Curious About Your Home’s Value?

Curious About Your Home's Value?

Homeowners are often surprised (to put it mildly) when they receive their annual statement from the local tax appraiser’s office.  The assessed value of a home can be very different than what they believe the property is worth.  Now’s a great time to take a look at the difference between two common real estate terms: “Assessed Value” and “Market Value.”

The Assessed Value is the dollar value assigned to a property by a public tax assessor for the purposes of measuring applicable taxes. The number is very often a point of contention with homeowners, who may believe it to be too high or too low. The Assessed Value does not offer a shortcut to a home’s Market Value, and – contrary to what some might think and in a way makes logical sense – the Assessed Value is not used to price a house when a seller wants to sell or when a buyer wants to buy.

The Market Value is the highest estimated price a property will bring in a reasonable amount of time if exposed for sale on the open market. Market Value is influenced by such factors as homes that recently sold in the area, the location of the property, the home’s amenities and updates, and the condition of the property. And of course, Market Value is also influenced by the sometimes ugly e-word – the economy. 😉

Knowing generally what your home’s Assessed Value should be is important, because 1) that value is what determines your property tax amount, and 2) as citizen you have the right to protest the Assessed Value in order to (ideally) decrease the taxes you are required to pay. And heads up…if you wish to protest 08d23b09caa985ca09220ee24bc70dcfyour property tax assessment you must do so by May 15, 2018, or 30 days after a tax notice is delivered, whichever is later. Do you think your Assessed Value is too high?  You can find out in two easy steps…first click HERE to subscribe to this fabulous blog (full of great real estate info – just scroll down on right side of screen to “Follow Blog via Email”, then click here to request a Property Tax Evaluation from me! I’ll send it within 48 hours or it’s FREE…just kidding, it’s free anyway, but seriously, I’ll get it to you in two days of you making the request.  I’m happy to do this for you because I always want to be your FIRST and BEST choice for real estate info, whether you or someone you know is wanting to buy, sell, or needs something house-related. 🙂

Also, check out one of my dreamy listings in Dallas!

5547 Ledgestone Drive, Dallas, TX 75214

 

MLS# 14060276

5 ‘Affordable’ Ways to Make a Home Look Expensive

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5010 Lake Forest Drive, Rowlett – Hip Pocket Listing

If you know me at all and know how I sell real estate, you have definitely heard me talk about how important staging a home for sale is. When selling a house, pricing and marketing go hand-in-hand to get you the highest price…when getting a house READY to sell, staging and photography go hand-in-hand to get you the highest price!  As part of the staging process, it’s vital to make a home look high fashion without paying the cost of high fashion. How do you get that look without spending a bunch of money on things for a home you’re about to sell?  Here Stephanie Decker of Staged Marin Homes describes her top 5 ways to achieve this look…

1. Use One Expensive Piece In Each Room. In order to make a room look high fashion, you have to believe that it is, even when it isn’t. The way to do this is to incorporate one expensive, well-positioned piece in each room.  It can be a piece of art, a table or piece of China. I will position it where the focal point is so that when the buyer first walks into the room, this is what they see first. Then, they just assume that everything else is expensive too.

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5010 Lake Forest Drive, Rowlett – Hip Pocket Listing

2. Use White. White will always be a staple that home stagers use. It gives the look of light, cleanliness, and an open space. I love white moldings, cabinets, and doors. I also love white lamps, accessories, and linens.  White is easy to clean and can also be bought very cheaply but made to look expensive. One of my favorite stores to find great white accessories is Z Gallery.  Using inexpensive white pieces on an expensive table is my favorite trick! It highlights the table while filling the space.

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5010 Lake Forest Drive, Rowlett – Hip Pocket Listing – The white vase makes the rich wood stand out!

3. Look At What Can Be Recycled. To bring fashion back into your home, you might see if you can re-cover your old upholstered furniture. Recently, I had a club chair that had just lost its will to live. The fabric was worn and the cushions no longer were able to hold their shape. To replace it would cost more than $4,000 for a comparable chair. But this old chair still had great lines, and I didn’t want to part with it so I decided to recover it instead. The cheapest way is to have it slip-covered. You can buy one at stores like Bed Bath & Beyond or have one made.  I decided to have it re-upholstered. I needed 10 yards of fabric, and I found a local shop to do the work (driving the piece myself to and from the shop) for less than $1,500 total. The key is to buy a good chair. Then, it will only need a little maintenance over the years. Plus, remember: it’s better for the environment to recycle rather than throw away an old chair.

