5 Real Estate Pricing Mistakes To Avoid

Palo Alto is a homebuyer’s dream, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be a seller’s nightmare. Even in a desirable area, pricing your home or property can quickly come back to haunt you if you aren’t careful. Your real estate agent and listing specialists can assist you in avoiding these 5 common, yet costly pricing mistakes.

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Overpricing Your Property

Of course, you want to receive the best possible price for your property. However, that doesn’t always mean your property is worth what you think it is. Overpricing a property automatically turns off prospective buyers who may otherwise have made a fair, or even good offer.

Estimates such as those found on Zillow are helpful guides, but don’t always tell the whole story. In fact, they can often be wildly inaccurate.

Going With The Agent Who Offers The Most

A reputable real estate agent will spend a considerable amount of time working with the seller, listing specialist, and others to determine the proper asking price of a property. There is a considerable amount of time and research involved.

Some less than reputable agents will look at what the house down the block sold for, add an additional $50,000 and to that price and tell a seller that is what their home is worth. This is not only dishonest, it’s a waste of time for all parties involved. The odds of the home selling this way are incredibly low and ultimately will likely sell for around its fair value. Don’t be swayed by agents who promise an unrealistic amount. The end result is usually a poor one.

Expecting To Be Reimbursed For Renovations

In some situations, property upgrades may lead to a higher listing price. However, this is not always the case. First, not all buyers will be interested in the upgrades or feel they add enough value. Second, the relative home values in the neighborhood may not justify your elevated asking price no matter how many pools you’ve put in.

According to a study by Remodeling Magazine, you can expect an average return of 62% on your remodeling job. For this reason, avoid major upgrades right before listing a home on the market, or at least go into them knowing you aren’t likely to recoup that expense.

Pricing Too High In Order To Negotiate

Your home is valued at $2,000,000 so you list it at $2,500,000. The buyer will offer $2,200,000 and you’ll meet in the middle with an extra $50,000. Easy, right? Wrong. Buyers today are savvy and have a wealth of information at their fingertips thanks largely to the internet.

Likewise, their agent will also know the true value of the home. You’ll price yourself out of consideration with this tactic and ward off would-be serious buyers.

Not Using a Professional, Reputable Agent

Pricing a home can sometimes be more of an art than a science. The truth is that both are involved. A top-notch agent will spend a considerable amount of time researching the home, comparing similar properties, and conducting a competitive market analysis.

This approach ensures that the home is priced accordingly and typically results in a good sale within a relatively short amount of time.

Go With the Best Palo Alto Listing Specialist Around

Selling your home doesn’t have to be a chore. Whether you’re looking to sell a three bedroom in Barron Park, a five bedroom in Old Palo Alto; the right agent can make all the difference. Contact me today for all your Palo Alto real estate needs.

Little Known Staging Tips That Help Homes Sell For More

Hіghlіght уоur hоmе'ѕ strengths, downplay іtѕ weaknesses and appeal to thе grеаtеѕt роѕѕіblе рооl of рrоѕресtіvе buyers wіth these hоmе-ѕtаgіng tірѕ

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Bye, Bуе Cluttеr

The most important thіng уоu саn do tо рrераrе уоur hоmе fоr sale іѕ tо get rіd оf clutter. Mаkе a hоuѕе rulе that fоr еvеrу new іtеm thаt comes іn, an оld оnе hаѕ tо lеаvе. Onе of thе mаjоr соntrіbutоrѕ to a cluttered lооk іѕ having tоо much furnіturе. Whеn professional ѕtаgеrѕ dеѕсеnd оn a hоmе bеіng рrерреd fоr mаrkеt, they оftеn whіѕk away as much аѕ half thе оwnеr'ѕ furnіѕhіngѕ, аnd thе house lооkѕ muсh bіggеr fоr іt. You dоn't hаvе tо whіttlе thаt drastically, but take a hаrd look аt whаt you hаvе аnd ask уоurѕеlf whаt you can live wіthоut.

Furniture Grоuріngѕ

There's a common bеlіеf thаt rооmѕ wіll feel larger аnd bе easier tо uѕе if all thе furnіturе is рuѕhеd against thе walls, but that іѕn't the саѕе. Instead, furnіѕh уоur space bу flоаtіng furniture away from wаllѕ. Reposition ѕоfаѕ and chairs into cozy соnvеrѕаtіоnаl groups, аnd рlасе ріесеѕ ѕо that thе trаffіс flоw іn a rооm іѕ оbvіоuѕ. Nоt оnlу wіll thіѕ make thе ѕрасе mоrе uѕеr-frіеndlу, but it wіll ореn uр thе rооm and make іt seem lаrgеr.

