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Monday, August 29, 2016

Simple Staging Tips To Help Sell A Home Fast


     When you are hosting an open house or showing your property to potential home buyers, you want them to see it as a home they could live in. That's where staging comes in. According to Coldwell Banker, homes that were staged spent half the time on the market than homes that were not, and they also sold for about 6 percent more. There are several ways you can stage the home you're selling without spending a fortune on a decorator or doing any major renovations. Here are a few to consider.


Don’t Underestimate Curb Appeal

      The outside is the first thing buyers see when you show them a house, and if they don’t like it, it can turn them off to the entire property. Updating the curb appeal of your home will draw house hunters in immediately and may even attract buyers you wouldn’t expect from simply driving by. Fixing the outer aesthetic of the home doesn’t have to be pricey or time consuming, either. Houzz suggests some simple upgrades you can do yourself around the property, including power washing the sidewalks and sides of the house, cutting the lawn, planting new flowers and shrubs, and repainting house numbers so people can easily find it. A fresh coat of paint on the front porch or door is another good way to refresh the outside of your home.


Create A Scene

      The National Association of REALTORS® suggests creating lifestyle vignettes to show potential buyers what their life could be like in specific rooms. This can be especially helpful in houses with odd spaces, as many buyers do not have the imagination to see how an empty space can be used. Think about what demographic the home appeals to and create scenes that way. For example, a young couple might appreciate a game room with a bar area, whereas an older crowd might appreciate a library with a reading corner. Professional stagers often research the cultural and community interests in a neighborhood and stage according to their preferences. Buyers want to see what their life would look like in each room.

       Be sure to use lifestyle elements throughout the house everyone is familiar with, such as subtly scented candles, freshly arranged bouquets or a tray of drinks and baked goods for guests.


Clear Out The Clutter

       While staging may make you want to decorate the entire house the way you would want it, a common mistake is to use too many items throughout the house. It can make the home seem smaller and dirty, as well as distract from some of the better features of the property. Pack up about 90 percent of what is in the home before showing it. Kid’s toys, personal photos and mementos and anything worn out or broken should be put away.


Go Neutral

      While bright purple might be this season’s color, it won't be the most appealing design approach for everyone. The same goes for decor that is too masculine or too feminine. You want people or families to see themselves living in the home, so using neutral colors and decor can help them imagine their own stylish touches throughout each room — especially the master bedroom. Make sure the walls and bedding are a neutral color and use clean linens and modern artwork to create a fashionable space with potential.


Courtesy of Realty Times

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Summer Nights - Downtown Rapid City


Coldwell Banker LKH agents volunteered at
Summer Nights in downtown Rapid City,
what a blast!!
Agents who participated:  David Brenneman, Nick Werner,
Lori Rearick, Irina Lewis, Maria Sieck-Strobel, Shalyn Holsworth
Marty Wilcox, Courtney Oshanick, Diane Byrd, Darin Pryor,
Sharon Arnwine & Robyn Ellis.



Tuesday, August 2, 2016

It Doesn't Pay to Wait To Buy A Home


      There will always be those who try to "time the market," but there's one factor you can't know -- when buying a home will become more expensive.

      Certainly you can tell from recent trends whether or not prices and mortgage interest rates are in your favor. Monthly prices have risen year-over-year for three years. Mortgage interest rates are slowly rising, but remain at extremely attractive levels.

      You could wait for prices to fall, but there are two problems with that idea. First, it would take an economic recession to lower prices, which could take months or years. With the exception of the Great Recession, you won't know if you're in or out of a recession until the talking heads online inform you.

      Second, mortgage interest rates have been kept artificially low for five years. That's a very long time. With steady gains in employment, it's not likely they will go any lower. In fact, higher interest rates could wipe out any gains you could save by waiting to buy.

      Here's a real life example:

      If you buy a home and get a $200,000 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage at 4.5 percent, your monthly payment will be $1,013.37 and you'll pay $164,813.42 in interest over the life of the loan.

      The same home at 5.0 percent interest costs $1,073.64, a difference of $60.27 more per month and $186,511.57 in interest over the life of the loan. The difference in interest payments alone is $21,698.15.

      If your home dropped 5% in value and you were able to buy it at $190,000 and 4.5% interest, your payment would be $962.70, a difference of $50.67 per month, with $156,572.75 in interest over the life of the loan. You'd save $50.67 more per month than if you'd paid $200,000.

      At 5.0 percent, your $190,000 home costs $1019.96, or $53.68 more per month than if you'd gotten the loan at 4.5 percent. Your interest payments would total $177,185.99 over the life of the loan. The difference in payments is $20,613.24.

