Zillow Vs. Reality

Zillow is a very popular Real Estate estimation service…but does popularity mean accuracy? 

As a real estate agent, I love helping people find, improve, sell or invest in real estate. I think I have the best job in the world. Every day, I get to walk alongside people who see a preferred future and have asked me to help them get to that preferred future. 

Along the way, I get to answer many, many questions. And questions about Zillow are usually the first ones I get to answer. 

 

Let’s clarify a few misconceptions about Zillow…

Since I am a positive person, I’ll start with Zillow’s positive attributes. Zillow brings together a ton of information in one place. If a buyer wants to make a first glance at the homes for sale in a given area, Zillow is thoroughly adequate. If someone wants statistics on how prices have changed in a zipcode over time… than Zillow works. 

If a buyer wants a quick look at square footage, room numbers and age of a home than again, Zillow gives some great information. 

Zillow’s proprietary calculations look at the LAST SALE price of a particular home and compare that price with CURRENT sale prices of similar homes in the area. From here, Zillow calculates their Zestimate. 

Oh, one other good point about Zillow is they clearly state that this is an estimate and not an actual value. 

Now, let’s talk about the reality. Zillow can not know if you have spent $60,000 on home improvements. Likewise, Zillow can’t tell if you have significant water damage, a crack in the foundation or an old roof. 

This is where real estate agents like myself come into the picture. We spend our days looking at and evaluating the values of a home. We are able to take into consideration the up-keep of a home. We are able to actually look at see that the shag carpet hasn’t been replaced since 1960. We look at comparable sales of homes in the neighborhood to give a true context to the prices that are requested. 

Also remember that Zillow is funded by ad revenue. Over inflating someone’s home value is a sure way to get people to bring their eyeballs back to a site. The more eyeballs Zillow delivers, the more money they can charge advertisers. 

Pricing your home for sale or knowing what price to pay for a home is what real estate professionals spend all our time discussing.  When the right time comes, give me a call and we will sit down and make sure your next real estate transaction is your best real estate transaction.  

Posted on May 1, 2020 at 4:02 pm
Maria Kalafatich | Category: Eatonville Real Estate, Fox Island Real Estate, Gig Harbor Real Estate, Olalla Real Estate, Port Orchard Real Estate, Puyallup Real Estate, Tacoma Real Estate, Union Real Estate | Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Curb Appeal is Sale Appeal

Curb AppealWhy is ‘Curb Appeal” such a big deal in getting your home sold? I’m glad you asked. This blog is a short primer on why the outside of your home matters almost as much as the inside! 

 

While HGTV gets great ratings on shows that talk about staging the INTERIOR of your home… I want to raise a quick flag about making sure the EXTERIOR of your home is equally considered when selling your home. 

 

Sadly, people do judge books by their covers. And buyers will PRE-judge your interior before ever seeing inside if they are taken back by the exterior. So let’s talk about some essentials.  

 

First, let’s agree on what exactly is curb appeal. In its most straightforward form, curb appeal is a subjective appreciation for a physical asset. Specifically, this refers to the level of attractiveness one may feel for a property when viewing it from the street. The house presents itself well, and all of the typical components are in place: the yard is well-kept, the paint is vibrant, the siding looks good, the roof is intact, and things are in order. Curb appeal sets expectations. Prospective buyers are more inclined to look inside if they like what they see on the outside. 

 

Everyone wants their home to have a “wow” factor… but let’s be honest; not every home will have that “wow” factor. But, at a minimum, your property shouldn’t turn off a vast majority of buyers. So, in many regards, our job here is to minimize any negative elements. 

 

 

Don’t be overwhelmed…most of these improvements aren’t too difficult. 

 

 

Driveway

 

Driveways full of weeds or cracks won’t present your property in the best light. Fixing this can be as easy as a bottle of weed spray and twenty minutes of labor. 

