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Luxury Living in Lake Geneva

Lake Geneva, Wisconsin’s hidden gem!

When people think ‘Wisconsin’ I’m confident cheese, beer, and The Packers also come to mind. Which as a proud Wisconsinite, I can say is a very and I mean VERY accurate representation of our state, but I do believe something is missing. Lake Geneva is a resort city on Geneva Lake. The shore of Geneva Lake is dotted with gorgeous mansions that are just as breathtaking as the scenery that surrounds them. It’s time the real estate in Lake Geneva gets the attention and appreciation they deserve. With that said, may I present to you, luxury homes in Lake Geneva!

1. The Lakeside Oasis

This is a gorgeous 3 level lakefront home with 5 bedrooms and 4.5 baths. This New England coastal style mansion includes a number of spectacular amenities including multiple decks, 5 fireplaces, Wolf/SubZero kitchen with expansive island, luxury master suite w/attached nursery or sitting room, 2-story great room fireplace, and a wall of windows allowing for an abundance of natural light into this lakeside dream! With a finished lower level and full entertainment kitchen, guest room, exercise and playrooms, this is the perfect family home or lake day getaway! LEARN MORE!

2. The Custom Built Brick Estate

Just steps from the water, this custom built brick frontage estate is the perfect place to enjoy the breathtaking Geneva sunsets. When you enter this home you are immediately welcomed by the gorgeous 2-story foyer. The foyer looks straight into the great room which includes a wall of windows allowing you to see the spectacular views from anywhere in the room. The kitchen comes with a breakfast bar island, 42” maple cabinetry, SS appliances, recessed lighting & french doors leading to the patio. The perfect single family home along the beautiful shore of Geneva Lake! LEARN MORE!

3. The Coastal Shingle Inspired Design

New outstanding lake-front luxury home Located East of the Narrows with wide view of Geneva Bay and Lake Geneva. Some notable additions include a Screen room with fireplace, lakeside patio,  large level lawn for entertaining, and a 3+ car attached garage. This home is lakeside living…but up a couple notches. LEARN MORE!

4. Exclusive Lakefront Estate

This exclusive lakefront estate, which overlooks the south shore of Geneva Lake, offers exquisite views from every room in the home! With a number of amenities including: a pool, spa, bi-level patio grills, sauna, steam shower, state of the art exercise room, walk-in cooler and much more, this is the perfect lakeside escape! LEARN MORE!

5. The Quiet Cul-de-sac Home

Perfect for all the golf fanatics out there, this home has outstanding views of the golf course! In addition to the golf course you can enjoy all the Geneva National amenities (some shown in pictures). With a 3 car garage, split bedroom design, gas fireplace, vaulted and tray ceilings, a lower level bedroom suite and so many builder extras, this home truly does have it all! LEARN MORE!

6. Stunning Modern Farmhouse

This breathtaking luxury home transitions modern farmhouse into comfortable lakeside oasis. This home brings luxury to the lakeside with stunning interiors and a number of amazing amenities. These amenities include A De Giulio kitchen with Sub Zero, Wolf and Miele anchors the west side of the home, with a two story family room separating the kitchen from the lakefront bluestone patio and covered porch. LEARN MORE!

7. Prime Lakefront Home

Prime lakefront home on Geneva Lake’s south shore boasts a number of amazing amenities including, cathedral ceilings & stone fireplace in great room, updated bathrooms, large kitchen, hardwood floors, main floor laundry, and fresh coat of paint throughout. This open concept home is situated on 1.7 acres in Trinke Estates and has some spectacular lake views! with a vast yard down to lake & pier, gazebo, and patio area w/ paver stone this home offers the most amazing outdoor atmosphere! LEARN MORE!

8. Residence in Geneva National Golf Club

This spectacular residence in Geneva National Golf Club brings warmth, elegance and spaciousness to the lakeside! Some of the notable features in this home include a spacious great room with access to the large outdoor deck, adjacent dining room, high end kitchen with updated appliances, study, laundry/mud room, master suite with a custom fireplace, and luxury bathroom with heated floor. There is so much to enjoy in this luxury Lake Geneva home! LEARN MORE!

9. Magnificent Country Retreat

This home is a gorgeous country resort just a short walking distance from downtown Lake Geneva. This home lies in the prestigious Lake Forest Estates on 2.3 acres of private land. With views of the countryside from every room and views of the lake from the front of the home, this home is a stunning and peaceful escape! The back yard is beautifully landscaped with a heated pool and a spa/whirlpool tub, you will never want to go inside! LEARN MORE!

So if you don’t want to purchase a house in Lake Geneva by this point, then I don’t think you really read the article accurately. So go back, take it all in and rejoin when you’re ready. Alright, now that we are all on the same page and in agreement that Lake Geneva is THE place to be, let me tell you about a way you could get money back at closing for any of these properties! Cashifyd is our cash back program that gets you money back when buying or selling real estate! Cashifyd helps buyers and sellers connect through a cash-back credit at closing offer. The results of this are $100’s to $1,000’s to $10,000’s in cash-back credit depending on the unique property you are looking to buy or sell. All the homes shown above are eligible for Cashifyd, so if you saw something you liked or have something you’d like to sell, maybe this is the time to unleash your real estate superpowers! LEARN MORE ABOUT CASHIFYD!

