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Will 2013 be a Good Year in Real Estate?

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I recently spoke with Keller-Williams Real Estate agent Ron Chun Foo regarding how the market has performed in 2012 and where it’s headed in 2013.  Ask Realtors across the nation and they will tell you that 2012 market was markedly better than that of the previous year.  Foo tells us that that the market seems to be stabilizing, a direct result of fewer short sales and foreclosures. “There’s less competition among availability of homes, as there are fewer homes on the market,” he explains. “People are no longer rushing to sell their homes, and they’re not rushing to move into something larger as they have in the past. They’re starting to stay put.” Many people would like to sell but they simply don’t have enough equity in their homes to be able to do so yet.

The most important thing Foo tells me, as any good realtor will tell you, is to price your home well. “The bulk of it is pricing and the condition of your home.” He urges all potential sellers to declutter their homes. “When you put your house on the market you have to have the mindset that it is no longer your home. It should be generic. Photographs and anything of a personal nature should be packed up and put away. A house becomes a saleable product. You are not selling your home, you are selling a product and you must approach it as such.”

Foo believes that social media outlets like Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest are great ways to promote houses for sale. “Social media should absolutely be a part of the equation,” he says. “If you’re not using these outlets you’re losing potential traffic and buyers.” Today’s buyers spend a good deal of time searching and researching online. They are internet and social media savvy.

These buyers look to design blogs and real estate blogs for ideas and know how.  Many real estate companies and realtors have websites, but aren’t taking full advantage of the other tools offered. This can potentially cause a company to fall behind and lose valuable customers. Times have changed, the market has changed, the buyer has changed… If you don’t keep up you will fall behind.

Foo tells us that “There’s a bit of a shift in the market as it’s starting to turn into a buyer’s market.  We’re venturing into new territory as we’ve not seen a market like this before. For the time being we will have to sit and wait to see what happens in the next couple of months before we really know whether it will be a seller’s market or not.” According to Foo and other realtors I have spoken with the spring market is just around the corner and it looks to be promising indeed.

February’s market was favorable and the houses that were priced properly were not sitting. They moved quickly, sometimes in a matter of a couple of days and have been receiving multiple offers. “We haven’t seen this in a long time. Inventory is at an all-time low which is also driving the price up,” says Foo.

Foo believes that this could possibly be the best Spring market in a long time. “The inventories are at an all time low and there are plenty of buyers out there” He believes that we are returning to a normal market place. A normal market place is when a buyer can buy a home at fair market price. Fair market price means that a home is properly priced.

By contrast, we’ve just come out of a buyer’s market, where the buyer had the power (to a certain degree) to dictate how a house could be priced.  Now we see the tides turning and the buyer must comply with the pricing set by the sellers. In the past several years the buyers could make an offer based on 20-30% of asking and now those offers won’t be considered.

Foo tells us that a motivated seller will move a home much faster than a non motivated seller.  “A home must be presentable and  ready to be sold, no matter what the market. If painting needs to be done, do it. If you choose not to, it will cost you more in the long run.” Spend a little money where it is needed to ready your home for a sale, and you will be able to command top dollar when you are ready to sell it. Foo warns that by opting not to make small fixes and changes to your home you’ll get less for the asking price. It’s worth it to put the time and the money into fixing up your home. It will be worth the small investment.  In the end, whether a home sells or not, it comes down to now motivated the buyer is.

Foo informs us that different parts of the country are recovering at different paces depending on the local market and the local economies. Local economies can vary greatly. “Hurricane Sandy has greatly impacted the New York and New Jersey markets. People have been displaced from their homes and they are looking to get into rentals for temporary housing, but the rental market is saturated and there are very few to come by. Foo is witnessing a quick sale of the lower priced homes,  that are often beign purchased for cash.

These smaller homes are being fixed up quickly and then turned into rental properties. At this juncture there’s an enormous opportunity for investors in the lower price point home. Meanwhile, according to the National Association of Realtors, the market in the West and in Florida is seeing a great deal of activity.

The current low interest rates and low asking prices create what Foo describes as “the perfect storm”. Foo  hopes  that now things will start to move up. Now is the time to buy if you can afford to buy a new home. If you can move up, now is the time to do so.

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Let’s get started with some styling inspiration from Urban Outfitters, a brand that offers an interesting array of wall-mounted shelving options. Many of them celebrate the best of geo style. Below we see a trio of shelving solutions, including the Bryn Mountain Display Shelf, pictured at the top right of the photo. Note how each of these shelves holds “like items,“ such as rocks, jewelry and other natural wonders. The styling of this Geo Triangle Shelf proves there’s power in empty space. You may be tempted to fill every square inch of your decorative shelving, but remember that sometimes less is more.

Don’t worry about making your shelf picture-perfect. Displaying a collection of toys is a simple, eye-catching solution, and the resulting vignette just might double as wall art! Below we see the Radial Wall Shelf from The Land of Nod. To cut down on the cluttered look, try grouping items by color! These Color Bar Ledges from The Land of Nod make the job easy. Use the shelves themselves to create an artful wall vignette, especially if you purchase intriguing pieces like these Shape Shifter Wall Shelves. This Land of Nod hinged metal shelving allows for a range of configurations, from rectangles to arrows. And don’t forget about creative ideas such as placing patterned paper at the back of your shelving to create a vibrant backdrop. These Honeycomb Wall Shelves are styled with shades of turquoise. Do you have any shelf styling tips to share? Leave a comment below.

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