Area Real Estate News & Market Trends

You’ll find our blog to be a wealth of information, covering everything from local market statistics and home values to community happenings. That’s because we care about the community and want to help you find your place in it. Please reach out if you have any questions at all. We’d love to talk with you!

Feb. 25, 2021

What’s the Problem With Zillow’s Zestimates?

Unfortunately, Zestimates aren’t very accurate. Here are the details.

 

 

If you’re a homeowner, you can’t trust Zillow’s Zestimates to estimate your home's value because they’re simply not very accurate. According to Zillow themselves, a Zestimate is a good starting point in determining a home’s value, but it’s not an appraisal (if it was, we’d call it a ‘Zappraisal’ 😜). You see, a Zestimate is based on public- and user-submitted data. Public data is usually pretty accurate as it includes information such as a home’s square footage, but user-submitted data is where the problem lies. 

 

If you want to sell your house, you know people will go to Zillow to check its value. Wouldn’t it be beneficial to you to go on Zillow and include all its great features, benefits, and renovations you’ve made? There are agents out there who help their sellers increase their homes’ Zestimates to make them seem like they’re worth more than they are. In short, Zestimates can be tweaked and manipulated. 


Zillow goes on to say that they encourage homeowners to supplement their home’s Zestimate by getting a comparative market analysis or an appraisal. After all, Zillow’s never been to your home and has no idea how it stacks up against others in the area. If you live in a major metropolitan area where there are many homes for Zillow to compare your home to, its Zestimate might be more accurate. If you live in a rural area without a lot of data or one that features a variety of unique homes, your home’s Zestimate can be way off the mark.

 

"Zestimates can be tweaked and manipulated."

 

Zillow even admits that roughly ¾ of their Zestimates are off by 10% or more. If your home is worth $700,000 and its Zestimate is off by at least 10%, it’s either $70,000 too high or low. Ultimately, Zillow is like real estate’s version of WebMD. If you’re curious about a health condition, you can look it up on WebMD. If you’re seriously concerned about your health, though, you’ll probably reach out to a doctor. You wouldn’t trust your health with WebMD, so why trust your home’s value—probably your largest asset—with some website?


If you want to know what your home’s truly worth in our current market, contact a real estate professional such as myself. In fact, I invite you to send your home’s Zestimate my way. I’ll then compare your home to recently sold homes in your area. Then we’ll know how accurate the Zestimate is. If I collect enough Zestimates from you and other curious homeowners, I’ll feature them in my next video. 

 

Of course, if you have any other real estate questions, feel free to reach out to me as well. I’d love to help you.

Posted in Home Selling
Feb. 1, 2021

Watch Out For These 6 Selling Mistakes

Sellers, avoid these six mistakes when you sell.

 

 

Preparing your home for the market can be a stressful process. However, avoiding these six common mistakes will make the home selling process a lot smoother:

 

1. Picking the wrong agent. The right agent will answer the phone when you call, get back to you in a timely manner, be professional, and know the homes in your market based on experience. They’ll also be honest and straightforward with you rather than just agree with everything you want to hear.

 

2. Overpricing your home. Price is everything when marketing your home; even a well-priced home with a bad marketing plan will sell—it might just take a bit longer.

 

3. Failing to make simple repairs. If there are minor damages that a buyer would spot instantly, make sure those repairs are done before you list the property.

 

"Your home needs to be show-ready at all times."

 

4. Neglecting to declutter your home. Homebuyers start their home searches online these days, and if the pictures of your home showcase all of your stuff instead of the areas of your home, there’s a good chance that buyers won’t come to look at the property. Get some boxes, pack up all your stuff, and store it in the garage or storage unit so it won’t get in the way of your showings.

 

5. Not allowing adequate access to your home. I’ve found that for every 10 times that a seller says they can’t show their home on a certain day, eight out of 10 of their potential buyers won’t come back, or their agents won’t ask to reschedule. Your home needs to be show-ready at all times, so be sure to get the buyers and their agents in and out when they want to view the home, rather than when it’s most convenient for you.

 

6. Getting emotional about the house. Sellers can be very attached to their homes, which is understandable. However, when you sell your home, you need to think of the house as a property, not your home. If you get a lowball offer or if someone wants to come in and remodel it, don’t get overly emotional about it as long as they pay you what you’re asking for to purchase the home.

 

If you have any further questions about selling your home or anything else to do with real estate, don’t hesitate to reach out to me.

Posted in Home Selling
Sept. 17, 2020

Which 6 Costs Do Homebuyers Need to Prep For?

Here are six costs that you may not have factored into your home buying budget.

 

 

When buying a home today, there are a few other costs you need to factor in besides just the price and the monthly mortgage payment. Here are six costs to remember if you’re in the market for a home purchase:

 

1. The inspection. Once you put an offer in on a home and it has been accepted, it’s now time for the home inspection. This process is to make sure that there are no major areas of concern that need to be addressed beyond the normal wear and tear of a home. A typical inspection will cost a few hundred dollars and is based on the size of the home. Depending on how the inspection goes (i.e., if there are any areas of concern that need to be addressed), it’s important that you hire a professional to come out and take a look at those issues to be on the safe side.

