staging your home, rather than appealing to a specific decorating sense, you want to furnish your home in a way that appeals to everyone—and more importantly, doesn’t turn anyone off who just isn’t into your personal style.

 

Tone down the personal flourishes
Buyers want to be able see themselves in a home and imagine how they’d make it their own. Unfortunately, that means less of your own style as you’re preparing for your move. Cut down on family photos, bold artwork, and unusual furniture. Do some major decluttering so the buyer can see all the space and storage opportunities. It may be sad to start removing the items that make your house a home, but it’s an important part of the process.

 

Mass appeal doesn’t mean “boring”
Your staged home can still be colorful, just stay away from extremes. If you paint, stick to whites, grays, or neutrals. Add flourishes of color with window treatments or accent furniture, but try to choose items that will appeal to both genders.

 

Call a pro
There are likely several staging companies in your area. If you need a recommendation, reach out to your trusted real estate professional.

 

About Windermere Real Estate

 

In just over 6 years, Southern California-based Windermere Homes & Estates owner Rich Johnson has opened 17 offices and has had over 500 agents join the team. Winner of the Brokerage Achievement of Excellence, awarded by the San Diego Association of Realtors® (SDAR), Windermere Homes & Estates was also honored to be the first recipient of the new annual SDAR Award given for standard of ethics, commitment to compliance and high regards for running his business.

 

Windermere Real Estate is ranked the largest regional real estate company in the Western U.S. with over 300 offices and 6,500 agents serving communities in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Mexico. Last year, Windermere closed over 86,000 sides for more than $31.7 billion in dollar volume. The Windermere family has a proud heritage of serving our neighbors via the Windermere Foundation which funds services for low-income and homeless families. Since 1989, the Windermere Foundation has contributed more than 38 million dollars towards improving lives in the communities where we live and work. For more information, visit www.windermere.com.

Few things in the home buying process are more frustrating than having your offer accepted, only to have the appraisal fall below your offer. But all is not lost! If the appraisal comes in below your offer, there are several tactics and strategies that can lead to a happy solution.

 

Get a second opinion: There’s no need to take the appraiser’s estimate as fact. You can pursue a value appeal, or you can discuss a second appraisal with your prospective lender. Sometimes you can even get the seller to pay for the second appraisal, because they will be motivated to complete the sale. Your real estate professional should be able to help you through the process of an appeal or a second opinion.

 

Renegotiate for a lower price: Unless the market is extremely hot, there’s a good chance the seller can be talked town to the appraised value. Sellers often prefer to complete the deal, rather than putting the property back on the market.

 

If all else fails, resist the urge to pay more: Sure, paying more in cash to cover the difference between the loan amount and the agreed upon sale price is tempting. Buying a home is an emotional experience, and you may think that this particular home is the only one that you’ll be satisfied with. Take a step back and consider searching for another property.

 

About Windermere Real Estate

 

In just over 5 years, Southern California-based Windermere Homes & Estates co-owners Rich Johnson and Brian Gooding have opened 17 offices and have had over 500 agents join their team. Winners of the Brokerage Achievement of Excellence, awarded to them by the San Diego Association of Realtors® (SDAR), Windermere Homes & Estates was also honored to be the first recipient of the new annual SDAR Award given for standard of ethics, commitment to compliance and high regards for running their business.

 

Windermere Real Estate is ranked the largest regional real estate company in the Western U.S. with over 300 offices and 6,500 agents serving communities in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Mexico. Last year, Windermere closed over 86,000 sides for more than $31.7 billion in dollar volume. The Windermere family has a proud heritage of serving our neighbors via the Windermere Foundation which funds services for low-income and homeless families. Since 1989, the Windermere Foundation has contributed more than 38 million dollars towards improving lives in the communities where we live and work. For more information, visit www.windermere.com.

We all know that searching for and viewing potential homes is the fun part of the home-buying process. The not-so-fun part? The mortgage.

 

But if you don’t pay attention to the details, your mortgage can end up dragging down the enjoyment of your new home and cause some major regrets. Here are a few mistakes to avoid to ensure that you love your mortgage terms as much as your hew home.

 

Don’t find your home first: Shopping around for the best mortgage rate should be the first step in the home buying process. You may even want to talk to a mortgage broker a full year before you plan to buy. It’ll give you time to get your affairs in order to qualify for the best rate, could save you thousands of dollars in the long run, and you won’t feel rushed to accept an unattractive loan because you’re worried you’ll miss out on your dream home.

 

Don’t forget your real budget: There’s often a big difference between what a lender says you can afford and what you can actually afford. Your debt-to-income ratio doesn’t include the money you spend on hobbies, or the cost of commuting to work, or maintenance and utility costs.

 

Really sit down and examine your spending before committing to the loan amount the lender is offering. You won’t enjoy your home nearly as much if it’s eating into your favorite hobbies.

 

About Windermere Real Estate

 

In just over 5 years, Southern California-based Windermere Homes & Estates co-owners Rich Johnson and Brian Gooding have opened 17 offices and have had over 500 agents join their team. Winners of the Brokerage Achievement of Excellence, awarded to them by the San Diego Association of Realtors® (SDAR), Windermere Homes & Estates was also honored to be the first recipient of the new annual SDAR Award given for standard of ethics, commitment to compliance and high regards for running their business.

 

Windermere Real Estate is ranked the largest regional real estate company in the Western U.S. with over 300 offices and 6,500 agents serving communities in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Mexico. Last year, Windermere closed over 86,000 sides for more than $31.7 billion in dollar volume. The Windermere family has a proud heritage of serving our neighbors via the Windermere Foundation which funds services for low-income and homeless families. Since 1989, the Windermere Foundation has contributed more than 38 million dollars towards improving lives in the communities where we live and work. For more information, visit www.windermere.com.

