Riding the Ups & Downs of Your Home’s Value Online

Riding the Ups & Downs of Your Home’s Value Online

The Internet has certainly provided consumers with a wide array of tools used throughout real estate transactions that provide more information and more utility than ever before. One of the tools that has grown in popularity of late is the home value calculators that uses your location and historical data of sales in your area to compare your home against those to determine a value.

This value can change over time as new sales are continuously added to the program’s database, giving you a visual demonstration of the way your value has ebbed and flowed over time. Many consumers have used this tool as a way to uncover what kind of equity they have built up in their home and perhaps to decide whether the time is right to sell a particular piece of real estate.

However, because there are so many outlets offering this type of service, there is the capacity to get five wildly different estimates from five different sites, perhaps confusing a home owner more than before by offering such a diverse set of data. The key in accuracy sometimes lies in what the site is trying to accomplish by providing you its service.

For example, if you go to a home valuation site that does not nail down a specific price but rather provides a range and then prompts you to call a local realtor for a more accurate estimate, the credibility of that site as a home valuation site decreases dramatically. Instead of using the data it has to provide a rough estimate, the site offers a broad range that perhaps prompts more questions than answers.

This is all, it seems, a ploy to get you to call a local realtor that will pay the company for the referral. Obviously, there is a certain amount of bias to remain vague in this situation, making the site less useful for home valuation purposes. Take real estate valuations from sites like these with a substantial grain of salt.

Unfortunately, the bulk of sites used to peg a home value online employ some kind of agent tie-in to prompt contact with a real estate agent. For some sites, that means that you have to input personal data before a full value will be given and in some you have to call the realtor to get the actual value after putting in data for the process online. Either way, these tactics turn off many home buyers that might have an actual need for a home valuation.

There are other sites out there, Zillow being the most prominent, that offer home valuation services without all of the catches. Zillow, in fact, asks only for an address to determine the approximate value of a property and while there will certainly be disparities in a Zillow value and the actual value of a piece of real estate, its interface is easy to use and requires the input of no personal information, giving it a great deal of utility to simply get a rough estimate of a property’s value.

Of course, the best way to get a home valuation is to contact a professional home appraiser. While online sites use market data to formulate a price, nothing can beat an in-home appraisal that takes into account all of the features and amenities of your home when determining a value.

However, for those that want a simple valuation without the cost of a professional appraiser or the bait-and-switch tactics of many of the agent-driven sites out there, Zillow is a great site to get a quick and dirty estimate that can be used as a rough estimate for discussions on the future of a particular piece of real estate.

This is another original article by Joe Lane, co-owner of The Lane Real Estate Team at http://www.joelane.com/. Are you looking for an experienced Tri City WA Real Estate agency? With 20 years of service based, business experience, Joe and Colleen Lane work hard to serve home buyers and sellers for the Tri Cities of Washington’s Kennewick, Richland, Pasco, and surrounding areas.

Easy exterior projects that add lasting beauty to your home


(ARA) – In the current economy, homeowners want to improve their home’s exterior while saving time, labor and money. You can enhance your lifestyle by choosing options that extend product performance and add beauty and enjoyment to outdoor living.

The easy patio fix that’s eco-friendly

Adding pavers to any outdoor area can transform cracked slabs or troubled grass areas into virtually instantaneous living space. But most do-it-yourselfers shy away from working with heavy concrete or brick. Andy Vander Woude of AZEK VAST Pavers says you can install a new patio, walkway or driveway with new pavers that install three times faster on a unique grid system over a traditional sub-base. At less than half the weight of concrete, they contain up to 95 percent recycled scrap tires and plastics. “There is no need for wet saws or heavy equipment,” Vander Woude said. “You can also resurface an old patio, deck or flat roof without the sub-base preparation – just assemble the grid and lay the pavers in like a big puzzle.” He added, “It’s a way to create instant living space that respects the planet.”

Add curb appeal for lasting first impressions

You can increase curb appeal with stylish and functional, quality amenities that dress up an entryway, yard, patio, porch or deck. According to the experts at Walpole Woodworkers, known for outdoor furnishings handcrafted in Maine since 1933, consider classic accents such as lantern and mailbox posts, pergolas, arbors, window boxes, deck planters and birdhouses handcrafted from new advanced materials, with long-lasting benefits and low-maintenance. Walpole offers these and many other products handcrafted in modern cellular PVC. This advanced material looks just like natural wood, but won’t rot, split, or warp and will maintain its good looks for years, virtually maintenance free. Call 1-800-343-6948 for a free catalog.
Light up the night

With the emergence of inspired outdoor living spaces and new trends in materials, it only makes sense that homeowners search for a way to enjoy their deck parties well into the night. Deck rail lighting has become extremely popular, with LEDs the preferred way to create ambient lighting. Michael Gori, Director of Product Management at AZEK Building Products, makers of AZEK Deck, said lighted post caps and light strips concealed under the hand rail are in high demand. “The lighted post caps add an elegant touch, while the hand rail lighting casts a downward glow, reducing hot spots and attraction to insects,” he said. “The combination of the two light sources adds a dramatic effect for nighttime entertaining.” Gori adds, “With warm, ambient lighting, there’s no longer a need to head indoors when the sun goes down.”

