Selling A Vacation Home

Massoud Aaron Yashouafar Vacation Homes California

Selling your vacation home, much like any property, can be bitter sweet. Perhaps you’ve inherited the property from a lost relative or maybe you’re just looking to downsize. Whatever the reasoning, ensure the sale is more sweet with these tips.

Spruce Up Your Landscaping

Buyers looking for a vacation home, more often than not, aren’t looking for a fixer upper. They’re looking for a second home where they can get away and relax. A good portion of vacation homes are used during the summer months, when the weather is warm and people spend the majority of their time outside. This is why by simply revitalizing your landscaping, it will pay dividends in the long run. Renovate both your front and back yard by adding lush grass and flower beds. The front yard is most important as it’s the first impression for buyers. Ensure your flower beds are neat, lively, and colorful. When working in the backyard try and arrange an inviting seating area where buyers can imagine entertaining their guests. There are few things less appealing to a buyer than a dead or overgrown yard that is barren and unkept.

Keep The Interior Cleared and Comfortable

When people imagine their vacation home, they think of a relaxing space that is comfortable. A first priority should be decluttering your home as much as possible, make the living space open and inviting. Try a minimalistic approach, with decor that is neutral and plays off the exterior of the property. If your vacation home is near the water, incorporate some nautical elements. Even if that isn’t your style, it alludes to the vacation lifestyle that buyers desire.  If the property is in a warmer environment, ensure the interior is cool and blends into the outdoor space. Buyers want to envision themselves enjoying their time in the sun, thus, a conjoined living space is most ideal.

Choose The Right Realtor

Despite the type of property, when you’re choosing a realtor to sell your home, ensure it’s someone that’s very familiar with the market. Ideally, you should choose a company that specializes in vacation homes, advertising outside the area to interested markets. Try and interview several realtors before making a decision, checking references for each.

 

Whether you’re selling to make a profit or upgrading to a bigger home, you always want to get the best price. It’s important that you’re conscious of the type of property that you’re selling. If you wish to appeal to buyers in the vacation home market, then you’ll want to be mindful of their desires. Follow these tips and make the process less bitter and more sweet.  

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Credit Scores and First-Time Homebuyers

Massoud Aaron Yahsouafar Credit Scores

We’ve been discussing the decline in first time home buyers for some time now. At a historically low 30%, first-time home buyers are having more issues than one when it comes to purchasing a house. In earlier blogs of mine I reflected on several factors which have contributed to the decline including student debt and rising rental prices. Another factor which seems to be at play here is credit scores.

At one point in time being approved for a mortgage was essentially a walk in the park. Unfortunately, being approved for a mortgage in today’s economy has proven to be a bit more challenging. CNBC.com recently reported on a survey from Experian where first-time homebuyers where asked to share their reservations when it comes to applying for a mortgage in conjunction with their credit score. Of those surveyed, a third of potential first-time homebuyers felt as though their credit score might hurt their ability to buy a home, 45% claimed they have delayed the process to first improve their credit.

In the article for cnbc.com, Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of Realtors shared her position on situation at hand, “With rents steadily rising and average fixed rates well below 4 percent, qualified first-time buyers should be more active participants than what they are right now,”. Yun’s opinion is correct in that today’s real estate market, mortgage payments are cheaper than rents in some areas. Unfortunately, without securing a reasonable credit score, potential first -time homebuyers will be stuck paying those alarming rents.

While your credit score has always been a considerable factor in the mortgage application process, it now has a more substantial impact in your outcome. If you’re looking to purchase a home, it’s best to consider your credit score early on. Focus on paying your bills on time and paying down as much debt as you can. Banks want to see that you’re financially responsible and stable prior to approving you for a mortgage, the sooner you get ahead of it, the better.

 

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The End Of The Urban Boom

The millennial age is considered to be those born between 1980 and 2000, they’re also considered to be the most influential generation in society today. Millennials’ preference and actions essentially shape our economy, including the real estate market. In an earlier blog of mine, I reflected on the housing market in 2015. Last year first-time home buyers accounted for a mere 32% of sales, which according to The Wall Street Journal, was an all time low in nearly three decades.

There were, and still are, a number of factors as to why the percentage of first-time buyers on the market has dropped significantly over the years. For one, millenials are more prone to get married and start a family later on in life compared to previous generations. Thus, they’re not looking for a home until, roughly, their thirties. The Great Recession also played a significant role in the millennial choice. As it was more difficult to find a secure job, with substantial pay, millennials were more or less forced to rent property in urban areas. In combination with rising student debt, millennials simply could not afford a home, even if they wanted. This was considered to be the beginning of the urban boom, where cities experienced a dramatic influx in population and rents soared to record highs.