      Currently, mortgages for borrowers with good credit are around 4.00 percent. If you had purchased your $190,000 home a year and a half ago when prices were lower and interest rates were at 4.00% interest, it would cost you $907.09 per month and a total of $13,6552.06 in interest.

      The question is -- did you?

      There's never a perfect time to buy a home and you shouldn't buy a home just for financial reasons. Buy your home to raise your family, be close to friends and relatives and to be free from a landlord where you get nothing back but cancelled checks at the end of the lease. 

      Don't put your dreams off to gamble with the market. Think of getting the home you want at a reasonable price and payment as the best way to beat the market.


Courtesy of Realty Times

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Upgrades To Save Energy & Boost Your Home’s Resale Value


      Most homeowners would benefit from a home energy audit, especially those with older homes. An audit will uncover where your home is wasting energy and how to best remedy the situation. Remodeling your kitchen, bathroom or living room may add to your home’s resale value, but the following energy-efficient upgrades add value and save you money on your monthly utility bills - and you'll help the environment, too.

      Replace Windows & Roofing

       If you have old, drafty windows with loose frames or gaps that let conditioned air escape, you're losing money. Replace them with energy-efficient windows. You will improve your indoor comfort and reduce heating and air conditioning costs. In addition, window treatments can keep you cooler in summer and warmer in winter. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) reports that treatments such as awnings and blinds reduce solar heat gain by as much as 77 percent, and shutters and storm panels reduce heat loss in winter.


      The same principle applies to your roof. A new, properly installed roof will lower your energy costs and increase your home's resale value, according to Champion Home Exteriors. Make sure you use a reliable contractor who knows how to properly ventilate the attic, or you risk mold and premature peeling of interior paint and wallpaper.

      Seal & Insulate

      Take the time to seal your home’s walls, windows, vents and any other cracks or gaps, and consider adding insulation, too. Not only does this improve comfort and save on utilities, but it also reduces outside noise, prevents an inflow of dust, pollen, insects and debris, and provides better humidity control. Brett and Elna Wells of Shelbourne, Vermont, told Mother Earth News how they added 19 inches of insulation in their attic and added foam sealant around their foundation, and not only did they lower their energy consumption, but they received a $2,900 rebate from their electric utility, too.

      Replace Siding

      One of the home improvement projects with the best return on investment is replacing your current siding with new vinyl siding, according to Remodeling Magazine's Cost vs. Value Report. It provides a whopping 78 percent return on investment. To realize savings on your energy bill, make sure the contractor uses ENERGY STAR-rated underlayment and corner wrap to protect your home from moisture.

      Get an Energy-Efficient Furnace

      Linda Barnwell is a certified eco-broker with the real estate franchise company Keller Williams. She told Fox News that an energy-efficient furnace will boost energy savings and a home's resale value. Airtight homes with newer furnaces are what homebuyers are looking for, and it can even drive the outcome of a real estate deal. Sellers whose homes have furnaces that are 20 or 30 years old may see sales negotiations stall, or buyers may demand you replace the furnace as a condition of the sale.

      If a professional home energy audit isn't possible, try this energy-savings calculator from the DOE, at: http://HomeEnergySaver.lbl.gov

Courtesy of Realty Times


Monday, July 25, 2016

How To Make The Most Of Your Small Backyard

      Small backyards can sometimes seem limiting in terms of what you can add to them. Don't be deterred though, as there is a plethora of ways to decorate it. Small backyards have many landscaping options to make them beautiful and open. Here are some ideas to help.


      1. Install a deck. Adding a deck is a quick, efficient and natural way to add onto a small backyard. It will also cost less than the national average if you have a small backyard. They are also good for adding two levels, which can be good if you want to have one for dining and another for plants. It's also a way to separate the yard from another type of space without taking up a lot of room. Pro tip: deck boards should be laid diagonally, not straight to optimize yard square footage. 


      2. Hang potted plants and boxed gardens. If you want to save more ground space in the yard and still enjoy many flowers and shrubs, you can optimize the walls, roofs and windows of your home. By installing wooden shelves or hooks, you can hang flower boxes or potted plants. This will leave plenty of room in your garden for trees, a dining space, water features or other installations that might have been more difficult to fit in otherwise.


      3. Use smaller furniture. If you aren't planning to hold huge parties in the backyard, then you should buy smaller furniture. Instead of couches, buy loveseats and chairs and rather than a long rectangular chair, you might consider a circular table. nk like the seller. It helps you anticipate what the seller will accept in price, terms, and other conditions. By considering the seller's position, you will likely create an offer that is either accepted or strongly considered. By having smaller furniture on your deck, patio or in the backyard, there will be more space available for movement and other decor. You might also consider having an awning over the furniture, whether it's a simple fabric awning or an extension of your roof, so you can enjoy the furniture during inclement weather. 