4. Rotate Color. Each season the design world changes the “IT” color. This spring is turquoise and champagne; last year it was lavender and fuchsia. A good way to make a home look in-style is to have that in-style color. This can be in a pillow, a throw, a candle, or a vase. Whatever your budget, you always can find something with the fashion “it” color. (Read: Add Some Punch With This Year’s Hot Hue or Pillow Power)  To stay abreast of the latest “in” colors you can look online at Web sites like Pantone.com or home sites like Williams Sonoma Home. I like to walk into a store to get the feel and touch. Pottery Barn or Crate & Barrel are good places since they rotate their floor inventory so quickly that it’s easy to catch up on the new color.  Then, I go to Cost Plus or Pier One to find accent pieces cheaply. You don’t want to pay full price for these items since this year’s “it” color will be next year’s color.

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5010 Lake Forest Drive, Rowlett – Hip Pocket Listing – Look at that punch of color on those chairs!

5. Buy One Month After the Season Starts. It’s important to not get lured into buying new things as soon as the new season starts. You can window-shop to get your plan for the season plan, but if you wait 4 to 6 weeks, it will likely go on sale. I know this can be difficult when you get that first beautiful summer day and you’re biting at the bit to set up your garden for that summer BBQ. But in reality, that summer BBQ won’t start for another month.

Adapted from an article by Stephanie Decker, Staged Marin Homes 

This is such great advice for getting your home ready to stage and sell!  As a realtor, I actually have a storage unit where I keep what I call “fluff” items, for homes that need a little something extra on the day of staging. Be sure to ask your real estate agent about these kinds of services when you choose an agent to help you sell your home! Or better yet, just call me. 😉

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5010 Lake Forest Drive, Rowlett – Hip Pocket Listing. CONTACT ME FOR MORE INFORMATION OR FOR A PRIVATE SHOWING FOR THIS HOME!

 

The Housing Market Will “Spring Forward” This Year!

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Just like our clocks on Saturday night, March 10th that have to be moved forward one hour (ugh, I HATE losing an hour of precious sleep!), the housing market will soon “spring forward!” tooIf you envision how there’s tension in a spring, the lack of inventory available for sale has been holding back the market in a similar way.

Many potential sellers believe that waiting until Spring is in their best interest.  Traditionally, they would have been right, because Buyer demand does have a “seasonality” to it. Usually, it falls off in the winter months and reappears with the time change and the warmer temperatures.

That hasn’t happened this year.

Demand for housing has remained strong as mortgage rates have remained near historic lows. Even with an increase in rates forecasted for 2019, buyers are still able to lock in an extremely affordable monthly payment. And there are lots of buyers who are increasingly jumping into the market to secure a lower rate. So, sellers who act quickly and list now, before a flood of increased competition, will benefit from additional exposure to buyers.

Bottom Line

So what does all this mean for you?? Well, if you’re planning on selling your house in 2019, get in touch with me for more money for you. Hope to hear from you soon!

2019 Spring Forward

The KonMari Method: Helping You Prep Your House For Sale

The KonMari Method: Helping You Prep Your House For Sale | MyKCM

One of the biggest challenges for my sellers when we discuss listing their house is decluttering. It is so important to do though, because cleaning out some of the more personal decorating choices allows buyers to imagine themselves living in the home and makes them more likely to fall in love with it!

Marie Kondo, the inventor of the KonMari Method of Tidying Up, has become the newest, hottest guru in the “organizational world” and her decluttering process gained enormous popularity with her new Netflix series. She gives some great tips for sorting through years of accumulated possessions that we all collect in our homes.

“The KonMari Method™ encourages tidying by category – not by location – beginning with clothes, then moving on to books, papers, komono (miscellaneous items), and, finally, sentimental items. Keep only those things that speak to the heart, and discard items that no longer spark joy. Thank them for their service – then let them go.”

Can we all just take a moment and acknowledge the “thank them for their service” part of the process?? Love that!  And really, when you subjectively look at all of your belongings, you can pretty quickly identify the ones that mean the most to you. Not only will you increase space for more joy-bringing items in your new home, but you will also have a much easier time packing remaining belongings!

“Remember, tidying up isn’t about getting rid of stuff. It is about creating an environment that sparks joy and improves your quality of life.”

As I tell my sellers, first impressions matter so much when you’re selling your house – buyers don’t come back or make offers on homes that don’t WOW them. This is why making the most of the spaces in your house is so important.  This is also why part of my selling services for clients includes complimentary professional staging – I hire a professional stager to work in the house (usually for two or three hours) to situate furniture and items in the home. This allows the things in the home to highlight the home itself, to enhance the home, and not to be a distraction to buyers.

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Then the professional photographer comes and takes fabulous photos so that the home really shines online.  My advice to sellers is also that the way you stage a home is not for living, it’s for selling…it’s a way to look at your house with fresh eyes, as well as to begin emotionally distancing yourself from it being a “home” to it being a “house”.

