Senior year is the time to relax and develop senioritis, right? Wrong. Not for me anyway. Every day when I leave the teenage world of socializing, calculus, and schoolwork, I enter the real world here at the Energized Realty Group.
When I first started working here, I wasn’t really sure what it was going to be like. There were no tests or homework; there wasn’t a next class. I didn’t know everything. I felt like school didn’t fully prepare me for what the real world was like or even for a real job for that matter. I was completely lost. Luckily for me, Judy and Jenna took me under their wings. They’ve taught me so much, both in the real estate world and the real world. In these last four months I’ve learned so much and I feel as if everyone here has made me part of the team.
When I went back to school in September for the beginning of my senior year, I had a busy schedule ahead of me. I was going to school in my work clothes, going to work after school, handling various different transactions at a time, working with co-workers, talking to clients, and then at the end of the day coming home to do my homework and doing it all over again the next day. I absolutely loved it. All my friends thought that I was so professional and so lucky to be working for such a well-known real estate company. My teachers see that I have become a mature young lady. Judy and Jenna have been very helpful to me when it came time to go back to school. If I ever have to come in late or miss a day of work due to a school related situation, they are more than happy to accommodate me. I feel like I am so fortunate that at even at the young age of 16, Judy hired me to work for the Energized Realty Group.
The Energized Realty Group feels like a part of me I never want to leave behind. This experience has been life changing. Although some days may be hectic for me, I am able to work through it all. Working at the Energized Realty Group has taught me how to manage stress, organize my life, feel more confident, and work in the real world as an adult. Hey, maybe even one day you’ll see my name on a business card; Sydney Marino Real Estate Agent with the Energized Realty Group.
Now that the summer is over, with Fall and Winter around the corner, some of you may be thinking about the possibility of storm season, and maybe even next season’s snow. If you need any information at all, from whether to consider trimming or even removing a tree to prevent potential damage to your property or for resale purposes, or suggestions on perhaps re-planting a tree that may have perished in Irene or Sandy, give me a call. We have a lot of experiences along with real life stories to share with you on the pros and cons of trees on and around your property. I love our neighborhoods around Flushing, Bayside, Whitestone and the surrounding areas. Our local landscape and the values in the area are my main focus, in every sense of the words! So email me your confidential questions, at judy@ energizedrealtygroup.com, or call me at 718-353-6000. I would always welcome your call!
On a non-seasonally adjusted basis, prices were even stronger, up 2.3 percent.
“We seem to be witnessing exactly what we needed for a sustained recovery; monthly increases coupled with improving annual rates of change,” David Blitzer, chairman of the index committee at Standard & Poor’s, said in a statement.
“The market may have finally turned around.”
Prices in the 20 cities rose 0.5 percent compared to the year before. Atlanta fared the worst, tumbling 12.1 percent from a year ago. Phoenix continued to bounce back from poor conditions and was up nearly 14 percent.
Although prices in June likely got a boost from the traditionally strong summer buying season, the gains on both a monthly and yearly basis boded well for the housing market, said Blitzer.
The report affirmed “that the overall market is healing, albeit at a frustratingly slow pace,” said Stan Humphries, chief economist at Zillow.
Humphries said he expects to see prices weaken in the latter half of the year, though the period of sustained declines are likely in the past.
For the second quarter, seasonally adjusted national prices jumped 2.2 percent compared to the 1.4 percent gain that was seen in the first quarter.
Financial markets saw little reaction to the data as investors had their attention turned to a highly anticipated speech from Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke at the end of the week.
Shannon Stapleton / Reuters
A “for sale” sign is seen outside a home in New York in this June 19, 2012 file photo. U.S. home prices have risen for the fifth straight month, according to a new survey.
Unlike decorating, staging your home isn’t about personal style — it’s about creating ambiance and appeal for buyers
By Kristie Barnett
Selling your home means selling a lifestyle, but not necessarily your own. In home staging, you’re striving for a look that is fresh and welcoming yet not really taste specific. People with varying tastes need to feel that they can make the home their own if they purchase it.
This is the distinction between decorating your home and staging it to sell. It can be hard to understand at first, but if you don’t know the difference, you might not sell your house as quickly as you like.
Although everyone has different tastes in decor and furnishings, most people want a home that is welcoming, functional, peaceful and organized. Tailor your house so that buyers will describe it in those terms rather than by your style of decorating. Getting rid of clutter and having fewer but larger accessories is a great place to start.