Know when to paint caulk

Did you ever poke your finger at a caulk bead to see if it’s dry and ruin your nice work? “Caulk needs to dry for about one to two hours, before it can be painted-whether you’re working indoors or out,” says Jason Ringling, marketing director at Red Devil, a company with a 140-year old history in the industry. “Painting too soon can cause sagging and cracking and then the entire job has to be re-done.” He says that there is a new technology called ColorCure sealant that turns from pink to white when it’s ready to paint, so there’s no guesswork. And if the job gets interrupted, you know exactly where you left off. “Formulations are getting smarter to help you work more efficiently,” he adds.

When fixing up or adding beautifying elements to your home exterior, be sure to investigate all the options–from new formulations in caulks and sealants to alternatives to traditional materials that offer easy installation and better performance over time.

Damage Control: Pest Control for Foreclosed or Short Sale Properties


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By : Karim El Sheikh    99 or more times read
One minor problem that can become a major one for the savvy Real Estate-Owned (REO) agent or foreclosure investor are pests. Talk about bugged out! Many foreclosed, short sale and distressed homes suffer from pest invasions simply because the critters move in when the humans move out. Without a homeowner to quell the bees or chase away the rodents, foreclosed homes can quickly become dens of insect inequity.

Once you purchase a foreclosed home, it is time to go into pest control mode. Clearing them out is a definite must whether you are moving in or reselling.

Mosquitoes
Any home with large pools of stagnant water can become breeding grounds for mosquitoes. Chemical solutions poured into the water can take care of this, but can have long-term impact on the environment. Draining pools and allowing the larvae to die in the sun is a natural solution. If the property is abuzz with adult mosquitoes, UV attractors or environmentally friendly mosquito traps work wonders.

Bees and Wasps
Gutters, roof overhangs and trees can become grottos for bees and wasps. Smoking them out can potentially be dangerous (and drive them to the neighboring lot). One way to do it is to move the Queen or destroy the hive, forcing the occupants to find a different location.

Termites
Termites are a nuisance especially if the home is primarily made of wood. They can also be a danger to the future homeowner, as they can eat away at the supports or foundations of the home. It is best to call pest control if the termite infestation is large. Another is the find and kill the Queen, causing the rest to scatter.

Fleas, ticks and other biting nuisances
If the former homeowners owned pets, the house may still have dormant fleas running around, waiting for their next victims. Flea soap or powder mixed with cleaning water can help kill these dormant eggs. Overgrown yards can breed ticks and other biting insects.

Spiders
Spiders inside the home are actually a good thing, since they keep smaller insects at bay. However, spider webs and eggs can be very unsightly and their presence can scare away potential buyers.

Rodents
Abandoned homes make attractive nests for different types of rodents, not just the rat. You may find yourself knee deep in mice and rats and in this case, professional help may be needed. Humane traps or poisons can also be used.

Strays
Before entering a home, make sure that there are no stray animals that have made the house into a home. They may consider the house their territory and attack on site. Stray animals can also carry diseases. Call in the nearest Animal Control shelter if you happen to come across Fido or Tabby making a home in what was once a living room.

Large infestations definitely need to be controlled. Call in a pest control agency before it gets too out of hand or before the home gets too damaged to be livable. One thing to keep in mind is that clearing out infestations does take time.

Preforeclosure.com is an investors secret hangout. Research and be the first to get your hands on a home under going the foreclosure process while it is in preforeclosure.

Prepare For The Coming Housing Collapse

The Money Pros are standing by to take your questions.

Q. Can I do a short sale even if I am not at risk of foreclosure?

Marcus Rutkowski

A. Yes. A short sale proceeds just like any other home sale, with one exception: the seller needs approval from the bank holding the mortgage to complete the transaction.

Sellers who are underwater, because they owe more to the bank than their house is worth, or simply won’t net enough from the sale to pay off all the closing expenses, can request that their bank take less than the amount owed.

It is up to the bank to make the ultimate decision to agree on the sale and allow the deal to close.

Getting the House Ready to Sell?

Where is usually the best place to start?  To be honest, it’s the kitchen.  Just tuck away the unneeded stuff off your counters and put them away.  Put your toaster away and only take it out when you need it.  Find a place where you can store everything in cabinets and drawers.  Obviously your not going to have cabinet space to put everything. So just clean them out. Anything that rarely gets used? Put them in a box or a tote and put them in the garage or storage.

Home buyers are going to open all your cabinets and drawers, especially in the kitchen to be sure there is enough room for their stuff. If your pantries, cabinets and drawers look full, the buyer is going to think twice and it doesn’t promote plentiful storage space. So with that being said, make as much space as possible so the buyer see’s as much room as possible.

If your pantry, cabinets or shelves are full, empty them out so it and don’t buy anything more than what you need til your home sells.  You know better than anyone that you don’t want to carry all that with you to your new home anyways, so think ahead!

And one of the the biggest things is to check under your sink. Make sure the area under your sink is as empty as possible, removing all extra cleaning supplies. Make sure you scrub the whole area down as well, and determine if there are any water leaks that may cause a homebuyer to hesitate in buying your home.