There’s one other important piece to this too…when you sort through your more sentimental items, you can go ahead and pack them away to ensure that you know where they all are. That way, they are safe during the staging process and during showing appointments. This will also cut down on the amount of packing you have to do right before you sign the closing papers and make the actual move!

Bottom Line

Whether you are selling your house to move up to a larger one, downsizing, or moving in with family, only bring the items that truly spark joy for you. Proven Strategy for Home SellingThis will not only help cut down on the items you move, but also ensures that you’re off to a great start in your new home! And always consider professional staging when you’re selling – or better yet, just call me and I’ll provide fabulous real estate AND staging services FOR you.  Email me at HeatherSims@Ebby.com, call me at 214-549-7978, send me a carrier pigeon (sorry, no link for that) and let’s discuss my proven strategy for home selling!

Your House Should Be Like Bacon!

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Your house really should be like bacon, it’s as simple as that. How should it be like bacon?? You might be wondering.  Well, your home should make everything better. It should be your refuge and comfort at the beginning and end of every day, it should be where the people (and/or pets) you love are, it should be where you most LOVE to be.

If you’ve fallen out of love with your current home – or current situation in an apartment or rental – consider this…the market is still really good for both home sellers and home buyers. There may not be the frenzied level of selling that there was in the previous 2 or 3 years (like one of those crazy meat market singles bars!), but the market is strong.

Houses are only staying on market for an average of 30 days prior to contracting, and actually my stats are lower!  I think because of the professional staging and photography that I provide, plus proper market pricing, my listings do go under contract faster than the norm.

So, here’s the bottom line: if your house isn’t like bacon…if it doesn’t make everything better and you don’t LOVE it anymore, don’t take your chances on Realtor.com or some other random home-dating website. Nobody finds The One on those! Let me help you fall in LOVE with another home that’s a better fit, I bet I can find you your perfect match!

PLUS I can help you get your current home sold so that you can put that all equity (that you gained over the past few years that prices increased exponentially) to work for you in a home that works better for you.

Call me, I’ll be waiting by the phone like a lovesick teenager! Well, not really, but it seemed to fit in with this theme! 😉

-Heather Kinder Sims

5 Ways to Warm Your Home for Less

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Fabulous fireplace from my listing at 2733 Mayhew is a great combination of function and design – it heats up the home and looks cool at the same time.

OK, I know we’re in Texas, but with the brutally cold weather that’s come through in the past couple of days, plus the cold blasting the northern United States, I thought it was appropriate to talk about the best ways to heat your home.  Just like the heat of the summer can stretch your wallet with high AC bills, cold weather can test your home’s efficiency and, sometimes, significantly impact your wallet. Instead of having to pay those higher energy bills, try these six tips to stay warm this winter!

Set It Right

Programming your thermostat to let the temperature drop a bit while you’re away and heat up when you return is an easy way to save big on heating bills.

Let the Light Shine

Draw back curtains and blinds during the day to allow the sun to come in. A sunny day, even a cold one, will heat up rooms a few degrees.

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Light My Fire

A fireplace doesn’t have to just sit there and look good, it can actually be useful in heating up a home too. For gas fireplaces, turn the gas as low as you can while still getting the maximum amount of heat; that’ll give you the most heat (or bang) for your buck.

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Flip the Switch

Ceiling fans don’t necessarily need to be off during colder months. If you flip the directional switch on your fan and choose a low speed, it will push the naturally rising hot air in your home back down.

Mind the Gap

(Can you hear the English accent as you read that?!) Check windows and doors for cracks, gaps, and openings. Replace weatherstripping around doors, replace broken glass on windows, repair cracked window and door frames, and caulk (it’s like duct tape, it’s good for everything!) where necessary.

Closing

(That is most realtors’ favorite word!) If you spend more time in some rooms than others, simply close doors to trap the heat. Additionally, if there are rooms you don’t use, shut doors and vents to redirect heat.

Are you finding that you may want to change the entire environment of your home by selling and buying a new one?! Please don’t hesitate to get in touch. 🙂

Etiquette For Home Sellers

Happy New Year! Here’s to 2019 being your best year ever!  I thought I’d start off the year with a blog about home selling, hope you enjoy it.

If you’ve contemplated listing your home for sale and you’ve watched any kind of HGTV show, you probably already know that your house needs to be cleaned and staged as if Architectural Digest were stopping by for a photo shoot. But, the house itself isn’t the only thing under scrutiny…you are, too. No matter how nice your house is, you are an important factor in affecting how potential buyers feel about making an offer.

Here are a few etiquette “rules” that I share with home sellers…following these are the best way to show, and ultimately sell, a house.