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vacant-home-for-sale

Should I buy a vacant home?

Advantages and Considerations for Vacant Homes

In a blazing hot real estate market, a vacant home that’s not newly constructed can raise some questions. How long has the property been vacant? Has it been properly maintained so that there are no weather issues? Are there pests? Are there ghosts? At RealtyHive, we feature many types of properties, both vacant and occupied, from all types of sellers. This is what you should know.

Vacant Home Advantages

You can see it on your schedule

Unlike an occupied home where you have to coordinate schedules with current owners or tenants, vacant homes are often able to be shown at any time of the day. While the convenience factor is one benefit, there’s another reason this is so beneficial for a prospective buyer. 

Imagine you’re looking to buy a home in an unfamiliar area. Maybe you don’t know the area or the neighborhood well or only pass by during a certain part of the day. Depending on your location, the character of the neighborhood may change from day to night. Knowing there’s a loud and rowdy bar down the street or a school-induced traffic jam every afternoon may change the price you’re willing to offer. It’s not just properties in the city center that can be affected. What about a property that should have a wonderful view of the night sky, but instead has industrial lights coming from the nearby farm?

Viewing a vacant house multiple times allows you to see these details — the kind you normally find out about after the fact — ahead of time and without inconveniencing the seller.

It’s easier to picture yourself in

When looking for real estate, you should make it a point to look past the current tenant/owners personal items. Sure, you might fall in love with the current furniture and design, but more likely you’ll find yourself thinking “Why would you chose that couch?” or “How do you live in this mess?” 

When you look at a vacant home, you don’t run into this issue. Instead, you get to see a room with it’s permanent features. While some sellers use staging to create a more “homey” feel, the majority of the “stuff” is typcially removed allowing you to see how much space you have to work with and how the rooms flow without much distraction.

The sellers are probably motivated

The biggest advantage of buying a vacant home tends to be the sellers. From mortgages to maintenance, an unoccupied property costs the owner each and every month they hold on to it. Even if the property doesn’t have the mortgage, taxes, maintenance, and in some locations, required utility payments, that all need to be paid.

These holding costs, in addition to the labor and stress of having an additional property, can add up. For this reason, sellers of vacant homes are often highly motivated and more open to discussing all offers. One of the ways you can find motivated sellers is to check out the properties in upcoming RealtyHive Time-Limited Events. These sellers have committed to competitively pricing their properties and are willing to entertain all reasonable offers.

Vacant Home Considerations

How long has the property been vacant?

When a home is occupied issues are noticed quickly. Leaks in the basement or roof are addressed, heating or cooling systems are being used, and the property is often more or less maintained simply by being occupied. None of this applies to vacant homes. In the southern US, homes that sit vacant too long can attract unwanted guests like spiders, snakes, and scorpions, while homes to the north run the risk of freeze damage if homes are not property winterized.

Can the property serve its current use?

This one gets into the weeds of real estate law a bit, but if you’re looking at buying a vacant property, you should know about non-conforming use laws. In regard to a vacant home, this could mean that what appears to be a multifamily home or duplex would be allowed to be used as such.

Is buying a vacant home a good idea?

As with all real estate purchases, it’s important to do your homework. Vacant homes offer buyers the ability to see the property without any distractions, but may come with some unique considerations or challenges. Choose a great agent (find one who offers incentives to buyers here!) to assist you and help you through the process.

man speaking at conference

More than a meeting: Why conferences are still worth attending

Conference season is upon us, ladies and gentlemen. From the Consumer Electronic Show (CES) in early January to South by Southwest in March, the early months of 2020 are filled with opportunities to learn and connect, regardless of which industry you’re in. While the educational and networking opportunities abound at these events, are they really worth the sometimes astronomical cost of attending? Here are some of the advantages to attending conferences.

Learn from the experts

Yes, we all know how important continuing education is, but let’s be honest, it tends to take a backseat to the day-to-day work. Sure, you’d love to learn about the latest trends in your industry and keep abreast of the newest technologies, but you’ve got clients to meet, staff meetings to attend, and a non-work life to uphold. By attending conference you’re able to pack all that learning into the span of a couple of days.

Meet new people

One of the biggest advantages to participating in a conference is that you get to meet and network with others in a face-to-face manner. While being introduced through email or being a member of a group on a social network is a great way to meet people in your industry when you’re not at an event, getting to meet in person is the best way to form a relationship. Whether you’re looking for new clients, partners, or even mentors, conferences offer the chance to identify and introduce yourself to these key players.