Fortunately, for both the housing market and the economy, the millennial generation is growing up, they’re now considered to be those between the ages of 36 and 16. As the millennial age matures, and the economy bounces back from the recession, we’re seeing a bit of a shift in the millennial “preference”. While millenials were once believed to prefer urban living, demographer William Frey, suggested to fortune.com that millennials were “‘stuck’ in cities” while they endured the slow economic recovery.

An urban planning professor at USC, Dowell Myers, recently suggested this shift in millennial preference. Myers shared his opinion at the University of Texas City Forum last month, reflecting on those “peak” millennials who turned 25 last year. As those peak millennials begin to start families and become more successful in their careers, the urban boom we once knew, will inevitably recess.

Population is growing faster in suburban areas, compared to urban counties, which reiterates what Myers is suggesting. So perhaps it’s the end of the urban boom. Perhaps come 2025, when the tail end of the millennial age reaches 25, suburbanization will be in high-gear. Gone will be the days of booming cities; where young professionals flock to urban areas for the bustling nightlife and innovative culture. If those urban areas wish to keep their lively reputation, they’ll want to conform a bit, to appeal to the fleeing millennial age.

 

Check back for more blogs from Massoud Aaron Yashoufar on the real estate market!

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Marketing Strategy For Real Estate Professional

Massoud Aaron Yashouafar

In today’s society the internet can ultimately make or break a business. The way a business markets their brand has drastically changed over the past 25 years. Your online presence is essential to your success, utilizing the right outlets and optimizing your properties can substantially change the audience you reach. For real estate agents, knowing the ins and outs of content marketing is crucial for success!

Having a fully optimized website is the first rule of thumb for a successful content marketing strategy. This property operates as the focal point of your business and where all aspects of your strategy point to. First decipher what your search term is, what keywords do most people search for when looking up your business or your brand? Find a domain that incorporates those search terms best. You want to ensure your website is fully flushed out, complete with a professional bio (which includes your search term), contact page, and a page for your consistent content to live. Adding images and videos to your website is essential for engagement, your audience is more likely to stay on your page given visual aspects.

Search engines take in a number of aspects when it comes to ranking properties, such as the life of the property (how long your website has been live), activity on the property (how often are there updates to the site), quality of content (is the information provided on your website unique and informative to users). Often times adding a blog page, where you discuss various aspects of your industry, real estate, and offer readers an opinion, search engines tend to acknowledge the authority of your site. You don’t necessarily have to update your website every day, but posting blogs as often as possible this encourages search engines to rank your website higher.

Finally you’ll want to expand your audience through social media outlets. Social media is a crucial component in reaching your target audience. Make sure your brand is present on the major platforms (FaceBook, Twitter, Instagram), connect and engage with your target market. Be sure to link back to your site, where your relevant content, should captivate your audience!

 

Check back for more tips on expanding your brand from Massoud Aaron Yashouafar!

 

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Real Estate Trends For 2016

No one person can truly predict the future of the housing market for 2016, however, as we’re two months in, we’ve seen an abundance of reports on what’s to expect for the year. So, what is aligned in these reports and what are my thoughts?

There’s a common thread in most of these reports, secondary cities are growing. The popular central hubs, especially for commercial real estate, such as New York and Los Angeles aren’t as appealing as they once were. For one, more and more millennials are seeing the value in suburban living. Not everyone is keen on living in the city without the greenery and space. Thus, places such as Portland, Austin, and Nashville are seeing a an influx in traffic into their cities.

The appeal of these cities is frankly a no-brainer. For one, they get an abundance of space, compared to that of New York City or San Francisco. The cost of living also improves dramatically for those moving away from these central hubs. Moreover, we’re seeing more tech companies are choosing to build their business in a more cost-effective area, thus the more jobs available for millennials. In most cases, these up and coming cities are a short distance from these central hubs, yet a fraction of the cost.

Another trend we’re seeing is the development of more affordable housing options. 2015 was a difficult year as far as rates of homeownership, ending at 63.5 percent. What we’re seeing now is more companies are choosing to develop more rental properties, to cater to the overwhelming demand. There’s been experiments involving micro housing, which is defined as 350 square feet or smaller. According to an article from curbed.com, highlighting a study from Urban Land Institute, young professionals are attracted to the opportunity of saving 20-30 percent on rent.

