Friday, May 23, 2014

Money In A New Kitchen Can Raise Your Home's Value!

Well, for quite some time now, we've said that if you want to get the most value benefit from updating your home, probably the best place to put that cash is into the kitchen. Now, recent news further supports that view.
Sellers: If you want to spruce up your home before putting it on the market and are wondering where to focus your attention, look no further than the kitchen.
KitchenProspective home buyers will remember a bright, attractive kitchen with high-end appliances and designer features long after they have forgotten the color of the living room carpet or window treatments in the master bedroom.
It’s no coincidence that kitchen amenities were at the top of a recent list of the seven upgrades that have the most influence on buyers.
The list was compiled by David Barca, vice president of Pacific Union’s Silicon Valley region, and was published on this blog in March. High-end kitchen appliances ranked No. 1 on the list, followed by natural stone countertops and fine details such as faucets, light fixtures, and cabinet knobs.
Remodeling advice also comes from Realtor Magazine, published by the National Association of Realtors, which last month listed a dozen trends generating “the hottest buzz in kitchens this year.” They include:  
  • Streamlined, modern looks, with less ornamentation and cleaner lines
  • Open design, with no doors and walls to neighboring rooms
  • Walls painted gray as a counterpoint to the always-popular white
  • Wood or porcelain flooring (both are popular)
  • Quartz countertops in place of granite, which is slipping in popularity
  • Induction cooktops, microwave drawers, high-output gas ranges, steam ovens, and french-door refrigerators
  • Drawers — not doors — beneath countertops
  • Countertops with extra power outlets that pull double-duty as a charging station.
If your kitchen is particularly small, it’s important that you take steps to brighten the room. Dark spaces appear smaller, so make sure that windows allow as much sunlight as possible to flood the room. If that’s not enough, add attractive light fixtures and turn them on during home buyer open houses.
Also, remove clutter and appliances from countertops to make the space appear cleaner and larger.
Are the cabinets stained a dark color? Paint them white to reflect light and help make your kitchen feel much bigger and open.
Whether you’re making small improvements or undertaking a major remodeling job, home buyers will remember attention to kitchen details.
So, if you really want to be 'cooking', put that money into your kitchen. It's definitely a good recipe for raising your home's value.
If you want advice on how to prep your home for sale, be it updating or just doing some basic cosmetic work, call us. We've got nearly fifty years of experience between us, and know all the right touches to up the value of your home. Peter: (415) 279-6466; Jane: (415) 531-4091.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Keep The Seller Happy!

There are many aspects to successfully concluding a purchase. Some of them are obvious, such as making a good offer to the seller. The more money he receives, the happier he's likely to be with a particular offer.  However, there are many other things that can go a long way to keeping a smile on the face of the Seller--and thereby making it more likely that he'll want to deal with you and your offer, all other things being equal.
Prospective buyers would do well to remember that they won’t get any closer to their goal of home
ownership by annoying sellers.home sale contract
This may seem an obvious point, but real estate professionals say buyers irritate sellers time and again. Transgressions range from failing to comply with a request to remove shoes while indoors on a rainy day to failing to call well in advance when canceling a scheduled walk-through.
Don’t forget that until the deal actually closes, the seller holds the ultimate trump card: the home itself. And it’s a seller’s market nowadays, particularly in the Bay Area, where single-family-home inventory has been constrained for the past year.
A recent article on, a website that aggregates financial data, notes that “a little give-and-take is normal, but some buyers push the envelope, as well as the sellers’  buttons.” The article goes on to list eight ways that homebuyers may annoy sellers and jeopardize a purchase:
Skipping appointments: Failing to show up for a scheduled appointment, or canceling at the last minute, is simply rude; the seller may have spent half a day making the house spic-and-span for the visit. Unless there’s a last-minute emergency, buyers must show up on time.
Disregarding house rules: If you (the buyer) are touring a home, remember that it’s not yours (yet). Take your shoes off inside, if requested, don’t let children run amok, and respect the wishes of the seller.
Nitpicking: If you don’t like something in the house, but it’s not a negotiable flaw, be quiet about it while touring the property. Some sellers may secretly install cameras or microphones to listen in on conversations, so save any catty remarks for the car ride home.
Presenting a long list of flaws: Using a laundry list of perceived defects as a negotiating tool could backfire and make a seller wonder whether the buyer is seriously interested. The seller is more concerned with the bottom line than a buyer’s critical observations.
Requesting multiple visits: As a sale approaches closing, sellers are busy making repairs, packing up, and moving. They don’t have time to accommodate a buyer’s repeated requests to come in, look around, and ruminate on future plans.
Renegotiating after reaching a deal: Barring any surprises from a home inspection, the negotiated price should be the final price.
Generating ‘iffy’ commitment letters: You can understand where a seller would get nervous if, after an agreement has been reached, the buyer’s lender steps in with a letter asking the buyer to confirm his or her credit-worthiness. Save everyone a panic attack by securing the loan beforehand.
Speeding up the closing date: It’s understandable that an anxious buyer may want to move up the closing date, but the seller needs time to pack up and move out. An extra ounce of courtesy is always appreciated.
Remember: If you are a Buyer OR a Seller, we have the expertise and experience to help you make a successful deal. Any question or need at all: just give us a call: Peter: (415) 279-6466/Jane: (415) 531-4091. We'd be happy to help!