Making sure your home isn’t taste specific doesn’t mean your rooms should be devoid of color. Instead, keep color schemes simple and dose them with an on-trend neutral, like a clean tan, a soft gray or a warm white.
If you have a distinctive decorating style — whether it’s Tuscan, shabby chic or modern — you’re going to need to scale it back a bit. If you don’t, your home will appeal to the small percentage of potential
buyers who love your chosen style. Staging is about strategic editing and depersonalizing, rather than decorating and personalizing.
Dated is dreary. Strive to stage your space with a current and fresh feel. Use updated neutrals on the walls and furnishings that are clean-lined and simple. Punches of color are great; just use them sparingly. A room arranged symmetrically and centered on the architecture reads as peaceful — one of those important aesthetics every buyer is drawn to.
This guest bedroom is full of great staging ideas. It has lots of on-trend design details, but it’s sparse on accessories and other distractions. The color palette is simple, easy on the eyes and would be attractive to both men and women. Most potential buyers would remember this appealing room long after leaving the house.
This clever arrangement draws attention to the unique architecture in the space and illustrates a smart use for the area under the stairs: an office nook. This area is nicely decorated, not staged.
If I were staging this area, I would keep the desk, chair and lamp, remove overly personal items such as family photos, and leave a few pieces of art and an attractive notebook and pen. Simple accessories can help draw attention to a functional space.
If you are updating a kitchen or bath before putting your home on the market, keep the finishes neutral and classic. This is not the time to show off your personal style. You want to broaden your buying audience by appealing to a wide variety of tastes and preferences. This bathroom would definitely appeal to buyers with either traditional or contemporary taste, and could later be personalized with the new homeowner’s preferences for color and accessories.
The bottom line is that you have to get outside your head and inside the mind of a potential home buyer. It’s very difficult to be objective about your own home, but it’s crucial if you want to sell it.
Tell us:Do you believe there’s a difference between staging and decorating? Let us know in the Comments!
Brokers, MLSs get more control over display of property data
By Inman News Inman News®
Date: Wednesday, May 16, 2012
Popular real estate search and valuation portal Zillow is launching a program designed to improve listing data accuracy on its site through what it says will be mutually beneficial partnerships with brokers and multiple listing services.
“Zillow is committed to partnering with MLSs and brokers to get reliable and timely information to its more than 32 million unique users each month,” said Bob Bemis, Zillow’s vice president of industry relations, in a statement.
“We have a common goal to provide accurate listings for the benefit of agents and consumers.”
Zillow recently hired Bemis and Phoenix-based broker and blogger Jay Thompson as part of its partner outreach team in an effort to improve its relations with brokers and MLSs.
Under the Zillow Partnership Platform (ZPP), Zillow makes several pledges toward giving brokers and MLSs greater control over how Zillow displays listing information. These include:
Always showing the listing agent and listing brokerage adjacent to their listings and including contact information and links to broker, agent or MLS websites free of charge. Agents who sign up for a free Zillow profile receive prominent placement on their listings. In addition, the name of the data provider will always be displayed or immediately available upon request, Zillow said. Providers can also ask to have their name link back to their contact information.
All parties will be clearly identified, including listing agents, buyer’s agents, Zillow Premier Agents who buy advertising on the site, and property advertisements.
Zillow will never resyndicate, redistribute or sublicense listings for display on other sites without express written consent. This does not include Yahoo Real Estate, with whom Zillow has an exclusive advertising partnership. Zillow provides for-sale listings to Yahoo Real Estate and sells ads featuring real estate brokers and agents that appear on both sites.
Zillow will also take steps to stop scraping and misuse of listing data and monitor traffic to its network. Suspect sites will be cut off from access to Zillow.
Broker and MLS feeds will override all others.
“In the current environment, Zillow must resolve discrepancies among a myriad of data sources by removing duplicates and deciding the trump order of listings, which consumes considerable resources for everyone involved,” Zillow said in a document explaining the program to brokers and MLSs.
“ZPP is a clear solution that supports the business objectives of each party by receiving listing data from the source closest to the origin.”
In the document, Zillow emphasized that brokers and MLSs must “work together” to clean up listing data on Zillow.