Of the articles published, these two ideas seem to be the general consensus for most, and it makes sense. We’re in a time where millennials simply can’t afford to live in the central hubs of America and are desperately looking for alternative options. Check back here for more real estate trends in 2016!

 

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The Holiday Season in Real Estate

It’s no surprise that the real estate market tends to slip a bit in the weeks between Thanksgiving and New Years. People are shopping for the holidays and have put their home searches on the back burner. What most people don’t realize is this, is in fact, the best time to buy a house!

With the stresses of the holiday season, it’s a rarity to find many new listings. The market becomes rather stagnant and both buyers and sellers are in the holiday mindset. If you’re looking to buy a home, doing so during these last few days of the holiday season might just be your golden ticket.

As stated in a new Forbes article, home prices rose 6% in 2015, likely due to the lack of inventory on the market. Typically, home prices rise an average of 3% to 5% per year. In a graph depicted in Lawrence Yun’s article, you see a telling dip in median home prices during the winter months each year. This consistent dip is a buyers most fruitful opportunity.

Another contributing factor to this annual slope, aside from the holiday season, is home buyers and their families. It’s far from usual for a family to take their children out of their school district in the middle of the year. Home buyers with large families, who even might be looking to expand their family, are often the ones selling the smaller, lower cost homes. They’re also likely to be the most interested buyers for a larger home, so as they’re preoccupied with the season that leaves the market with fewer listings and fewer prospective buyers.

Between the holiday season and the school year, there are fewer buyers shopping over the holiday season for a new home. In turn, this causes for houses to stay on the market for a longer period of time, which ultimately depletes home value. Whether it be desperation to get the house off the market or simply holiday cheer, buyers tend to get a better deal during this time of year.

So, if you’ve been contemplating purchasing a home over the past several weeks, now would be the best time to do so. As shown in the graph, after the new year, median home prices tend to skyrocket until July. Take advantage of the ‘low point’ we’re currently in and buy yourself a new home!

 

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The Housing Market in 2015

As 2015 draws to an end what is there to say about the real estate market this year? We’ve seen an affordable market in the first quarter, a record breaking low in first-time home buyers, a spike in real estate apps, and an increase of investments in the western market.

11942838024_d6f763f046_n 2015 marks a big year in technology for real estate agents. As outlined in my slideshare presentation, there are increasingly more apps out there for consumers to utilize when buying a home. Not surprisingly, in a survey by Surveys Monkey, 21 percent of people purchased a home without ever even being inside of it. Apps like Pixeet and Surefield offer real estate agents the ability to give potential buyers a virtual tour of any home in an instant. Buyers also have the convenience of viewing homes and market descriptions on Trulia, Zillow, and Lovely. A newer app to hit the market, Homesnap, allows for buyers to simply take a “snap” of a home that’s for sale and receive property information without ever speaking to a real estate agent or stepping inside. As technology progresses so will the real estate market, thus there is no surprise that in 2015, more people purchased a home without ever actually being inside.

Another big takeaway from the 2015 real estate market was the number of first-time home buyers. According to the Wall Street Journal, first-time home buyers fell to a record breaking 32% of all purchases this year, an all time low in nearly three decades. The general consensus on why the younger generation isn’t investing in a home, was the amount of debt they’ve acquired with student loans. While the millennials are struggling to put money aside, in hopes of saving for a down payment, rents have increased by 20% according to economists. So while the housing market is rising, rents are too, which essentially is making it impossible for millennials to pay their bills and save for a mortgage.

Despite this troubling reality, the housing market in the first quarter was the most affordable in over 2 years. According to RealtyTrac, the housing market was twice as affordable in the beginning of 2015 than in the second quarter of 2006. Wages have increased 34% while the average cost of a home is 12% lower than a decade ago. Interest rates on a 30 year fixed rate mortgage has dropped 13% from 4.34% in 2014 to 3.77% in 2015. “Affordability is improving in most markets thanks to falling interest rates and slowing home price growth,” said Daren Blomquist, VP of RealtyTrac. So, considering all of this, there really hasn’t been a better time to invest in a home than in 2015.

As there are only a few weeks left in the year one can assume the housing market will stay rather stagnant, what’s more is the future of the market going into 2016 and beyond. Technology is only going to further advance and there will always be longevity in student loans. It’s a fair bet in saying that the percentage of people buying homes via computer or mobile device will only increase come 2017. Furthermore, predicting the percentage of first-time home buyers to continue to decrease is plausible seeing as higher education is becoming a more prominent asset when looking for a career. So next year, at this time, reports on the 2016 housing market will likely be just the same.

 

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