Friday, May 09, 2014

Upscale Buyers Want....

When someone planning to spend well into the seven figures for a house begins their search, there are a few 'Must Haves' that they always insist on in the home they buy. Certainly individuals will have their personal unique requirements, but there is one set of things that never is ignored. This is a gourmet or chef's kitchen, followed very closely by spectacular views.

What amenities are most important to affluent buyers in the market for a luxury home?
High-end kitchenA recent survey by found that the most popular feature, sought by 54 percent of luxury buyers, is a spacious chef’s kitchen equipped with the very finest high-end appliances and cabinets. (Granite counter tops are still popular, although other materials such as glass, soapstone, and metals are the current rage.)
The second most popular feature, with 44 percent of the vote, is a sprawling view of the world beyond — ocean, mountains, or cityscape — followed by the square footage of the property (38 percent) and an expansive master suite (36 percent).
According to the survey, 13 percent of respondents said they are ready to buy a luxury home and another 26 percent are considering a high-end home purchase. 
“The luxury home buyer is an important contingent of today’s real estate market, as luxury homes tend to drive trends throughout the entire balance of the marketplace,” spokeswoman Barbara O’Connor said in a statement accompanying the survey results.
“We are seeing large portions of buyers throughout the country … eyeing luxury homes,” she said. “This means sellers, builders, and certainly Realtors, should all be paying particular attention to desired luxury amenities, such as chef-quality kitchens and master suite features, to close deals for them.”
Forty percent of luxury buyers say the biggest challenge in searching for a high-end home is to find a property that meets their family’s needs; 20 percent say it’s the limited number of properties on the market.
Survey respondents in Northeast, Pacific, and Mountain states said the minimum price point for luxury housing is $1 million. In South Central, North Central and South Atlantic states, the minimum falls to $500,000.
Christie’s International Real Estate’s recently released 2013 Luxury Defined report found that sales volume for homes priced above $1 million jumped 62 percent year over year in San Francisco. Luxury buyers in the city paid an average of $829 per square foot, less than those in New York and Los Angeles.

So, when you're planning upgrades, or getting ready to do some makeovers to prep your home for top dollar in a sale, make certain you remember these items. Obviously, you cannot create a view if one doesn't exist, but if there is one out there that's blocked by trees or shrubbery on your property, a professional selective trimming or daylighting can make a world of difference. The kitchen, on the other hand, is a matter of design followed by construction.
Unsure how to proceed, or need some expert help? Call us! We maintain a full and current list of experts in all areas of property preparation and construction just for these moments. Peter: (415) 279-6466; Jane: (415) 531-4091. We'd be pleased to help you in any way possible.