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Tips for Buying or Selling a home in the Corona Virus Era

Tips for Buying or Selling a Home during the Corona virus era

Bucks County Home Downsizing

Property Manager PA NJWe wanted to share some insights with you in handeling Real Estate…now, specifically buying and selling a home during the challenging times we are currently facing with the global Coronavirus outbreak.

First and foremost, we want to give thanks to the brave men and women who are out on the front line; our first responders, healthcare workers, medical personnel and support providers. Secondly, we ask all to practice safety and social distancing during this national emergency.This is part of an on-going series of real estate articles by Nick Santoro and Joe Santoro of Personal Property Managers ( www.personalpropertymanagers.com ) who service Pennsylvania and New Jersey and specialize in real estate, home content downsizing, senior transition services, property management and estate sales.

So, what do you do if you are trying to sell a home or would like to buy a home now…in the middle of a national emergency?

We would like to share some tips and insights with you to help better understand the Real Estate process in these most unusual times.

So, let’s take a look at the facts, which are very important in determining a game plan for Real Estate whether you are buying or selling a home now, in these most troubling and confusing of times.

At the time of the writing of this article, just about 7 weeks into the COVID-19 / Corona Virus shutdown, we have seen over 33 million people laid off and file for unemployment in the US. This is a staggering number, with 1 in 5 Americans either furloughed or permanently laid off. We have seen unemployment go from statistically full at 3.5% to 20%.

We have seen 3.7 million people test positive with the virus, with about one third of those in the United states at over 1.2 million.   We have seen over 260,000 deaths world wide with over 75,000 in the US. To put this in perspective, the amount of fatalities in the US from the virus is more than the total deaths in the Vietnam war and the Afghanistan and Iraq wars combined.

What does this mean for Real Estate in the US?

We have seen listings drop over 70% during this time. Therefore, inventor is lower. We have seen transactions under contract drop 80%. Over two thirds of all sales in our area are now under $400,000.

What does this all mean? It means that the market has shifted from a sellers’ market to a buyers’ market, with the advantage now to buyers, because there are fewer of them and consumer confidence is low due to the uncertainty and the job market.

Real estate transactions are classified as essential services in most areas. People need a place to live. Of course, all activities during this time are dynamic, fluid and ever changing, so check your local state guidelines for more information.

The first thing we all need to do is practice social distancing. This is very important.

With social distancing, for sellers, it will be important to update your pictures posted on line, and if possible work with your Realtor to video your home for viewing on a virtual tour. During this time more and more people will be shopping and viewing properties from their computer or smart phone. Creativity and imagination are important during this time. Keep this in mind, especially if you are a seller.

Open houses are no longer permitted for obvious reasons, so pictures and videos will play and even more important role, now more than ever to give prospective buyers a better feel for the listed property. This is a time when more pictures and video is better.

Unlike traditional home previews and showings, we have found that homes that are completely empty, where the sellers have moved out already, seem to be highly desirable for todays buyers. This goes against past practices with recommendations for home staging and is a sign of the times we are in. This is true for several reasons. The first is that with the house empty, there may be less risk for germs which are top of mind today. The second reasons is that a buyer may be able to move their family in immediately.

Buyer home visits are permitted on an area by area basis, but should be kept at an absolute minimum. We recommend that separate cars be taken when driving out to view the property; agent in one car and buyers in the other car. Practice social distancing. We also recommend that you wear gloves and masks for even more protection. We recommend that the sellers not be in the home and to leave about a half an hour before all buyer appointments. We recommend that sellers clean and disinfect everywhere possible before and after a showing, such as door knobs, surfaces, counters, light switches, faucets and even the lock box. We recommend that you wash your hands often.

We suggest that sellers turn on all lights and open closets and doors prior to a buyer visit, again to eliminate or reduce the need for others to touch things in your home.

We recommend that buyers only bring a minimal amount of family members or friends with them when looking at a house, again being mindful of local distancing and safety guidelines.

For buyers, please understand that your agent may not wish to be right next to you touring the house room by room, and may in fact wish to wait in the car, as all are parties are encouraged to practice social distancing.

We even recommend the agents FaceTime or do Zoom video tours with buyer clients if pictures, video and virtual tours are not published or just do not provide enough information or property views to assist a buyer in their evaluation.