Scope out the competition

Sure, you keep tabs on your competition now. Maybe you do watch their social media accounts or monitor their keywords. But, events are a great way to really suss out what’s going on with your competitor. Are they unveiling a new product? Does their booth match the rest of their branding? What kinds of items or information are they giving out? You can learn a lot about a company by just stopping by their booth at an event like this.

Learn what you didn’t expect

You never know what you don’t know is a great thing to keep in mind at conferences. Regardless of your field, most conferences will pull in speakers who cover topics that you wouldn’t normally think to have looked into yourself. From workshops on marketing to seminars on legal implications to a roundtable discussion on ethics, these horizontally integrated sessions can provide a ton of value where you didn’t realize you were lacking.

Do you plan to go to any conferences this year? This year my team is attending many conventions for the real estate industry. Hope to see you there!

lady looking at computer

Move over Branding: The key to success in 2020 is not what you’d expect

It seems like some agents have all the luck. We all know someone that seems to have a pipeline of dream properties and buyers clamoring hand-over-(money-filled) fist to sign themselves into a new home while you sit and watch your listings grow stale. How do these agents do it? While nothing can compare to a well connected network, having a “secret weapon” in your real estate tool kit is the secret of success in 2020.

So what’s the secret? How can you get and keep more listings in 2020? It’s not about completely changing your method or reinventing the wheel, but rather it’s about having something different to offer your clients– something your competition can’t or won’t offer. It’s no secret we live in a global and tech-connected world, but have you thought about how you can merge your real estate business into the digital world? Event marketing is one of the best ways to do this.

What is event marketing?

Similar to a traditional auction, event marketing starts with a property being offered for sale at an attractive opening price. This price appeals to buyers which creates competition and the deadline of an impending auction creates urgency, ultimately resulting in a higher sale price. In this model, the seller retains control of the final sales price and the transparency the process provides helps the seller see the true market value. For agents, this can help overcome objections to price reductions or avoid them altogether. Buyers benefit from being able to determine what their highest/best offer may be.

hands signing a contract 

For Signing New Listings: Bring something new to the table

Between working on your “personal brand” via social media and networking or making sure that your advertising fit your “brand image”, 2017 was the year of “branding”. Designed to make you stand out from your competition, branding is great for marketing, but results are what really pay off. To extend your listings or to sign new ones in 2020, you’ll need to offer something to clients more results-oriented than industry buzzwords. Offering a solution or tactic that your competition does not will be the key to getting ahead this year.

RealtyHive Tip: Make a list of all the services you offer clients and potential clients. Everything from creating a BPO to the individual marketing channels you use for your properties. Now go through that list and cross out anything that your competition can do as well. If the remaining items are pretty thin, consider partnering with RealtyHive to have a true “differentiator” in your back pocket.

person using computer on www.realtyhive.com 

For Selling Your Listings: Show up and be successful

Woody Allen once said, “Eighty percent of success is showing up.” While he probably wasn’t talking about online property listings, he could have been! According to the National Association of Realtors, 51% of home buyers found the home they purchased online, but the average NAR member reports that their website only brings in 1% of their business. In a sea of online noise, do your listings stand out or do they just show up like everyone else’s? With the market as strong as it has been you should be selling upwards of 90% of the properties you list–the key is to position those listings for success and having a strong online presence is the way to do that.

RealtyHive Tip: Do you know what your website traffic looks like? What about your search rankings? Where is the traffic coming from? Are they real buyers or junk bot traffic? If your online traffic isn’t where you want it to be, you might consider joining the RealtyHive marketplace to create additional exposure and make all your listings have a unique marketing presence whether or not you utilize the event marketing platform.

handshake business deal 

For Untapped Success: Branch into new markets

With housing prices up, inventory down, and demand through the roof it’s fair to say that parts of the housing market are on fire! However, for every can-barely-get-it-listed-before-accepted-offer there’s a stuck-on-the-market-for-years property. From land to luxury, FSBO to commercial, every market has its own hard-to-sell niche. While most agents will run from this segment, you can stand out by confronting these challenges and land the listing by offering a new, exclusive solution.

RealtyHive Tip: Look at your market to discover where a need isn’t being met. Has a local department store sat vacant for years or has the same plot of land set vacant for as long as you can remember? These are indicators that tradition processes haven’t worked and you can use the RealtyHive Event Marketing platform as a never-tried-before solution to help land these listings.

Want to learn more about how event marketing can take your business to the next level in 2020? Check out www.realtyhivemarketing.com for more information or to schedule a meeting with a RealytHive representative. In less than 20 minutes you’ll learn how RealtyHive’s event marketing platform can help your listings reach a global audience, extend your listings and avoid price reductions–all at no cost to you!

What Makes a Good Investment Property?

No matter the route you go for real estate investing — such as fixing up your own home, flipping, or renting out a home or commercial property — you want to make sure you’re choosing the right property. These tips can help your income property bring you ROI instead of regret.

The necessary changes are relatively minor.

