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Archive for December, 2009

Virtual Home Staging

According to NAR statistics, staged homes sell faster and for more money than homes which aren’t.  Still, given the statistics the logistics of staging a home can be difficult and expensive.  There is always the question of: does the décor match the furniture and accessories added to the property?  There is the question of expense; is it fair to burden a seller with added expense of renting staged items on a vacant home where there are carrying costs? 

With those questions at the front of my mind, two weeks ago I went looking for a simple solution to the problem.  My mind immediately ran to the virtual world and the magic of Photoshop.  First off and since the market is rather slow, I thought that perhaps I’d learn how to create the illusion of a virtual stage on my own.  After one migraine headache and struggling well into the night, it became painfully clear that perhaps this isn’t the way to go right now. 

So, thus began my search for a virtual solution to vacant homes.  Viola, the answer was just a Google away, as it always is these days.  I came across two reasonably price companies that will in five to seven business days transform a stark, devoid photo of a room into a cozy virtual retreat.  The first photos are back and I must say I am very happy with them.  Let’s hope the market is too.

I have made certain to be very clear in my marketing that the photos are virtual representations of what the homes “could” look like. 

Are you interested in buying or selling Raleigh/Durham real estate, or do you know someone who should own a home?  Email me at MSullivan@fmrealty.com or call/text to 919-608-2372

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Some doubt incentive is enough to motivate homeowners By Tom Kelly,

Friday, December 11, 2009. When President Obama signed into law the Worker, Homeownership and Business Assistance Act of 2009, it extended the $8,000 first-time homebuyer tax credit as well as offering a new tax credit up to $6,500 for current homeowners who buy a new primary residence. The law also extended the strongest driving force in housing today. How big of a force is it? According to the Internal Revenue Service, more than 1.5 million claims were processed from individuals and families who have purchased a home between January and September 2009, and the National Association of Realtors estimates that some 350,000 of these buyers would not have purchased the home without the tax credit. In addition, analysts say that more than two-thirds of all current homeowners and nearly all first-time buyers will be eligible for the credit extension.

While there’s no doubt that the first-time component will continue to be popular, how many existing homeowners who qualify for the new $6,500 credit will actually use it? Before we present some basic projections from a professional survey, let’s consider some realistic domestic timeframes. Here are the important dates to remember: Nov. 7, 2009: For current homeowners, the home must be purchased on or after Nov. 7, 2009, to qualify for the credit. April 30, 2010: Purchase and sales agreements must be dated by all parties with a date on or before Friday, April 30. June 30, 2010: Purchases must close on or before Wednesday, June 30. The big question for current homeowners is if the window is wide enough to even consider the incentive. Would you, especially if you had not considered selling your home, now uproot your family for $6,500? Would you even consider the anxiety of marketing your home during the holidays or gambling that an acceptable offer would be signed all around by April 30?

The actual amount of the existing homeowner credit equals the lesser of: (1) $6,500, or (2) 10 percent of the price of the replacement home, or (3) $3,250 for a buyer who uses married-filing-separate status. To qualify, the buyer must have owned and used the same home as a principal residence for at least five consecutive years during the eight-year period ending on the purchase date for the replacement principal residence. If you’re married, your spouse also must pass the consecutive-year test. Homes valued at $800,000 or more do not qualify. The $6,500 existing homeowner credit is worth only about 2 percent of the average purchase price for current homeowners who want to buy a new home, according to results from the Campbell/Inside Mortgage Finance Monthly Survey of real estate market conditions.

Survey results show that the average price for homes purchased by first-time homebuyers was $186,000 in the third quarter of 2009. In contrast, the average price for current homeowners buying a new principal residence was $309,000. “On a percentage basis, the effect of the tax credit would be much smaller for current homeowners,” observed Thomas Popik, research director for Campbell Surveys. “We estimate that the first-time homebuyer tax credit will result in a 10 percent increase in home sales from March through November of 2009. “We’d expect the effect of the proposed tax credit for current homeowners to be about half as large — from December until the tax credit expiration in the spring of next year.” A first-time buyer does not mean a person who has never purchased a home. The IRS defines a first-time buyer as anyone who has not owned a principal residence during the three-year period prior to the purchase.