Tips for home Sellers:

  • Virtual tours and home videos are an absolute must for today’s buyer who want to preview a property before going outside or even considering it
  • Clean, clean, clean and then declutter your home. This is especially important now as more and more people are viewing homes in advance via videos, so cleaned out countertops, closets, garages and rooms in general are very important. You want to give an impression of largeness, cleanliness, and openness
  • Price your home to sell. With this being a buyers’ market and credit tight, properly pricing your home is critical. Work with your Realtor to do a detailed comparative market analysis to help you.
  • Vacant homes are more desirable for buyers today, because the risk of germs is greatly reduced
  • Neutral colors. 98% of buyers today want neutral color as opposed to bold colors. Remove wallpaper and boarders. 79% of buyers prefer the light gray colors that are so popular today

Buyer insights:

  • Make sure that you are pre-approved for a mortgage before house shopping
  • Mortgage interest rates are very low and near historically low levels.
  • Deals. There are plenty of deals out there for eager home sellers, so take advantage of this if you are pre-qualified

What about settling a property during this time of national emergency?

We want to stress again, that we are all experiencing something unknown in our nation’s history, so all current guidelines (national, state and local) are changing and are being updated on a daily basis, with the priority on safety, caution and saving lives. So, with this said, many things that were requirements in a settlement such as Certificates of Occupancy and Smoke Certifications are now being done on an honor system because many offices are closed. But be sure that when this national crisis ends, local governments will be spot checking settlements done during this time to verify that all safety requirements are met and that people who said these elements were satisfied were actually met. If they find that there was false information provided, or safety elements such as smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, fire extinguishers or hand railings that were not actually done, then severe fines and penalties will be imposed. Everyone is doing the best that they can during this time. Honesty, good faith, safety, common sense and social distancing must be the responsibility of everyone.

Lastly, many settlement elements can be done remotely with wire transfers and electronic signatures and FaceTime, so whenever and wherever possible utilize these tools.For more insights, tips and videos please visit our Resource Page in the About us tab.

For more information on real estate or home downsizing please contact Nick Santoro or Joe Santoro of Personal Property Managers at 215-485-9272 or 908-368-1909. Personal Property Managers specializes in helping home owners transition from their home of many years into a new community. Personal Property Managers services Pennsylvania and New Jersey and offers downsizing services, estate sales services, home staging, discount full service real estate services via its association with EveryHome Realty. Learn more about Personal Property Managers from our recent News Stories.

Buying/Selling Real Estate – During the Corona Virus Shut Down – 23

Sell House COVID 19

This Podcast by Joe Santoro of Personal Property Managers will provide tips and insights into selling a home and real estate now during the Corona Virus and COVID-19 shut down. Personal Property Managers, http://www.personalpropertymanagers.com services PA and NJ and is your one stop resource for real estate, home downsizing, content estate sales and home watch services. With Personal Property Managers, one call does it all

 

Top 9 Secrets to Selling your Home

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Top 9 Secrets to Selling your Home

Get the best possible price in the shortest amount of time.

Bucks County Home Downsizing

If you are serious about selling your home at the best possible price and in the shortest possible time on market, then you’ll want to pay close attention to our top 9 secrets to helping sell your home.

This is part of a continuing series of articles and helpful tips and insights into helping you sell and market your home by Nick Santoro and Joe Santoro of Personal Property Managers. Personal Property Managers specializes in real estate sales and marketing, home downsizing, content clean out and removal and estate sales, and services Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

#1: The first impressions are lasting… and are the only that matter
No matter how good the interior of your home looks, buyers have already judged your home before they walk through the door. You never have a second chance to make a first impression. It’s important to make people feel warm, welcome and safe as they approach the house. Spruce up your home’s exterior with inexpensive shrubs and brightly colored flowers. You can typically get a 100-percent return on the money you put into your home’s curb appeal. Entryways are also important. You often use it as a utility space for your coat and keys. But, when you’re selling, make it welcoming by putting in a small bench, a vase of fresh-cut flowers or even some cookies.

#2: Always be ready to show… you just never know…
Your house needs to be “show-ready” at all times – you never know when your buyer is going to walk through the door. You have to be available whenever they want to come see the place and it has to be in tip-top shape. Don’t leave dishes in the sink, keep the dishwasher cleaned out, the bathrooms sparkling and make sure there are no dust bunnies in the corners. It’s a little inconvenient, but it will get your house sold.

#3: The kitchen comes first… it’s often the first place people look
You’re not actually selling your house, you’re selling your kitchen – that’s how important it is. The benefits of remodeling your kitchen are endless, and the best part of it is that you’ll probably get 85% of your money back. It may be a few thousand dollars to replace countertops where a buyer may knock $10,000 off the asking price if your kitchen looks dated. The fastest, most inexpensive kitchen updates include painting and new cabinet hardware. Use a neutral-color paint so you can present buyers with a blank canvas where they can start envisioning their own style. If you have a little money to spend, buy one fancy stainless steel appliance. Why one? Because when people see one high-end appliance they think all the rest are expensive too and it updates the kitchen.