“The MLSs serve a critical, but often undervalued, function of compliance and rules enforcement, which results in the best listing data available anywhere. But the impact of that data is lost if it is not delivered in a timely manner to the destinations consumers value most,” the company said.
“Frankly, real estate agents and consumers expect Zillow and the brokers (and) MLSs to work together to improve the supply chain. ZPP strives to purge stale data, while entrusting the final decision of where to publish listing information to the broker.”
Zillow also pledged:
To remove or correct listings with the wrong status or inaccurate information within one business day of receiving notice. Partner brokers and MLSs will have a direct phone number and dedicated email address to flag a listing for immediate review, Zillow said, and listings will not be reposted unless verified by the source broker or MLS. Listings will be updated at least once a day and as frequently as every five minutes.
To honor all intellectual property rights. The company will also honor any broker’s decision to opt out of sending listing data to Zillow.
To share traffic statistics on listing pages to the data feed provider.
To restrict agents to advertising or claiming only those listings they have a legal right to claim. Listing “piracy” is uncommon on the site, according to Zillow, but not unheard of. Earlier this year, two Orange County, Calif., real estate professionals reported that their listings on Zillow had been wrongfully claimed by other agents.
Not use listing data delivered to one Zillow business in support of any other Zillow business without express written consent of the provider. Zillow specifically refers to data fed to its subsidiary Diverse Solutions for use in agent websites that provide Internet Data Exchange (IDX) listings. Similarly, data licensed to Zillow for display on the Zillow portal will not be used by Diverse Solutions without permission, Zillow said.
Two MLSs dropped Diverse Solutions as a provider of IDX listings for their members’ websites after Zillow acquired the company in November. The Santa Barbara Association of Realtors, which owns the Santa Barbara MLS, cited “concerns of misuse of our data” in ending its relationship with Diverse Solutions, and said “Zillow is not a friend to organized real estate.” Diverse Solutions maintained that it “does not share data with Zillow without MLS authorization.”
Each partner MLS or broker participating in the ZPP program will be assigned a dedicated account executive. As of today, the program applies to all renewal and future MLS and broker contracts, Zillow said.
“The objective of ZPP is to create a strong contractual relationship with each partner (broker or MLS), grounded in transparency and accountability, to build a foundation of mutual respect and trust through a long-term relationship that results in increasing value for all parties,” the company said.
“Zillow is prepared to make commitments to its partners in writing as defined in the data license/contract.”
Zillow and other third-party listing portals, including Trulia and Realtor.com, have come under fire from some brokers in recent months over both listing inaccuracy and ads and lead forms for competing agents that sometimes appear next to listings on the sites.
A few brokers have decided to stop providing listings altogether to third-party sites not affiliated with a multiple listing service or Realtor association. HomeServices of America Inc. subsidiary Edina Realty announced in November that it would pull its listings from third-party real estate search sites, though the brokerage has continued to provide listings to Realtor.com, and last month was still in negotiations with the site’s operator, Move Inc.
San Diego-based broker ARG Abbott Realty Group made a similar announcement in January and, earlier this month, Austin, Texas-based brokerage the GoodLife Team stopped syndicating its listings to Trulia and canceled its advertising on the site because the firm objected to ads for competing agents appearing next to their premium listings.
Trulia has since revamped its broker offerings and in the coming weeks will remove any display advertising for competing agents from featured listings. The revamp is part of what Trulia CEO Pete Flint said was a “major investment” in the interests of brokers and a recognition that Trulia needs “to partner with the industry to be successful.”
Originally published: March 14, 2012 4:22 PM
Updated: March 15, 2012 1:27 PM
By KRISTIN TAVEIRA Special to Newsday
Denial is like a shiny, seductive bubble — it offers psychological shelter from unpleasant realities until you’re ready to come to grips with them. But, if you are selling your home, it can be your worst enemy, and you could be in for a long stay on the market. But someone else’s wishful thinking can work to your advantage — if you can wake up and face the facts before your competition does, and do what it takes to sell your home in the real world.
“The delusion is that the market is getting better,” says Linda Bonarelli Lugo of Realty Executives North Shore in Huntington. That’s only partly true, she says. “We are having more sales, but the pricing has not increased.”
That is true in Nassau County, where in February the median home sales price of $380,000 represented a 3.8 percent decrease from the prior year. Suffolk County reported a slight increase for February — the median home sales price was $304,250 compared to $300,000 the prior year, representing a 1.4 percent uptick.