Some real estate investors pass on home inspections in favor of a faster closing date. These investors typically have an experienced team of contractors who complete renovations quickly. Time is of the essence with investment properties, because the longer you’re holding onto a vacant home, the longer it will take for you to generate a profit.

This is true for flipping or renting out a property, though less so if you’re renovating for your own home. That being said, in nearly every instance you want a property that doesn’t require massive changes. Foundation problems, mold, or other damages will massively eat away at both time and your savings.

The location is a selling point.

Investment property success lies heavily in where the property is located.

  • For most commercial properties, lots of traffic and visibility is crucial. This isn’t always the case if your commercial property is a huge space, such as for corporate offices. But for local shops, you need a location that requires little to no commuting time for your clientele.
  • When buying your first rental property, consider the demographic you’re targeting. Near a college town? Look for a house that’s on-campus or close to it. Single-family home? Suburbs or just outside the hustle and bustle of a city are great locations.
  • If wanting to renovate and sell your own home later on, you should pick a location that’s on the up and up. It’s not ideally located right now, but it will be in 5-15 years. Smaller cities or cities that are remote (such as places out West) are a good place to look.

The property has potential.

It’s OK if your potential rental investment is a carpet nightmare out of the ‘70s. But qualities like hardwood floors (beneath all that carpet), high ceilings, and killer views make this a property with potential. Again, you don’t want a money pit for an income property, but the underlying beauty can turn out incredibly valuable.

Similarly, if your property is in one of those “up-and-up” locations, there is a ton of potential in appreciation. Property owners in cities like Fort Collins and Boulder experienced insane ROI, selling just as these cities became increasingly popular. Even commercial property owners can see huge success from renting out or selling in an area that’s on the come-up.

No property is perfect, but considering these factors can help turn your investment into a successful one. Find the perfect investment property or sell the one you have with RealtyHive! Learn more about time-limited events and get started today.

Luxury Cabins – Cabin Life Reinvented

I get the dilemma. Really enjoying the outdoorsy lifestyle but not too keen on sleeping in a tent or in a “traditionally styled” cabin. I get it, I understand, this right here is me and you relating on a spiritual level. I mean I’m all down for hiking, skiing, kayaking, etc, but tents on the ground and cabins filled with dead animals… thanks, but no thanks!  It makes little sense to me why some people choose to go to quiet serene places only to hang their food from trees, get eaten alive by bugs, and worry about coming face to face with a bear. None of that sounds peaceful to me, in fact, it completely contradicts the idea of going somewhere peaceful. If I wanted to fight for my life I would have gone to the mall of America on Black Friday, but I didn’t, and I don’t. I just want to climb a mountain, watch the sunset, and then fall asleep on my fluffy cushioned bed while watching Derek Morgan kick criminal booty on a large flat screen TV; is that too much to ask?

The below are what I consider the perfect cabin getaway locations. Nearly all of them break the “traditional cabin” mold, but that is personally what I like most about them! If you’re anything like me, you’ll thoroughly enjoy looking through these stunning properties. If you have a large sum of extra cash to spend (unlike me) you may even consider purchasing one!

10040 E Happy Valley Road 923 Scottsdale, AZ, 85255, United States – $1,350,000

  • built in outdoor grill
  • entrance to home

This is a transitional desert contemporary home. It offers a beautiful open floor plan with stunning mountain views from the floor to ceiling windows! You can watch the breathtaking sunsets over the mountains from your own private hot tub. If you ask me that beats a tent any and every day!

Get more details about this property here:

Get more details about this property here Visit Listing

9625 E Aw Tillinghast Rd, Scottsdale, Arizona, 85262 United States – $9,975,000

This is what I would call desert mountain trophy home! Get the experience of the Arizona mountains without sacrificing any comforting luxuries. Things such as a lap pool, play pool, spa, multiple sundecks, covered patios, and much more!

Get more details about the property here:

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19 Little Cloud Trail, Aspen, Colorado, 81611 United States – $31,500,000

This is a new construction home in downtown Aspen! That means you can expect all the luxurious stylings and features one could imagine. Now my favorite thing about this house beside the stunning exterior is the stylish and unique lounging areas. Floor to ceiling windows shows you the beauty of the Colorado mountains. 

Get more details about the property here:

Get more details about this property here Visit Listing

33825 Meadow Creek Drive, Steamboat Springs, Colorado, United States – $4,495,000

This is one of my favorite homes in this article. The first reason is that it is just stunningly gorgeous on the outside. It gives the appears of a classic cabin but with clean modern lines and large windows for lots of natural light. The inside matches the beauty of the outside with modern fixtures and furniture. Not only the physical side of things but the views from the home are breathtaking and personally, I would love to wake up in the morning and watch the sunrise from the private terrace. If I just happened to have 4.5 million dollars to spend, trust me I would. 