#4: Take the home out of your house… de-personalize your home
One of the most important things to do when selling your house is to de-personalize it. The more personal stuff in your house, the less potential buyers can imagine themselves living there. Get rid of a third of your stuff – put it in storage. This includes family photos, memorabilia collections and personal keepsakes. Staging simply means arranging your furniture to best showcase the floor plan and maximize the use of space.

#5: Don’t over-upgrade… but keep it clean
Quick fixes before selling always pay off, however expensive makeovers, not so much. You probably won’t get your money back if you do a huge improvement project before you put your house on the market. Instead, do updates that will pay off and get you top dollar. Get a new fresh coat of paint on the walls. Clean the curtains or go buy some inexpensive new ones. Replace door handles, cabinet hardware, make sure closet doors are on track, fix leaky faucets and clean the grout.

#6: Conceal your pets… not everyone likes pets
You might think a cuddly dog would warm the hearts of potential buyers, but you’d be wrong. Not everybody is a dog- or cat-lover. Buyers don’t want to walk in your home and see a bowl full of dog food, smell the kitty litter box or have tufts of pet hair stuck to their clothes. It will give buyers the impression that your house is not clean. If you’re planning an open house, send the critters to a pet hotel for the day.

#7: Light it up… the more light the better
Maximize the light in your home. After location, good light is the one thing that every buyer cites that they want in a home. Take down the drapes, clean the windows, change the lampshades, increase the wattage of your light bulbs and cut the bushes outside to let in sunshine. Do what you have to do make your house bright and cheery – it will make it more sellable.

#8: Half-empty closets… clean them out
Storage is something every buyer is looking for and can never have enough of. Take half the stuff out of your closets then neatly organize what’s left in there. Buyers will snoop, so be sure to keep all your closets and cabinets clean and tidy.

#9: Pricing it right… be grounded in reality
Find out what your home is worth, then shave 5 to 10 percent off the price. You’ll be stampeded by buyers with multiple bids – even in the worst markets – and they’ll bid up the price over what it’s worth. It takes real courage and most sellers just don’t want to risk it, but it’s the single best strategy to sell a home in today’s market.

For more insights, tips and videos please visit our Resource Page in the About us tab.

For more information on real estate or home downsizing please contact Nick Santoro or Joe Santoro of Personal Property Managers at 215-485-9272 or 908-368-1909. Personal Property Managers specializes in helping home owners transition from their home of many years into a new community. Personal Property Managers services Pennsylvania and New Jersey and offers downsizing services, estate sales services, home staging, discount full service real estate services via its association with EveryHome Realty. Learn more about Personal Property Managers from our recent News Stories.

Tips for helping seniors who are hoarders

Senior Hoarders

We wanted to share with you an often confounding yet common situation when dealing with transitioning an elderly loved one from their home of many years into a senior care community, or perhaps your home or even settling their estate. We are specifically referring to senior hoarding. This is real and the condition is known as Diogenes syndrome, and it is more common than most people realize.

This is part of a continuing series of helpful articles from Joe Santoro and Nick Santoro of Personal Property Managers to assist you in home downsizing, content liquidation and full service discount real estate services. Personal Property Managers services clients in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

Our senior loved ones are certainly part of the ‘greatest generation’ for sure. They have sacrificed for our nation, fought our wars, defended our freedom, were hard working Americans who put in long hours at work, saved and accumulated things over their lifetime. Now, as their caregiver, you may be faced with dealing with the task of trying to clean-up or sort through what they have accumulated over their lifetime. In many cases, the mass accumulation of things turns out to be senior hoarding. We often find homes with 4 or 5 blenders, toasters, lawnmowers, ladders, boxes of things that have never been opened or things never used and the list goes on and on…

Times have changed. Items that were valuable years ago are no longer desirable. Family members often have no use or desire to bring Grandma’s things to their home. Change can be hard, and sorting through a lifetime accumulation of possessions can be overwhelming to a senior who is already struggling with a loss of independence and to family members who are stressed out.

It is perfectly normal for an individual who has lived for many years in one location to acquire a lot of stuff, and for some individuals, letting go of the things they no longer need can be extremely difficult. Experts say seniors are prone to cluttering for a variety of reasons, including fear of loss, anxiety, and depression. Research also suggests that pre-Alzheimer’s personalities may trigger hoarding behavior, further complicating the issue for those already pre-disposed to this obsessive habit.

For families dealing with loved ones and parents who have slipped into a pattern of hoarding, it can be difficult to develop strategies for the kind of downsizing that is necessary to accommodate a move to senior housing. The individual may be ashamed of their living conditions, and reluctant to accept the help they need. They also may be fearful of being forced to let go of the items to which they have become attached and resist their family’s attempts at getting the clutter under control.