 

2. The appraisal. Once you’ve gone through the inspection period and everything looks great, it’s now time to order and pay for the appraisal. The lender will reach out to you directly to set this up for you. A typical appraisal will cost a few thousand dollars and is based on the size of the home.

 

3. The HOA application. Here in South Florida, we deal with homeowners associations on a regular basis. If you’re purchasing in an HOA, you do have to be approved by the association before you can close on your new home. The application is usually a couple hundred dollars and is non-refundable. Depending on what community you do move into, you may have to pay a non-refundable pet deposit fee (if applicable) and also capital contribution.

 

4. Bringing cash to the table. Most homeowners are surprised with the extra cash that they have to bring to the closing table beyond the closing costs. Most lenders will require you to pay for one year of homeowners insurance and taxes up front. Depending on whether that seller has paid the taxes and HOA fees, these fees will be prorated based on the day of closing.

 

5. The move. Once you’ve closed on our home, you now have to pay for the actual move. This cost will vary depending on where you live, how far you’re moving, and how much you have to move. It’s typically around a few thousand dollars to hire a professional mover.

 

6. Immediate costs. While you may be able to hold off on renovations or purchasing new furniture, you need to address a couple of things immediately after you’ve moved in. This includes things like changing the locks on the doors and paying any deposit or set-up fees you may incur to get your new utilities turned on.

 

If you have any questions about buying or selling real estate, we’re always here to help. Feel free to reach out to us anytime!

Posted in Home Buying
Sept. 2, 2020

Q: Which Ways Can You Buy and Sell a Home?

Here’s a rundown of the three ways you can buy and sell a home. 

 

 

If you need to buy and sell a home, there are three basic ways to do so. You can buy first and then sell, sell first and then buy, or buy and sell at the same time (i.e., a simultaneous close). Before you decide on any of these options, there are a couple of important steps to take.  

 

First, review your finances. Sit down with a local lender and get pre-approved so you know exactly how much you can afford for your new home. Next, meet with an agent so they can give you a comparative market analysis that tells you how much equity you’ll get from your home sale. Knowing this will give you an idea of how much you’ll be able to put down for your new home.

 

Now, here are the main points of each strategy:

 

1. Buying first. Buying first gives you the luxury of enjoying your home search and not having to worry about interim housing. You’ll be able to move out of your current home and into your new one with no rush. The risk, however, is having to pay a double mortgage. Also, you won’t know exactly how much equity you’ll get out of your home sale. 

 

2. Selling first. Selling first ensures you won’t have to juggle two mortgages. You’ll also know exactly how much equity from your sale you’ll be able to put toward your down payment for your new home. The downside is that you may have to find interim housing. You may have to stay with a family member or close friend for a short period while closing on your new home. However, if the buyer is flexible, you can arrange a leaseback option and rent your home back from them. 

 

3. Buying and selling at the same time. A simultaneous close takes a lot of planning and preparation, but it's doable. Our team handles this type of transaction on a regular basis. By doing this, you won’t have to worry about having two mortgages, you’ll know the exact amount of equity you'll be putting toward your new home, and you won’t have to figure out interim housing. If you choose this option, your current home should be on the market, under contract, and ideally past the inspection phase. This way, when you find the home of your dreams and make an offer on it, the seller can be confident in accepting that offer because most of the contingencies have been handled.

 

Whichever option is best for you depends on your situation. If you have more questions about buying or selling a home or there’s anything else we can help you with, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We’re here to serve you. 

 

Aug. 19, 2020

Q: How Can I Uphold My Home’s Value in the Market?

Here’s how to ensure your home’s value will hold in today’s market.

 

 

What does it take to sell for top dollar these days? Since I’ve worked with countless sellers and I always keep my finger on the pulse of our market, I’m sharing these four tried-and-true tips:

 

1. Make sure the exterior of your home is pristine. Keep your lawn mowed, trees trimmed, and garden weeded. In addition to the lovely flowers in your garden, plant a few beauties near the front door for an extra special touch. While you’re at it, does that door need a fresh coat of paint? Is all the hardware on it functioning properly? Does the doorbell work? The front door is where buyers and their agent will solidify their first impression of your home and predict what likely awaits them inside; a pleasing and inviting entryway will keep them enticed.

 

2. Keep interior colors neutral. In critical rooms especially (e.g., the foyer, living room, dining room, master bedroom, etc.), color schemes should be neutral and mellow, never attention-grabbing or busy. Also, make sure all the window treatments are open, as buyers in today’s market are craving natural light to pour into the home.