Get more details about the property here:

Get more details about this property here Visit Listing

1166 Old East Ridge Road, Boone, North Carolina 28618, United States – $5,495,000

If you were to combine privacy and breathtaking views you would get this property. Gone are the days of outdated cabins, here is where mountains meet modern for the perfect mountain getaway location. On a plot of 272 acres filled with streams, trails, and waterfalls there are endless things to do around the home, and an endless supply luxurious entertaining spaces!

Get more details about the property here:

Get more details about this property here Visit Listing

4367 Columbine Drive Vail, Colorado, United States – $2,999,000

If you happen to be into modern architecture or are interested in a home with a hint of Scandinavian interior design, then this may be the home for you. Take one look at the exterior of this home and you know this is a modern day luxury home. The interior reflects the clean line design of the exterior. In conclusion, if you like modern then you like 4367 Columbine Drive Vail, Colorado, United States. 

Get more details about the property here:

Get more details about this property here Visit Listing

10814 E Heritage Ct, Scottsdale, AZ 85255, United States – $26,000,000

This is a rare find in the back canyons of Scottsdale Arizona. This home is an exquisite combination of Mediterranean Architecture and Contemporary Styling which gives you a completely unique experience. On 4+ acres of land, you can enjoy your own combination of luxury and privacy.

Get more details about the property here:

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5829 E Jean Ave, Phoenix, Arizona, 85018 United States – $6,995,000

This gorgeous Arizona home is located at the base of Camelback Mt on a 2-acre plot of land. With 5 bedrooms and 5 bathrooms, this is the perfect luxury vacation home for any family, with no worries of sibling rivalries over who gets the bathroom next. 

Get more details about the property here:

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109 Willoughby Way, Red Mountain, Aspen, Colorado, 81611 United States – $29,999,999

Aspen Colorado is a famously amazing place for mountain side getaways and cabin vacays. This cabin offers 2.4 acres of land for all the privacy imaginable, but on the same hand is only a two-minute drive to the convenience of shops and restaurants nearby. 

Get more details about the property here:

Get more details about this property here Visit Listing

2957 Roses Branch Rd, Bakersville, North Carolina – $5,700,000

Once you cross the South Toe River there is a private world just waiting for you! There you’ll find this gorgeous self-sustaining smart house with CTRL 4 programming, whole house SONOS sound system, a security system, whole house backup generator, and radiant floor heat. This house comes with every comfort you could image, it’s the epitome of a luxury getaway cabin!

Get more details about the property here:

Get more details about this property here Visit Listing

6270 W Bucking Bronco Place, Tucson, Arizona, United States – $1,350,000

A stunning home with 360-degree views in every direction. These views will make you feel like your on top of the world…literally. You can look at these views from the 1500 sq ft covered patio which also has a built-in patio.

Get more details about the property here:

Get more details about this property here Visit Listing

20957 N 112th St, Scottsdale, Arizona, United States – $6,995,000

This French FarmHouse Estate looks like something straight out of Romeo and Juliet, and with 6 bedrooms and 9 bathrooms, you could have housed both sides of their families. Although that may not have made for a particularly peaceful cabin stay. Located in the Upper Canyon of Silverleaf this house has astounding panoramic views of the mountainside and city lights. 

Get more details about the property here:

Get more details about this property here Visit Listing

2010 GCR 14N Kremmling, Colorado, United States – $23,500,000

This home is different compared to the others, it offers a more of a traditional styling. This home offers some unique yet appreciated additions such as the indoor bowling alley, and personal outdoor mini golf course. This house consists of 3 branches one could call them. The main house situated in the middle, and a guest house on either side connected by bridges over cascading waterfalls. Talk about a unique home, huh?

Get more details on the property here:

Get more details about this property here Visit Listing

161 Waterside Drive, Lake Lure, North Carolina, United States – $2,750,000

If you’re looking for breathtaking views from nearly every spot in your house, consider this contemporary masterpiece perched above the north end of Lake Lure!  Outdoor stone patios with covered cook-center that includes a gas grill, gaucho wood-burning grill, sink, concrete countertops, and hot tub create an exciting outdoor area/entertaining space. This is the perfect family cabin with a luxury spin!

Get more details about the property here:

Get more details about this property here Visit Listing

7004 N Invergordon Rd, Paradise Valley, Arizona, United States – $13,950,000

This luxury home is on approximately 5 acres of mountainside estate. This house offers a balance between luxury and class. Its traditional styling and high ceilings will make you feel like royalty, the only thing missing is a throne, but hey those can be added. For your convience, We have attached a link to a throne-like chair to fulfill the royal fantasy! 🙂

If your looking for a throne like chair to complete the cabin look here:

If your looking for a throne like chair to complete the cabin look here: I Want A Cool Chair

Get more details about the property here:

Get more details about this property here Visit Listing
handing over rent keys

5 Reasons to Rent Instead of Rushing to Buy

Home shopping can be an exciting, yet nerve-wracking time. There are a lot of important decisions to be made and those choices can impact you and your family for many years to come. Is this the right house? Are we getting a fair deal? Are we making the right choice?