Of course, securing the homeowner’s consent and cooperation is only half the battle. Once you have the go-ahead to begin sorting through the collection, it is important to have a strategy for completing the task at hand. Here are a few suggestions for getting through the cleanup:

Call a professional. At Personal Property Managers, we specialize in helping families take stock of what they have, what is valuable or not and how to declutter. Often, going through an entire household after years of accumulation is simply too much for one person to undertake. Far better to work as a team with a common goal.

Set a date to start the project. Block off a section of your calendar when you can truly focus on the task at hand. Determine how long you will work, and then stick to the plan. You may not make it through the process entirely, but knowing you have a starting time, and a plan to wrap up the day’s work at a specific time, can help keep you on track.

Do it in chunks. Work room by room. Although you may have an entire house to wade through, you will do your best work by focusing on one room at a time. Besides, any large project is easier to complete if you divide it into smaller, more manageable tasks.

Use a system. Focus on the most used items. As you go through each room, set aside a place for each of the following: donations, keepsakes, items to be organized and put away, and trash. At the end of each workday, take time to put away the items you have chosen to keep. Be selective. Remember that you are downsizing, so make your selections carefully. You may actually need to go through this process twice as it is often difficult to make emotional decisions the first pass through.

Think about digitizing boxes and boxes of photos and photo albums.

Have donations and trash picked up promptly to prevent second guessing your selections. The sooner you have temptation removed, the better.

Once the cleanup is complete, check in often to make sure that day-to-day clutter is not getting out of control. Staying on top of the problem is far easier than wading through a year’s worth of accumulation, and maintaining a tidy living space will relieve stress for you and your loved one, as well as make the home safer for its inhabitants.

The good news is that we can help clean-out your house, help downsize family’s homes and liquidate your contents for items that are saleable and in demand. We offer on-site estate sale services and can remove contents and sell them via our array of proprietary resources. With Personal Property Managers…one call does it all.

For more insights, tips and videos please visit our Resource Page in the About us tab.

For more information on real estate or home downsizing please contact Nick Santoro or Joe Santoro of Personal Property Managers at 215-485-9272 or 908-368-1909. Personal Property Managers specializes in helping home owners transition from their home of many years into a new community. Personal Property Managers services Pennsylvania and New Jersey and offers downsizing services, estate sales services, home staging, discount full service real estate services via its association with EveryHome Realty. Learn more about Personal Property Managers from our recent News Stories.

Home Sale Specialists

Personal Property Managers, http://www.personalpropertymanagers.com is your one stop home sale specialists to help you get your house ready for sale and to help you get the best price for your home. One call does it all.

How to downsizing your home

How to downsize your home….tips and insights by Joe Santoro of Personal Property Managers, http://www.personalpropertymanagers.com

Selling your home contents. Do they have any value?

Moving? Relocating? Trying to sell the contents of your home or estate? No problem. We can help. Personal Property Managers, http://www.personalpropertymanagers.com  offers complete home content liquidation and estate sale services. Ah….but does my stuff have any value? Does anyone want it? Click on this video to learn more. We also offer home downsizing and full service discount real estate services. With Personal Property Managers….one call does it all.

Hoarder home clean out services

Hoarder home clean out services. One stop home downsizing and clean out services by http://www.personalpropertymanagers.com Personal Property Managers

8 Tips for decluttering before downsizing – 21

PPM smaller version Podcast - picture - final version 2-13-19

This podcast will share with you 8 key tips for decluttering before you downsize.  For more information contact Joe Santoro or Nick Santoro of Personal Property Managers at www.personalpropertymanagers.com

Personal Property Managers specializes in: Home Downsizing, Home Cleanout Services, Estate Sales, Home Content Liquidation, Property Management, Absentee Home Watch, Moving, Full Service Discount Real Estate Services, Home Sales, Home Buyer Services, and Elder Care Services. With Personal Property Managers, one call does it all.

Home Staging 101 – Boot Camp – 17

PPM smaller version Podcast - picture - final version 2-13-19

This podcast will share with you 5 key tips and useful insights for staging your home in preparation for its sale, so that you can sell your home for the highest price and sell it in the shortest time possible. For more information contact Joe Santoro or Nick Santoro of Personal Property Managers at www.personalpropertymanagers.com

Personal Property Managers specializes in: Home Downsizing, Home Cleanout Services, Estate Sales, Home Content Liquidation, Property Management, Absentee Home Watch, Moving, Full Service Discount Real Estate Services, Home Sales, Home Buyer Services, and Elder Care Services. With Personal Property Managers, one call does it all.