Leave the home during showings or an open house – This is the #1 most important rule. Prospective buyers and their agent will appreciate the freedom to view the home without having to censor their thoughts and feelings because they’re worried about what the seller might hear). If a seller works from home, the best thing to do is just step outside for a little while – go for a short drive, walk the dog, grab a Starbucks, anything, just make yourself scarce for a period of time enough for buyers to make themselves at home.

Take your pets with you (or crate them if that’s the only option) – Ideally, pets should be removed from the house. If that’s just not possible, corralling the pet is important and is a good secondary option.  If coralling is the choice, a crate is best or a relatively insignificant spot in the home can be used. Bottom line is that not everyone will like your pet (gasp!) – some may be intimidated by animals and actually you never really can be 100% sure how your pet will act if they’re left out to wander around the house with strangers.

Move your car – This is primarily for curb appeal, and is especially important for cars that park on the street in front of the house. Also, a vacant garage look more spacious, too.

Be polite but don’t get into conversation – If you happen to run into buyers and agents, be nice but don’t get into detailed conversations about the house. For example, asking about what buyers thought about your house puts them on the spot, and the last thing you want is for a buyer to be uncomfortable in your house. Also, you never know if something you offhandedly say might make an interested buyer rethink how much they really like the house.

Be willing to negotiate – Everyone wants top dollar for their home, but an unwillingness to negotiate may inhibit a possible sale and keep your home on the market long after you hoped it would be sold. And remember, most of the time, the first offer is the best!

Selling a home can be complicated, but I am here to help you every step of the way!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Do Kids’ Opinions Matter When Buying a Home?

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A recent survey conducted by Harris Poll and released by SunTrust Mortgage found that “55% of homeowners with a child under the age of 18 at the time when they purchased their home said that the opinion of their offspring played a major role in their home buying decision.”

When the results were broken down by the parent’s age, millennials (those 18-36) led the way with 74% of homeowners saying that their child’s opinion was a factor in choosing which home to buy. Eighty-three percent of renters believe that their child’s opinion would be a deciding factor when looking to purchase a home.

So what features in a home are most important to kids?

Parents Say Kids’ Opinions Matter Big When Buying a Home | MyKCM

Coming in at 57%, it should come as no surprise that gaining their own bedrooms was the top most-desirable feature of any home for kids, followed by a large backyard to play in at 34%.

Todd Chamberlain, Head of Mortgage Banking at SunTrust explained the reasoning behind the survey,

“As a parent of two kids, I know from experience that including children in the home buying process is not only fun for the whole family, but also educational for our homebuyers of tomorrow.”

Bottom Line

If you’re thinking about selling your home this year, make sure to highlight all the kid-friendly features your home has to offer so that you can sway the real decision makers – the kids!

Where Are Mortgage Interest Rates Headed In 2019?

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The interest rate you pay on your home mortgage has a direct impact on your monthly payment; the higher the rate, the greater the payment will be. That is why it is important to know where rates are headed when deciding to start your home search.

Below is a chart created using Freddie Mac’s U.S. Economic & Housing Marketing Outlook. As you can see, interest rates are projected to increase steadily over the course of the next year.

Where Are Mortgage Interest Rates Headed In 2019? | MyKCM

How Will This Impact Your Mortgage Payment?

Depending on the amount of the loan that you secure, a half of a percent (.5%) increase in interest rate can increase your monthly mortgage payment significantly.

According to CoreLogic’s latest Home Price Index, national home prices have appreciated 6.2% from this time last year and are predicted to be 5.1% higher next year.

If both the predictions of home price and interest rate increases become a reality, families would wind up paying considerably more for their next homes.

Bottom Line

Even a small increase in interest rate can impact your family’s wealth, so don’t wait until next year! Let’s get together to evaluate your ability to purchase your dream home now.

DID YOU KNOW?

FINDING A HOME IS EASIER THAN EVER!

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It’s now easier than ever to find a home, thanks to the Ebby Halliday Companies. The firm’s websites, ebby.com, daveperrymiller.com and williamstrew.com as well as my personal website www.heatherkindersims.com provide these popular search features:

Proximity Search – finds homes for sale within your selected distance of a specific location or landmark.

Map Search – you can use the polygon tool to draw the boundaries of your unique search and display every home listed for sale within that area.

School Search – locate a home within the attendance area of a school district or even a particular school.

Open House tour – create your own custom open house tour complete with routes and driving directions.

Advanced Search – allows you to add specific features: pool, media room, etc. Or, you can search for homes that have been reduced in price.

For even more options, visit my website at www.heatherkindersims.com and click on the tab “Find a Home” or just contact me if you need any help!

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