In a highly competitive housing market, there can be huge disadvantages to taking the time to carefully consider your decision. Wait to submit the offer? Lose the house. Have to sell your house before you can buy? You might get lucky, maybe not. It may seem counterintuitive to go from homeownership to renting, just to go back owning again, but here’s why you may want to consider renting instead of rushing.  

5 Reasons to Rent Instead of Rushing to Buy

       1). You’ll know your budget

A huge advantage to selling your home before you buy a new one is that you’ll know exactly what you’re working with in terms of finances. Planning on upsizing? You’ll want to know how much of a price increase you can afford. Downsizing? You’ll need to consider what to do with the profits of your sale. Either way, it’s much easier to do this math when you know what you’re concretely working with.

        2). You’ll be first in line

Without having a home of your own to sell before buying a new one, you are able to submit a more enticing offer to sellers, especially those looking for a quick close. This free-and-clear method, paired with knowing your budget, means that you will be ready to act on any home that interests you and work on your own timeframe.

       3). You can take advantage of the hot market

Real estate prices are at an all-time high in a lot of places, but experts debate how long this streak will last. Now may be the time for you to sell at a premium, but that doesn’t mean you want to buy at a premium, either. Rent just until you find the right deal.

       4). Buying a fixer-upper is a little easier

If you’ve already found a place to rent and you’re getting accustomed to your new temporary digs, it might not be such a stretch for you to imagine staying a little longer. Instead of buying a more expensive move-in ready home, you make the option of a reno project a little more palatable. After all, you just moved in, what’s another month or two– especially if it’ll shave a few years off your mortgage.

       5). You may get to remember the joys of renting

Building amenities are one of the truly great things about rental life and can be a great upside to renting between homes. From included utilities to complementary gyms or community pools, these features can definitely help to smooth the transition.

Want to find your perfect home from motivated sellers who want to see your offer? Check out the properties in our next upcoming time-limited event by clicking here!

house with a for sale sign in front

Real Estate 101: The Basics for the First Time Home Seller

1. The Price is Right (or it needs to be!)

Have you ever fallen in love with an item in the store, but when you saw the price tag decided it wasn’t worth the cost? Maybe you decided to just wait until there’s a sale, figuring that the price would come down before the item sells out. If you’re selling your home, this is exactly what you don’t want to do. Getting the price of your home right can be one of the most difficult parts of the home selling process. Especially in a “hot” market like we’re experiencing now. If you price it too high, it’s going to take time to sell, but if you price is too low, you’re leaving money on the table.

One option would be to work with a real estate agent. Real estate agents have access to tons of information about previous home sales. For example: they can tell you about another home that was built in the same year, with the same number of beds and baths, with the same size lot just sold for $152,000 in 3 days! This info helps them suggest a proper price. While some people shy away from using an agent in the sale of their home, usually being deterred by the commission, a real estate agent can help you sell your home for a higher price, leaving you with more money–even after figuring in their commission.

Tip: If you’re not planning to use an agent, make sure you do your homework. Your first step will be to get a home appraisal. This will give you a good frame to start your pricing on. You’ll also want to check sites like Zillow or Redfin. You can see the estimated value of your home on these sites, but they can be off by tens of thousands of dollars. So, the best use for these sites is to research homes similar to yours. Not only can you see how much homes like yours are listed for, but also how long they’ve been on the market. Additionally, you can see the sale history. This research will ensure that you’re getting pricing where it needs to be.
 
interior of a living room
 

2. Prepare to be Seen

Before you stick the sign out in the yard or list your property online, you’ll want to make sure your home is ready to be seen. If you’ve already moved into another home, this will just be a deep clean of the home for sale. If you’re still living in this home, you’ll want to make sure it is picked up and ready to show at anytime. Staging the home by adding extra decorations or “homey” touches is great, but clutter-free and clean are the minimum.

Tip: If you’ve got the time and budget, it’s a good idea to throw a fresh coat of paint on the walls–especially if that hasn’t been done in a few years. Most advisers will tell you to not spend money on renovations before you move. However, a fresh coat of neutral paint is known help entice buyers and get you a great return on investment.
 
home with sale sign in yard
 

3. Get the Word Out

There’s a reason that real estate agents always put signs in the yard of the homes they’re selling–they work! Prepare yourself for it to work really fast as well, depending on your market. If you’re in a city or larger town and have a home in the low to middle-high price range, it’s very possible that as soon as you put the sign up, you’ll have people calling and knocking on your door. Make sure you’re prepared to take the next steps as soon as that sign hits the ground.