      4. Keep it simple and clean. While you're limited in square footage, this does not mean you should try and fit every single flower, shrub and tree you can. Otherwise there will be overgrowth, and maintenance will be difficult. Instead, you should keep the landscape design simple. Focus on the essentials of the backyard: grass, some shrubs and flowers artfully placed throughout. You can organize it better by installing flower beds and potted plants for easier management. 


      5. Go bold on the color scheme. Although you have to be simple with what investments you make in the landscape, you can still be bold with the colors. Reds, blues, purples, oranges, yellows--the color scheme is endless. You want your small backyard to jump out to visitors and you when walking out the back door. By having a rainbow of colors, the small backyard will look and feel like a heavenly garden even if it's not the biggest one in the neighborhood. 


      6. Erect fencing that's visual rather than private. If you want to make your small backyard feel bigger without the square footage, then install a fence that's not private. Choose a design that's visual like lattice, picket or chain link with sunlight showing through to accent the yard. You might also consider materials like wood or vinyl to add onto the natural appearance of the small yard. Local fencing contractors will be able to recommend the best materials and height for your needs. 


Written by Andrea Davis
Courtesy of Realty Times





Thursday, July 21, 2016

June 2016 Real Estate Market Conditions Report

Rapid City, South Dakota & Surrounding Area

The average price of a single family home sold in the Rapid City and surrounding area is $225,628 which is up from $218,727, with an average of 34 days on the market, down from 40 days this time last year. Sellers have been receiving 98.36% of current listing price which is up from 97.86% in June 2015. During the month of June 2016 there were 118 new residential listings in Rapid City. The total number of homes for sale was 318 as compared to 318 last month. 91 homes have sold compared to 99 in May.

Box Elder, South Dakota & Ellsworth Air Force Base Area

During the month of June 2016 there were 24 new residential listings in and around the Box Elder and EAFB area. The total number of homes for sale was 61 compared to 60 last month. 22 homes have sold compared to 17 in May.

Black Hawk, South Dakota Area

During the month of June 2016 there were 26 new residential listings in and around the Black Hawk area. The total number of homes for sale was 78 compared to 79 last month. 23 homes have sold compared to 26 in May.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

The Homebuying Checklist


      If you're in the process of buying a house or are getting ready to, you may be overwhelmed by all the possibilities - and all the details. It can be easy to lose sight of some of the things that are important to you when you're seduced by pretty countertops or kids playing out on the street. Making a checklist of those must-haves will help keep you on track.

Is the bedroom count and general floorplan workable? You may be tempted by a house that's nicely staged and has that elegant-yet-warm feel you want. But look beyond the furnishings to make sure what you need is what the house has.

Is there a place for your dogs to hang out? And is there a place for the dog bowls to go? This only seems like a little thing until you're moved in and are constantly tripping over their food. When the dogs are part of your life, you'll want the house to accommodate them, and you.

      Is there a place for your kitchen garbage can? See above. This "little thing" will drive you crazy. Is it enough to keep you out of the home? Probably not, but it's worth noting for situations where you can't decide between a couple of homes. It might be the little things that make the difference.

What direction does the house face? Facing west is great when it means you get to watch the sunset every day. It's not so great when it means your electric bill costs as much as your mortgage from May to September because your air conditioning is running 24–7.

Where are the structural walls? If you're planning an extensive renovation, it might be a good idea to bring in an engineer to make sure the walls you want to remove won't bring the house down.

Is there enough pantry space? A poor kitchen layout, and one that isn't easily remedied by a renovation, is a deal killer for many people.

      What shape is the floor in?
Look carefully. Replacing floors can be a big and expensive job. Even if you have an inspection and the floors are in decent condition, they may not match your style. It'll be up to you to decide if you can live with them.

      Where's the nearest Target?
If location is important to you and the house you're looking at is over the mountain and through the woods, think hard about what you're willing to compromise. It might be that you start to hate being so far removed from amenities once the shine of a new house has worn off.

Where is the nearest Starbucks? Not a coffee drinker? Doesn't matter. The "Starbucks Effect" means higher home appreciation if you live within proximity.

      Is there an HOA?
This is important to know if you're looking to paint your home purple and display your collection of flamingos on the lawn.

How are the schools? Even if you don't have kids and never plan to, a good school district is important to home values. Pay special attention to the possibility of being rezoned. This happens quite often in growing areas, and, while you won't always know what's going to happen in the future, impacted schools and districts and chatter about coming changes might give you reason to pause.