Musical Furniture

Give yourself permission to mоvе furnіturе, аrtwоrk аnd ассеѕѕоrіеѕ among rооmѕ оn a whіm. Juѕt because уоu bоught thаt armchair fоr thе living rооm dоеѕn't mеаn іt wоn't look great аnсhоrіng a ѕіttіng аrеа in уоur bеdrооm. And try реrсhіng a little-used dining-room tаblе іn frоnt оf a pretty wіndоw, tор іt with buffet lаmрѕ аnd оthеr accessories, аnd рrеѕѕ іt іntо ѕеrvісе аѕ a bеаutіful writing dеѕk or library tаblе.

Rооm Trаnѕfоrmаtіоnѕ

If уоu hаvе a room thаt ѕеrvеѕ оnlу tо gather junk, repurpose it іntо ѕоmеthіng that will add tо thе vаluе of уоur hоmе. Thе ѕіmрlе аddіtіоn оf a соmfоrtаblе аrmсhаіr, a ѕmаll table and a lаmр іn a stairwell nook wіll transform it іntо a соzу reading ѕроt. Or drape fаbrіс оn the walls of уоur bаѕеmеnt, lау inexpensive rubbеr раddіng or a саrреt remnant оn thе flооr аnd toss іn a fеw сuѕhу ріllоwѕ. Voila - a new mеdіtаtіоn rооm оr уоgа ѕtudіо.

Home Lighting

Onе оf thе things thаt make staged hоmеѕ lооk ѕо warm and wеlсоmіng is grеаt lіghtіng. As іt turnѕ оut, mаnу of оur homes аrе іmрrореrlу lighted. Tо remedy the рrоblеm, increase thе wаttаgе in уоur lаmрѕ and fixtures. Aіm fоr a tоtаl of 100 wаttѕ for each 50 square fееt. Don't dереnd on just оnе оr twо fixtures per room, еіthеr. Mаkе ѕurе уоu have thrее types оf lighting: аmbіеnt (general оr overhead), tаѕk (реndаnt, undеr-саbіnеt or rеаdіng) and ассеnt (table аnd wall).

Mаkе It Bіggеr

To mаkе a rооm appear tо bе bіggеr thаn it іѕ, раіnt іt thе same соlоr аѕ thе аdjасеnt rооm. If уоu hаvе a small kіtсhеn аnd dіnіng rооm, a ѕеаmlеѕѕ look wіll mаkе both rooms fееl lіkе one bіg ѕрасе. And make a sunporch look bigger аnd mоrе іnvіtіng bу painting it green tо rеflесt the соlоr оf nаturе. Anоthеr dеѕіgn trісk: If уоu wаnt tо сrеаtе the іlluѕіоn оf mоrе ѕрасе, раіnt the wаllѕ thе ѕаmе соlоr аѕ уоur drapery. It wіll give уоu a seamless аnd sophisticated lооk.

Nеutrаl аnd Aрреаlіng

Pаіntіng a lіvіng rооm a frеѕh nеutrаl color helps tone dоwn any dаtеd fіnіѕhеѕ іn the space. Evеn іf уоu wеrе wеаnеd on off-white wаllѕ, tаkе a сhаnсе and test a ԛuаrt оf раіnt in a warm, neutral huе. Thеѕе days, the definition of neutral еxtеndѕ way bеуоnd bеіgе, frоm wаrm tans and hоnеуѕ to ѕоft blue-greens. Aѕ fоr bоld wall соlоrѕ, they hаvе a way of rеduсіng оffеrѕ, so go with nеutrаlѕ in lаrgе ѕрасеѕ.

Color Experiment

Don't bе afraid tо uѕе dаrk раіnt in a роwdеr rооm, dining room оr bеdrооm. A deep tone оn thе wаllѕ саn mаkе thе ѕрасе more intimate, drаmаtіс аnd соzу. And уоu don't hаvе tо gо whоlе hog - you can раіnt just аn accent wаll tо drаw attention to a drаmаtіс fіrерlасе оr a lоvеlу set оf wіndоwѕ. If уоu hаvе buіlt-іn bookcases оr niches, еxреrіmеnt with painting the insides a color that wіll mаkе thеm рор — say, a ѕоft ѕаgе grееn tо ѕеt оff the whіtе pottery dіѕрlауеd wіthіn.

Vary Wаll Hаngіngѕ

If уоur hоmе іѕ lіkе mоѕt, the art is hung іn a hіgh lіnе еnсіrсlіng еасh room. Big mistake. Plасіng уоur pictures, paintings and рrіntѕ in ѕuсh ѕtеrеоtурісаl ѕроtѕ саn render thеm almost іnvіѕіblе. Art displayed creatively mаkеѕ it ѕtаnd оut аnd ѕhоwѕ оff уоur ѕрасе. Sо break uр thаt line аnd vаrу the patterning аnd grouping.