 

3. Remove clutter. Though you’ve probably heard this point countless times already, the reason behind it is that we want buyers to be able to focus on the home’s inherent features without any distractions. The floors, cabinetry, countertops, wood trim, and peaceful outfacing views that your home offers should be what captures them. Less is more; remove items that make statements about you, the home seller, so that the house itself can speak to the buyer.

 

4. Keep things squeaky clean. Cleanliness communicates to the buyers a sense that the home has been maintained throughout the years. Get into the corners and crevices of your home, tackle the closets, and even give your baseboards a cleansing—a home can never be clean enough when it’s on the market.

 

Here’s one tip I’ve picked up after so many years in this business: Hire the professionals to do the work. They know what they’re doing because it’s the only thing they do, and their services will save you time and money in the long run. We have trusted vendors with whom we work regularly, and we’d be more than happy to refer them to you; I want you spending your time with loved ones, not worrying about these types of tasks. From cleaning services, to landscapers, to pro painters and stagers, we know exactly who to call on to help beautify your home so that you get top dollar in this marketplace.

 

Give us a call anytime here at the Aubreigh Hutchison Group. We’re here to help with all your real estate needs. I look forward to hearing from you soon!

Posted in Home Selling
July 30, 2020

Q: What Does It Take to Win a Multiple-Offer Situation?

Here are five tips to help you handle a multiple-offer situation.

 

 

 

In the South Florida marketplace as of July 2020, we’ve seen very abnormal market activity. As soon as many properties hit the market, they’re flooded with offers and become fierce competition grounds for buyers. If you find yourself in this situation as a homebuyer, here are five tips to help you come out on top:

 

1. Make an offer higher than the list price. In a competitive marketplace, you’ll need to go all in first, meaning you need to put your highest and best offer in the first time. Right now, we’re seeing properties sell for anywhere between $20,000 and $50,000 over asking price, so put your best foot forward initially to show the seller you’re serious and ready to buy.


2. Get pre-approved. There’s a difference between getting pre-approved and pre-qualified. In a market like this, be sure to get pre-approved through your lender, meaning that they’ve reviewed all your financials and your application has gone through the underwriting process. That way, when you submit an offer on a property with multiple offers, you won’t have any issues in regard to closing on that loan.

A pre-qualification is when you have a short conversation with your lender about your financial situation, which they use to give you an estimate of how much you could qualify for. We always recommend that you get pre-approved if you want to be competitive in our market.


3. Put your best foot forward with your offer terms. Not only do you want to make sure that your price is at or over asking price, but you also should make sure the terms of your offer look just as good. Make your initial deposit higher than normal to show that you have skin in the game and that you want to purchase the seller’s home. It’s also a good idea to shorten the closing period from the usual 45 to 60 days down to 21 to 30 days. Also, speak with your lender to see about shortening your loan approval period to 14 to 21 days, and your inspection period down to a five- to seven-day period.


4. Write a letter to the seller. By making a personal connection with the seller, it’s not just an offer that you’re sending over; make sure that you share some information about your life and family, including why you love the home and surrounding neighborhood so much. This could potentially put you in front of other people who simply send in an offer.


5. Know when to walk away. Of course, none of these tips are foolproof, so you need to know when to walk away from a bad deal, as well. No house is perfect, and if you don’t get the home you’re after, know that it just wasn’t meant to be and there will be another, better home available soon enough.

 

For more information about the market or how we can empower you to take advantage of the marketplace, no matter if you’re buying or selling, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We’d love to help you.

Posted in Home Buying
July 15, 2020

Q: Are We in a Buyer’s or Seller’s Market?

 

 

Are we in a buyer’s or seller’s market here in South Florida? We’re seeing multiple offers for all of our properties, so we’re definitely in a seller’s market. If you’re thinking of selling your home, now’s the time to make your move. 

 

What does the inventory situation look like in our marketplace? In June 2019, there were 2,900 properties sold and 2,319 new listings. In June 2020, 2,192 properties sold and just 78 new listings came on the market. As you can see, we’re starved for inventory at the moment. 

 

Interest rates are at an all-time low, which means buyers can secure low interest rates and buy bigger homes for the same mortgage. If you haven’t refinanced yet and your interest rate isn’t in the high 2s or low 3s, give me a call and I’d be happy to refer you to a great lender. 

 

Overall, it’s a perfect time to buy or sell. Sellers are getting top dollar due to low inventory and buyers can leverage low interest rates into their dream home. 

 

If you have questions about our market or how you can take advantage of it, don’t hesitate to reach out to me. I’d be happy to schedule a consultation. 

Posted in Market Updates
July 31, 2017

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We can definitely fill you in on details that are not listed on the report and help you determine the best home for you. If you are wondering if now is the time to sell, please try out our INSTANT home value tool. You’ll get an estimate on the value of your property in today’s market. Either way, we hope to hear from you soon as you get to know our neighborhoods and local real estate market better.

Posted in Market Updates