      What are the acoustics like?
If there's a ridiculous echo coming from the upstairs bonus room, think about what that's going to sound like with two young kids playing.

Is the wiring what you need? If you need your home to accommodate all the latest technology, you may have some extensive rewiring to do. Checking it out before you buy will help you feel confident you can achieve your goals.

How's the yard space? Too little, or too much, space can make the day-to-day living less than ideal.

      What's the neighborhood makeup?
Seeing a lot of young couples on the street? Or maybe it's mainly older couples you're seeing. Spending a little time in your neighborhood you're considering can tell you a lot about who your neighbors could be, and whether you'll fit in.

Are there sex offenders nearby? Unfortunately, checking to make sure the people around you are decent is a reality today. FamilyWatchdog (at http://FamilyWatchdog.us) allows you to enter an address and see if there are any sex offenders in the area.

Did you schedule an inspection? You may be tempted to buy a home as is, especially in a hot market, but if you forgo an inspection, you'll be on the hook for any issues that arise with the home down the line.

Courtesy of Realty Times


Monday, June 27, 2016

May 2016 Real Estate Market Condition Reports For Rapid City, SouthDakota & Surrounding Black Hills Area


Rapid City, South Dakota & Surrounding Black Hills Area


The average price of a single family home sold in the Rapid City and surrounding area is $245,471 which is up from $224,998, with an average of 47 days on the market, up from 39 days this time last year. Sellers have been receiving 97.79% of current listing price which is down from 99.18% in May 2015. During the month of May 2016 there were 143 new residential listings in Rapid City. The total number of homes for sale was 329 as compared to 304 last month. 91 homes have sold compared to 84 in April.


Black Hawk, South Dakota Area


During the month of May 2016 there were 32 new residential listings in and around the Black Hawk area. The total number of homes for sale was 79 compared to 76 last month. 26 homes have sold compared to 16 in April.


Box Elder, South Dakota & Ellsworth Air Force Base Area


During the month of May 2016 there were 17 new residential listings in and around the Box Elder and EAFB area. The total number of homes for sale was 60 compared to 68 last month. 17 homes have sold compared to 12 in April.

Thursday, June 23, 2016




In 2015, Coldwell Banker’s Homes For Dogs Project, along with Adopt-a-Pet.com helped find homes for over 20,000 dogs.

Since last year was so successful, we are extending our relationship with Adopt-a-Pet.com to help them match loving families with homeless dogs again this year.


Tuesday, June 7, 2016

5 Smart Homebuyer Strategies

      The National Association of REALTORS® has announced that there's a housing supply shortage. Homes are selling quickly and home prices are starting to inch up again. It's becoming a seller's market in many areas.


      Any time the market changes, it's time to change strategies. During a buyer's market, buyers have the upper hand and can make more demands to sellers over their homes' price and condition. During a sellers' market, buyers concede the upper hand to sellers and are more willing to accept higher prices and terms.


      When homes are in short supply, buyers don't have the luxury of taking their time, teasing sellers with lowball offers, demanding that every little thing be fixed, and shopping for homes with multiple real estate agents. Do these five steps instead.


      Make a good first impression. Not only do you need to impress sellers, you need to impress real estate agents. Hire one agent and let him or her profile your needs to the marketplace. Be specific about your must-haves so you don't waste your agent's and your time viewing homes that lack what you want most. When you find the home you want, send the seller a letter along with your offer outlining why you love the home.


      Get preapproved by a lender. Not only will you know how much home you can buy, you'll be ready to make an offer quickly. Your real estate agent can include the fact that you're financially preapproved by your lender in with the offer, which will carry weight with the seller.


      Shop within your price range. In a seller's market, it's wise to shop for homes within or slightly below your price range. This will give you more room to make full-price offers or above in case the home you want is in a bidding war with other buyers. You'll be able to pay your own closing costs. Trying to buy a home out of your reach during a seller's market will only cause you and your agent frustration.


      Be flexible. No home is perfect. To get more home for your money, you might shop for an older home that needs renovation. Try to look past ugly wallpaper and stained carpet and visualize the home with more attractive finishes. You may be able to get more living space in an established neighborhood than with a newer home that is priced higher for similar square footage.


      Be ready. Be ready to see a new listing at a moment's notice. Be ready to make an offer when you believe this is the right home for your household. Once a seller has accepted your offer, proceed as if you're in a normal market. Set a reasonable closing date that accommodates the seller as much as possible. Confirm the offer with your lender. Schedule the inspections you'll need and don't nitpick the seller over small things.


      Whether you're in a buyer's market or a seller's market, you should feel good about the home you choose, the deal you make, and the courteous way you treated all parties to the transaction.


By Blanche Evans
Courtesy of Realty Times


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