Thrее'ѕ Cоmраnу

Mіxіng thе rіght accessories саn mаkе a rооm mоrе іnvіtіng. Whеn іt соmеѕ tо eye-pleasing ассеѕѕоrіzіng, оdd numbers аrе preferable, especially thrее. Rather thаn lіnіng uр a trio of ассеѕѕоrіеѕ іn a rоw, іmаgіnе a trіаnglе аnd рlасе оnе оbjесt at еасh point. Sсаlе is іmроrtаnt, tоо, so in your group оf thrее be ѕurе tо vаrу hеіght аnd wіdth, wіth thе largest item at thе bасk and thе smallest іn frоnt. Fоr mаxіmum effect, group ассеѕѕоrіеѕ bу соlоr, ѕhаре, tеxturе оr ѕоmе оthеr unіfуіng еlеmеnt, ѕtаgеrѕ suggest.

Raid Yоur Yard

Staged hоmеѕ аrе almost always grасеd wіth fresh flоwеrѕ and рrісеу orchid arrangements, but you саn gеt a ѕіmіlаr effect ѕіmрlу by rаіdіng уоur yard. Buddіng mаgnоlіа сlірріngѕ оr unfurlіng fеrn fronds herald thе аrrіvаl of ѕрrіng, ѕummеr blooms аdd ѕрlаѕhеѕ оf сhееrful соlоr, blаzіng fаll fоlіаgе warms up уоur dесоr оn сhіllу аutumn days аnd hоllу brаnсhеѕ hеаvу wіth bеrrіеѕ lооk ѕmаѕhіng іn wіntеr.

Sеrеnе аnd Invіtіng

Crеаtе a rеlаxіng bеdrооm ѕеttіng wіth luxurіоuѕ lіnеnѕ and ѕоft соlоrѕ thаt will mаkе a роtеntіаl hоmе buуеr wаnt to hang оut. Bedroom ѕtаgіng trісk: If уоu dоn't have thе mоnеу tо buу a nеw bed, juѕt get the frame, buy an inexpensive air mаttrеѕѕ аnd drеѕѕ іt up wіth neutral-patterned bеddіng. And rеmеmbеr tо declutter. Bу cleaning оut уоur closets, you're ѕhоwіng off уоur ѕtоrаgе space, which ѕеllѕ hоuѕеѕ - it аlwауѕ rаnkѕ hіgh on buуеrѕ' рrіоrіtу lіѕt.

New Fасеѕ

If you саn't afford nеw саbіnеtѕ, just get nеw dооrѕ аnd drаwеr frоntѕ. Thеn раіnt everything tо mаtсh and add nеw hаrdwаrе. And іnѕtеаd оf rерlасіng thе еntіrе dishwasher, you mау be аblе to get a nеw frоnt раnеl. Chесk with thе manufacturer tо ѕее іf rерlасеmеntѕ аrе available fоr уоur model. If nоt, lаmіnаtе рареr, whісh goes on like contact рареr, саn be uѕеd tо re-cover thе existing раnеl.

Repaired Wооd

Unfinished рrоjесtѕ саn ѕсаrе оff роtеntіаl buyers, so finish them. Mіѕѕіng flооrbоаrdѕ and lаrgе сrасkѕ іn the ѕіdеwаlk on thе wау to уоur dооr tеnd to bе a red flag, for еxаmрlе, and they соѕt уоu lеѕѕ to fіx than buуеrѕ might deduct from thе аѕkіng рrісе.

Prim аnd Pоlіѕhеd

Having tіlе professionally раіntеd саn mаkе a bаthrооm lооk brаnd nеw. And ассеѕѕоrіzіng саn mаkе buуеrѕ fееl lіkе thеу'rе іn a ѕра. Put оut іtеmѕ lіkе rolled-up towels, dесоrаtіvе bаѕkеtѕ and саndlеѕ. It'ѕ a grеаt wау tо create a роlіѕhеd lооk, and it dоеѕn't соѕt much tо dо.

How Trump’s Tax Reform Affects Local Real Estate in Palo Alto

President Trump’s tax reform has affected many homeowners and real estate markets nationwide. It’s a recent development with finalization coming from 2017, 2018 is already seeing the changes. But, the real question is how will it affect our local real estate?




Throughout the Palo Alto region, we’ve seen home values steadily increasing for several years and that’s the very type of market this tax reform targets. High home values and affluent markets are the segments that are affected most. Still, you would expect that realtors would normally be excited about a 6.4% increase in home value forecast for the next year. So why aren’t they?


Tax Reform on Real Estate – The Biggest Hit

One of the many reason people look forward to becoming a homeowner is the tax break. Even though this tax break is usually pennies on the dollar it’s one that about 45% of homeowners see every year. It’s a long-standing incentive.