For married taxpayers, the law tests the homeownership history of both the homebuyer and his/her spouse. For example, if you have not owned a home in the past three years but your spouse has owned a principal residence, neither you nor your spouse would qualify for the first-time homebuyer tax credit. However, spouses could be eligible for the repeat buyers’ $6,500 credit. Unmarried joint purchasers may allocate the credit amount to any buyer who qualifies as a first-time buyer, such as may occur if a parent jointly purchases a home with a son or daughter. For example, this arrangement could happen when a child who is a college student purchases a home with a parent as an alternative to dormitory living. The first-time extension is one thing, but if you’ve lived in your home for five consecutive years, would a $6,500 tax credit really jump-start your decision to move?

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A great guy, a friend of mine and a terrific REALTOR has a house for sale at 212 Brook Lane Durham, NC 27712 and is in the Willowhaven neighborhood.  This place is truly amazing and really deserves talking about.

The home comes in just under 2000 square feet and was built in 1970.  The property is approximately ten minutes from Duke University and Duke Medical Center.  The main level is comprised of a huge formal living room, a dining room that was once formal a large updated kitchen and a generous family room.  Features on this level include, Oak hardwood flooring, Granite counter tops in the kitchen, new cabinets in the kitchen, high end appliances, new lighting fixtures, a ceramic Art Deco backsplash and décor paint colors. 

Out the back of the house is a deck that runs 46 feet long by 15 feet wide and is just waiting for half of it to be made into a screened porch.  The back yard is level and several trees have been removed to open up the space.  Additionally there is a one car, carport. 

The second level is comprised of three bedrooms and a secret room.  There is new carpet in the bedrooms. All of the bedrooms have been updated with new lighting fixtures and an attic space above the carport has been finished as a secret room.  The space although unheated is finished and would make a cool homework room or home office.

The master suite is where this home really shines.  There is a huge ceramic tiled shower, the walls in the bath are Travertine Tile, there is a farmer’s type bath tub, complete with jets and a flat panel television is positioned so one could soak and watch television.  The master bath used to be the fourth bedroom so that gives you an idea of the size of this room.  Additionally all of the bath cabinetry both up and down is of the highest quality and it really shows. 

Systemically the house is completely updated with new heat and air conditioning, a newly renovated sand filter septic system with current permitting and all new windows.   The exterior and interior paint is fresh and the property just sparkles. 

Interested in taking a look?   Call or text me at 919-608-2372 or email me at MSullivan@fmrealty.com 

Interested in Raleigh, Durham real estate, visit www.TeamMichaelSullivan.com

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3427 Balfour East is located in the Villages of Cornwallis neighborhood in Durham North Carolina. This two bedroom, two and a half bath townhouse is move-in ready.

There is new vinyl flooring in the entry, half bath and kitchen and new wall to wall carpet, in a neutral beige color, in the rest of the home. The entire interior of this home has been freshly painted in soft egg shell white and the trim in a semi gloss bright white. The effect is crisp, clean and fresh.

 Each of the upstairs bedrooms has a private full bath and each bedroom also has an abundance of closet space. The laundry closet is located at the second floor too. 3427 Balfour East is just steps to the community pool and tennis courts and shopping is just minutes away. You’ll love the fact that this home is just minutes to Research Triangle Park, Duke University, NCCU and Raleigh Durham International Airport.

 Call Michael Sullivan, REALTOR, Broker, SRES, Epro to arrange your private showing of this home. Michael Sullivan has made residential real estate his business for 16 years in Raleigh, Durham, Cary, Apex, Chapel Hill and outlying areas of central North Carolina.

Call us on
919-608-2372 mobile/text  or

Email is MSullivan@fmrealty.com

See us on the web at www.TeamMichaelSullivan.com

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