Tip: Not everyone lives in an area with a booming real estate market. For example, you may live in a rural area and you don’t see a lot of drive-by traffic. If this is the case, you’re going to need another tactic to sell your home. There are many websites that will list your home for free. However, because these are free listings, you may just blend in to the rest of the listings on the site. Another option to consider is an advanced marketing option like event marketing. Using an online event marketing platform, your home will stand out because of the interest gained through range pricing. Think of an opening bid and “Buy It Now” pricing – you’ll gain interest from those searching the lower price ranges and interest from those who want to jump on a deal right away. But, you still retain control of the final sale price. You can learn more about how this works here.
 
women at a business meeting
 

4. Understand the Players

If you’re handling the sale of your home without the help of an agent, it will be up to you to coordinate showings. Most buyers will not want to purchase the home sight-unseen, so expect to let potential buyers in for a look. In many cases, this includes buyers who are working with an agent. It may be uncomfortable for you to allow strangers to roam your house. However, this is how buyers fall in love with a property.

Tip: If you’re working with a seller directly, it’s a good idea to stay on premises, but if they have an agent the best thing to do is leave. The buyer’s agent will facilitate the showing (after all, they want their client to find a home), and it stops you from talking the buyer out of a sale.
 
accounting spreadsheet and calculator
 

5. Know the rules

This part gets a bit trickier for home selling DIY-ers. The laws concerning real estate vary by state.  There are laws as to what the necessary inspections are, the time frame for everything to be completed and what needs to be disclosed to the new buyers. In some states you need to tell potential buyers if there was a death in the home, in other states you are required report on your annoying neighbors, and the list goes on. In short, know the rules or risk getting sued.

Tip: Even if you choose to not use a real estate professional in your home selling, that doesn’t mean you should completely go this process alone. Selling real estate comes with many financial, legal, and tax implications so it’s best to consult a lawyer and an accountant with real estate expertise that can help ensure you have the proper documents and don’t wind up with any costly surprises down the road.

Selling your home is a very exciting process. It can lead to many positive changes and help set you up for future financial success, but it’s important to consider all the moving parts to make sure your experience is a positive one!

photo of open concept white kitchen to living room

6 Things to Do–and 4 to avoid!– for Great Real Estate Photos

They say that a picture is worth 1000 words, but if that’s true then real estate photos are worth even more. In an industry that typically confuses “cozy” and “cramped” or “vintage” and “outdated”, having good quality real estate photos can bring more attention and interest to a home or listing you’re trying to sell.

While some real estate agents will suggest you hire a professional, there are many tips and tricks you can use yourself to create appealing home photos–without breaking the bank! Here are the 6 Must-Do things for taking great real estate photos and 4 things to avoid!


real estate photo lots of light
 
1). Clear Out the Clutter

The best home photos have enough items in them that a potential buyer can get a “feel” for the size of a room, but not so much that they get distracted by your possessions. Clear off your counter-tops, remove excessive knickknacks, and clear the floor of unnecessary objects.


 
room with blinds open
 
2). Let the Light In

How do you perceive a home that’s dark and shadowy? Scary, creepy, or just not right? Few things will put off a buyer than the impression that your home doesn’t have a lot of light. If you have blinds or curtains, open them! Overhead lighting? Turn it on! No overhead lighting? Grab some lamps (and set them up outside the frame). Natural light is the best for taking pictures and modern cameras have adapted remarkably well to preventing the wash-out effect that film cameras often faced. If you’re taking exterior pictures, schedule a time to take them where the sun will be behind you. If possible, otherwise about 1.5 hours before sunset seems to be the magical photo time. While it shouldn’t make a difference, having a sunny day or a pretty sunset will actually attract more attention to your listing than an overcast day will.
 

photo of house at dusk with lights on
 
3). Night Light Can be the Right Light

If your house looks good at night, show it off! While the night look isn’t for every home, homes with many windows and thoughtful landscaping look great when showcased at night, just don’t forget to also include daytime pictures!


photo of room shot from corner
 
4). Nobody Puts Baby in the Corner (Unless it’s a Real Estate Shot!)

Most often you’ll find that pictures taken from a corner are the most flattering. You’ll be able to include more of the room than in a picture taken from the middle of a wall. Additionally, room will appear actual-sized (if not larger), and visually it’s just more interesting.
 


 
5). Keep it Classy (and Legal!)

Some of the funniest “real estate fail” photos come from what people didn’t mean to take a picture of. Maybe it’s your reflection (sans pants) in the window or the unkempt state of your bathroom or any number of other didn’t-even-think-of-that things. Though, funny (and failing) is not what you’re going for here. Before you share your photos, it’s a good idea to have a friend look over them to make sure that there are no gross, funny, or illegal items shown in any part of your photos.


 
woman's hand while looking at photos online
 
6). Take More Than You Need

You should always take more photos than you need. If one turns out blurry or off-kilter you’ll have backup. It might turn out that the antique vent covers and wide woodwork that you rarely think about are actually the charming pièce de résistance that your buyers were hoping for. Having photos of close up details as well as broad photos will help you decide what the best features of your home might be.
 
Don’ts

 
1). Don’t Wait

While you may think that you need a fancy, expensive camera with all the bells and whistles, don’t let that stop you! It is very, very difficult to sell a property these days without photos as most buyers start their search online. While you will still get a better photo from an SLR professional-quality camera, the camera you’re using is much less important compared to how your shots are set up and any photos you can add will greatly help reach buyers.
 