 

 

Roof

 

 

Few features will either turn away or attract prospective buyers more than a home’s roof. If the roof is old and has only a few years left, you will receive a positive return on your money by replacing it and trying to sell the home for a higher price. If the buyer doesn’t get a HUGE discount, they won’t want to spend to replace the roof. It is an option for the seller, but I like to keep my clients getting top dollar even if it requires them investing some money before the sale. 

 

 

Landscaping

 

 

Landscaping improvements can be as simple or as complex as you want to make them. Start with the grass and go from there. Then you should focus on the area immediately nearest to the house. A fresh layer of mulch can completely transform a property’s exterior. My advice to get a full picture of the home’s curb appeal, drive down your street, and take note of the first thing that stands out upon pulling up. These items are what others will notice, as well.

 

 

Exterior

 

 

In addition to the roof, you also should look at the siding and exterior of the property itself. A dirty exterior is something that should not be ignored. Power washing a deck or the siding of your property won’t take very long but will have a significant impact. 

 

 

Front Door

 

 

Instead of replacing the door entirely, start by seeing if a fresh coat of paint will be enough to give it an updated look. If you are looking for a more permanent fix, a new door is certainly money well spent and will come with an impressive ROI.

 

So, this was a quick primer on Curb Appeal. I’m not a fan of working with buyers who are always trying to low-ball my sellers. A small amount of effort on your home’s curb appeal will pay off where it matters most: your profit! 

 

Maria Kalafatich

Posted on February 1, 2020 at 11:01 am
Maria Kalafatich | Category: Eatonville Real Estate, Fox Island Real Estate, Gig Harbor Real Estate, Olalla Real Estate, Port Orchard Real Estate, Puyallup Real Estate, Tacoma Real Estate, Uncategorized, Union Real Estate | Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

Don’t Turn Remodeling Projects Into a Money Pit!

Remodeling your Home

A great article came across my desk the other week about the home featured in the mid-eighties movie “Money Pit.” This was the hysterical movie with Tom Hanks and Shelly Long who were two yuppie home buyers who decided to buy a fixer and …well, fix it! Every home-fixer on the planet laughed until they cried at their never-ending parade of disasters. Of course, the reason the laughter turned to tears is we all remember the tears we’ve shed working on a ‘fixer-upper.’ This article focused on the fact that the same house used in the movie was recently sold for a huge LOSS. The couple who purchased the house set out to remodel, and spent close to $6 MILLION fixing up the home they purchased for just over $2 million.

Eventually, our owners decided to put the home on the market and asked a cool $12 million.
(Crickets)
And so they dropped the price.
(Crickets)
And…dropped it again. And again… until they finally sold the property for $3.5 million dollars.
So what is the moral of this story? I’m glad you asked.

Remodeling is a two-edged sword. The upside is you invest money to get the home that meets your needs and hopefully satisfies a few desires. The downside is, something you may love might not be something a potential home buyer may even like. The experts looking at this story all agree the couple spent too much money on their very personal, very ornate tastes. They added en suite bedrooms, an elegant pool (complete with a pool house), stunning fireplaces, and a modern, open kitchen. Plus, their desires were to create an over-the-top entertaining
palace that would reek excess and elegance. Sadly, the experts agreed that they over-developed for the time and for the area.

How then does a couple know what they should remodel and how much should they spend? They should make sure to have a friend like me in their corner.

As a rule, bathrooms and kitchens are safest, but be sure that your remodels don’t push your price above what your neighborhood can sustain when your home goes for sale. And, when it comes to return on investment, pools sink your return on investment to the bottom. I’d love to talk to you before you remodel if you are thinking of making a few changes before you list! I
spend all my days looking at homes like yours and seeing how buyers respond. Before you make any changes- give me a call!

Thank you for reading…and keep me in mind if you are looking or thinking of listing. I’d love to make the
whole process easier and make sure you get the best financial result!

Posted on January 1, 2020 at 2:17 pm
Maria Kalafatich | Category: Eatonville Real Estate, Fox Island Real Estate, Gig Harbor Real Estate, Olalla Real Estate, Port Orchard Real Estate, Puyallup Real Estate, Tacoma Real Estate, Union Real Estate | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,