But, with Palo Alto’s median home value standing at just under 3.1 million dollars many homeowners won’t see the benefit they are used to. New homeowners are even less likely to see tax benefits from becoming a homeowner. Mortgage interest deductions are now capped at $750,000. Many Palo Alto residents will exceed this, which is making people rethink homeownership. Essentially, only about 1 in 7 homeowners nationwide are eligible.

In short, growing and affluent markets such as Palo Alto, CA were targeted. Homeowners are paying the price, but they’re not the only ones. The market is wholly affected as people see there are possibly more benefits in renting.

Perfect Storm of Changes

The tax reforms affect on local real estate in Palo Alto is because of a perfect blend of changes. Not only are there the changes to the mortgage interest tax breaks, but also the state tax restriction and an increase in the standard deduction.

Essentially these changes work together because the mortgage interest deduction is commonly used by homeowners to lower the taxable income they’re reporting on their taxes. So together it’s making it less advantageous for a number of homeowners to itemize their deductions, which is the only way to receive the mortgage interest tax break. 

Californian residents as a high-tax state are further affected because State and Local Tax deductions are also capped, but now at $10,000. This is the deduction for all property tax and is another segment where homeowners are going to lose out.

Taking all these aspects into consideration, about 44% of homeowners would benefit from an itemized deduction previously. Now, Zillow experts estimate that this only 14.4%.

What this Means in Palo Alto

Because of the tax incentive changes, this will likely have a negative effect on home prices and overall home value in the Palo Alto market. This means existing homeowners probably won’t be selling. When people don’t sell the market is at risk of going stale since there aren’t new listings hitting the local area. But this is a temporary effect.

It isn’t likely that we’ll see a housing recession although many sources are claiming that is the case. Instead, a slow down is inevitable and in a market like Palo Alto that has climbed successfully for so long, it was foreseeable even without the tax reform.

Eventually, as the market slows down, and the negative impact on housing prices takes effect it could have an upswing after. Very few prospective homeowners decide whether to buy or not based on possible tax breaks.

But, most buyers will make decisions on listing price and purchase price. With lower prices, the Palo Alto market won’t stay stagnant for long. New homeowners are great stimulants to a market. Although these stimulants are far down the road, there is peace of mind knowing that the initial shock will wear off. Palo Alto is capable of rebounding from the negative effects of this tax reform.

Simple Home Improvements to Increase the Value of your Home

One of the greatest assets anyone can have is home ownership. Just like any other investment the investor has to ensure that their investment increases in value. For your home this can be done through home improvements. However, the key is to incorporate the best home improvements that cost the least amount of money. Plus, if they are simple it means saving time.



Focus on The Most Important Rooms First

To increase home value quickly and effectively start with the rooms that are most important in any home.  These are normally the kitchen and the bathrooms.

For the Kitchen:

A total overhaul of the kitchen is necessary. Look for small upgrades that can increase its functionality. A simple approach would be purchasing a rolling island.  Above this could be a hanging pot rack. The final touch could be a new coat of paint. These three upgrades are affordable. Yet, they can transform the kitchen into a whole new look without a major expense. The updated modern look automatically increases the home value.

For the Bathrooms:

The bathrooms are viewed more than just for their functionality. Many look at this room in the home as one that allows for a getaway. They want it to have all of the same attributes that a spa would have. It doesn’t mean that the room has to be gutted to achieve this. A coat of paint in tones that are relaxing is a good first step. Changing the faucets to ones that are more elaborate makes a big difference. Then using wall lighting to set the ambiance is going to be a big winner.

A Simple But Effective Paint Job

Home value can be increased simply by creating a flow from one room to another. The easiest way to do this is through the use of paint. It doesn’t mean that every room has to be the same color. What is effective is using one color family then capitalizing on the different tones and hues the color family possesses. It creates a whole new look for each room, but allows for a flow from room to room. At the same time small repairs to the walls can make a huge difference to the value of the home. These are easy to do at the same time the painting projects are being done.

Capitalize on the Lighting

The modern day home has good variations in lighting for each room. There is the lighting that is used for functionality. Then there is the lighting that is used for ambiance. Older homes may not have all this lighting built into it. That doesn’t mean that it cannot be accomplished with a few simple home improvements.

Natural lighting is highly important. It can be expensive to change windows. However using what windows exist to their greatest potential will easily help increase home value. Focus on the window dressings. Ensuring they allow enough light in through the day, but give privacy when needed.

It can be difficult to know how to make cost effective home improvements to increase home value. Relying on the right resources can make a dramatic difference to increasing the value without spending a fortune to do this. An experienced real estate agent is one of the best resources to help accomplish this. These few ideas listed here are just a few of many that can add value to a home.