Moving into a new home is an exciting time, and you’re probably daydreaming about decor and paint schemes and new furniture. But before you get into the fun stuff, there are some basics you should cover first.

 

Change the locks
Even if you’re promised that new locks have been installed in your home, you can never be too careful. It’s worth the money to have the peace of mind that comes with knowing that no one else has the keys to your home. Changing the locks can be a DIY project, or you can call in a locksmith for a little extra money.

 

Steam clean the carpets
It’s good to get a fresh start with your floors before you start decorating. The previous owners may have had pets, young children, or just some plain old clumsiness. Take the time to steam clean the carpets so that your floors are free of stains and allergens. It’s pretty easy and affordable to rent a steam cleaner—your local grocery store may have them available.

 

Call an exterminator
Prior to move-in, you probably haven’t spent enough time in the house to get a view of any pests that may be lurking. Call an exterminator to take care of any mice, insects, and other critters that may be hiding in your home.

 

Clean out the kitchen
If the previous occupants wanted to skip on some of their cleaning duties when they moved out, the kitchen is where they probably cut corners. Wipe down the inside of cabinets, clean out the refrigerator, clean the oven, and clean in the nooks and crannies underneath the appliances.

 

About Windermere Real Estate

 

In just over 5 years, Southern California-based Windermere Homes & Estates co-owners Rich Johnson and Brian Gooding have opened 17 offices and have had over 500 agents join their team. Winners of the Brokerage Achievement of Excellence, awarded to them by the San Diego Association of Realtors® (SDAR), Windermere Homes & Estates was also honored to be the first recipient of the new annual SDAR Award given for standard of ethics, commitment to compliance and high regards for running their business.

 

Windermere Real Estate is ranked the largest regional real estate company in the Western U.S. with over 300 offices and 6,500 agents serving communities in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Mexico. Last year, Windermere closed over 86,000 sides for more than $31.7 billion in dollar volume. The Windermere family has a proud heritage of serving our neighbors via the Windermere Foundation which funds services for low-income and homeless families. Since 1989, the Windermere Foundation has contributed more than 38 million dollars towards improving lives in the communities where we live and work. For more information, visit www.windermere.com.

When you own your home, things are going to break and, unless you want to spend your money on visits from a neighborhood handyman, you’re going to need to fix them yourself. Luckily, you don’t need an arsenal of tools to handle most home maintenance fixes. These five tools will cover most of your basic projects.

  1. Cordless drill. A cordless drill is a must-have for installing cabinets, drawer pulls, hinges, picture frames, shelves and hooks, and more. Whether it’s for do-it-yourself projects or repairs, you’ll use your cordless drill just about every month.
  2. Drain cleaners. Shower and bathroom sink drains are susceptible to clogs because of the daily buildup of hair and whisker clippings. You can use chemical clog removers like Drano, but they’re expensive and the lingering chemical scent is unpleasant. Instead, buy some plastic drain cleaners that can reach into the drain to pull out the clog of hair and gunk. You can purchase them on Amazon or at a local hardware store for a low price.
  3. Shop-vac. No matter how careful you are, spills and accidents will happen and there are some tasks that just can’t be handled with paper towels or a standard vacuum, like pet messes or broken glass.
  4. Loppers. Even the minimum amount of care for your landscaping will require some loppers to remove damaged branches, vines, thick weeds, and any other unruly plants in your yard.
  5. Flashlight. You’re going to want something a little more powerful than your iPhone flashlight when you’re in the crawlspace!

Being a homeowner is one of the biggest milestones in your life. You feel excited and proud to take care of your new house and truly turn it into a home for you and your family. To keep your house in the best shape possible, here are five bad homeowner habits to avoid.

 

  1. Damaging doors. Slamming your doors can have a huge impact in the long run as it can slowly pull your doors out of alignment and potentially create gaps and cracks near your exterior doors, letting air seep in and boosting your utility bill.
  2. Harmful humidity. Showers lasting over 10 to 12 minutes at high water temperatures can increase chances of mildew and mold growing in your bathroom. Over time, this can also cause the paint on your ceiling to bubble and peel from condensation.
  3. Abusing appliances. Clean the lint tray in your dryer after every use, run the oven cleaning cycle at least once a month, and try to wipe down your stovetop and microwave down regularly to avoid grease and residue build up.
  4. Soiling surfaces. After eating a meal, applying makeup, or working and playing outdoors, try to wash your hands before touching walls, cabinets, and doors. Plus, make it a house rule to remove shoes at the door to avoid tracking dirt onto carpets and rugs.
  5. Punishing pipes. Although not the best of topics, a clog in your pipes or main drain can be a huge pain and costly to fix. Regularly clean hair out of your sink and shower drains and avoid flushing cleansing wipes, paper towels, or feminine products down the toilet.

 

About Windermere Real Estate

 

In just over 5 years, Southern California-based Windermere Homes & Estates co-owners Rich Johnson and Brian Gooding have opened 17 offices and have had over 500 agents join their team. Winners of the Brokerage Achievement of Excellence, awarded to them by the San Diego Association of Realtors® (SDAR), Windermere Homes & Estates was also honored to be the first recipient of the new annual SDAR Award given for standard of ethics, commitment to compliance and high regards for running their business.

 

Windermere Real Estate is ranked the largest regional real estate company in the Western U.S. with over 300 offices and 6,500 agents serving communities in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Mexico. Last year, Windermere closed over 86,000 sides for more than $31.7 billion in dollar volume. The Windermere family has a proud heritage of serving our neighbors via the Windermere Foundation which funds services for low-income and homeless families. Since 1989, the Windermere Foundation has contributed more than 38 million dollars towards improving lives in the communities where we live and work. For more information, visit www.windermere.com.