2). Don’t Pretend

While you want to showcase your home in the best light, don’t be disingenuous with your photos. Don’t use a wide-angle lens (like those found in GoPro cameras or filters available for other camera models) to make the rooms appear larger or frame your shots to exclude the neighbor’s home that’s this close to your home. Keep in mind that buyers will be seeing your home in real life and you don’t want to waste your time or theirs with the wrong expectations. The same rule applies to photo editing. Yes, you want your real estate photos to stand out, but no, this is not the time for 45° angle shots or crazy, unnatural filters. Likewise, changing the brightness or contrast of a photo is fine, but completely transforming your room via Photoshop is not.
 

3). Don’t Forget the Good Stuff

When you list your home for sale, you’re also going to need to have a description of your property. Depending where you have your home posted, these descriptions may be keyword searchable meaning you’ll want to talk up the biggest selling points of your home, but don’t stop there. Make sure you have photos to back it up! Nothing is worse than a description saying that a home has a “lavish and unique wine cellar” with no picture to go along with it.
 

4). Don’t be Afraid to Stage

Sure, you don’t always have your dining room table set for formal dinner, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t for your photos! No matter who buys your home, they’re going to have different decor and tastes than you, so your job isn’t to make your rooms look like your rooms, you just need them to look the best they can be. Need to borrow a painting from another room? Do it! Want to move a television set out of your kid’s bedroom? Do it! There’s nothing wrong with changing your decor to attract a buyer!
 

Things Your Real Estate Agent Can’t Tell You

5 things agents can’t tell you (and how to find out yourself)

Using a real estate agent is a great way to avoid many of the headaches (and potential heartaches!) associated with buying or selling a home. As part of their services they can help you appropriately price your home, negotiate on your behalf, and their access to an MLS –an exclusive network of property listings– can help you sell your home or find the right one before the general public ever sees it. But, as licensed professionals, there are some things that your agent can’t tell you.

Not won’t tell you, but legally or ethically, I’m-sorry-but-I-really-cannot-tell-you.

Now that doesn’t mean you’re on your own and just have to hope for the best, though. For that information, you’re going to have to do some of the digging yourself. Here are the 5 surprising things your real estate agent can’t tell you.

“This area is great for young families!”

This one seems so innocent and well-intentioned, but is actually illegal! Maybe you passed a park on the way to the home or noticed the nearby elementary school, but whether you’re looking to live in an area where your kids can roam with the neighbors or you’re trying to avoid children altogether, your agent isn’t allowed to tell you who lives in the area.

Reasoning: Under the 1968 Fair Housing Act, family structure is a protected class meaning a comment like this could dissuade older couples or a single party from the property, making it illegal.

How to find your answers: If driving through the area isn’t an option, Google maps is one of the best tools for doing neighborhood recon. Simply type in the address of the property you’re looking at and check out the area you’re interested in. Are there parks and schools nearby or is it in a more industrial area? Is the area filled with side streets and cul de sacs or is it on one of the main roads? Depending on what you’re looking for you may want to switch your search based on what you see.

“You don’t want to live in that area. That’s where the [nationality, gender, age group] live!”

In addition to not telling you where to live based on the demographics, your agent also cannot tell you not to live somewhere because of the people in the neighborhood.

Reasoning: As mentioned above, the Fair Housing Act prevents any discriminatory statements based on protected classes.

How to find your answers: You can find out more about the general demographics of an area by checking out the US Census Bureau’s website. This tool, with most recent studies being from 2016 can tell you the age, sex, and race of the population down to a zip code level.

“Are you sure you’re interested in that area? It’s pretty high crime.”

While you might think that an agent saying this is just looking out for you, this is another no-no statement. Crime statistics are public information, but because crime rates often lead to conclusions about the racial makeup of an area, your agent is best protected by letting you find your own conclusions.

Reasoning: Race is a protected class under the Fair Housing Act and whether it’s the intention or not, discussing the crime rate of a particular area could lead to assumptions about the racial makeup of that area.

How to find your answers: If finding out about crime in an area is of particular interest to you there are plenty of free sources to look. The National Sex Offender Public Website (NSOPW) offers a location-based lookup that links the data from public state, territorial, and tribal sex offender websites. To find incident-level crime lookup, you may have to check a couple of website as not every jurisdiction reports to every available site. Here are some good ones to start with: MyNeighborhoodUpdate, CrimeReports, SpotCrime, and NeighborhoodWatchDog. You can also check the website of the local police station as they may provide a link to the crime mapping site they use.

Buying home is an emotional time. It’s a big investment with a lot on the line, but having an agent you trust can make all the difference. Ready to take the leap and connect with a top agent? Check out Cashifyd, a program offered by RealtyHive that connects you with top local agents who offer cash back incentives when you buy or sell your home.