Sellers want to believe their homes will be the exception; experts say good luck with that. “There’s a certain kind of schizophrenia,” says Diane Saatchi, senior vice president with Saunders & Associates Real Estate. “Why is it the house you no longer want is worth more than market value, while the house you’re dying to have should be had at a discount? It’s not that I want to be rude, it’s just that it’s not going to happen.”
With the coming of the spring market, it’s time to burst your own bubble. Here are five things shrewd homeowners should do if they want to sell their homes this year:
1. BREAK UP WITH YOUR HOUSE
Delusion: Everyone will love my home as much as I do.
Reality: “The buyer sees all the other houses in the same neighborhood with the same amenity list — the seller only sees one,” says Saatchi. Tame your emotions and your ego. Feeling attached, ambivalent, proud or defensive about your home will cloud your judgment. “You want the buyer to be emotional, not you,” she says.
So before you list, break up — including the part where you take your stuff back.
Removing personal items will clear the way for buyers to picture themselves there, and it will also help you make the mental transition from owner to seller. The home should remain decorated enough to look inviting, but devoid of personal items such as family photos. That detachment is key — it will give you the distance and perspective to make good decisions. While other sellers are still struggling to accept the realities of the market — and making time-consuming mistakes — you’ll be able to make an accurate comparison and make yours the most attractive deal on the first try.
2. BE THE BOSS OF YOUR LISTING
Delusion: I can leave everything up to my broker.
Reality: It’s tempting to seek out a professional who will tell you what you want to hear — or one who promises to take over the process and wake you when it’s over. You’ll have to be more proactive than that if you want good results, says Saatchi. “You have to realize you’re making a business transaction,” says Saatchi. “You don’t want the broker who says your house is wonderful and gives you a high price. You want the one who has sold houses and can be businesslike.”
Listening to professional advice is key, but “the seller has to be participating in the discussion,” says Bonarelli Lugo. Speak up, do your homework and work with your agent to make informed decisions.
3. DITCH THE DEDUCTIONS
Delusion: I don’t have to do the work — buyers will see the potential.
Reality: House hunters will mentally chip away at your asking price for each flaw they spot — so declare war on the warts. Not everything has to be brand-new, but any big-ticket items that still have life left in them should be restored to their best possible condition so they don’t falsely announce themselves as needing immediate replacement or repair. Why let buyers argue that they’ll need a $3,000 discount to install new carpets if a professional cleaning could make yours look great for $300?
“Fix it if it’s fixable,” says Saatchi. But no faking it — if there’s a problem you won’t be repairing, disclose it, she says. Use attention and elbow grease to create an overall impression of cleanliness and care. But don’t go crazy; a major kitchen remodel isn’t necessarily worth it because you can’t predict buyers’ tastes, says Saatchi.
4. CASH IN ON OTHERS’ MISTAKES
Delusion: My home is worth my asking price, and my price is worth waiting for.
Reality: A house is worth what a buyer is willing to pay for it. Sellers are notorious for overestimating their homes’ values — then finding out the hard way that they’ve misjudged. Skip the long learning curve. Look at the prices of homes similar to yours that are languishing on the market and then at the prices of those that have sold. Ask yourself which group you want to be in — then price it that way.
“Sold properties in the area represent the reality of what’s going on,” says Don Scanlon, Long Island Board of Realtors president. “Not what people are asking, but sold properties. Those are the facts.”
There’s more at stake here than just taking a while to sell. While you’re waiting, a low sale or foreclosure in the neighborhood could strike a major blow to your home’s value.
5. MAKE THEM SWOON
Delusion: It will either feel like home to a buyer or it won’t, and it’s out of my hands.
Reality: Certain homes meet all the criteria but only make the “maybe” list. Others have that special something that give buyers the butterflies — that warm, fuzzy and slightly panicky sensation that walking out the door without making an offer could be the biggest mistake of their lives. It feels magical, but it’s not — it’s physical, and you can copy it.
The best way to understand the effect is to visit competing open houses, or pay attention during your own house hunt. When you find a home that makes your heart sing, dissect your feelings and impressions step by step — then try to identify the physical things that evoked them. “All our senses kick in,” says Bonarelli Lugo. “Buying a house is an emotional purchase, and you have to appeal to the purchasers’ emotions.”
The source of that “homey” feeling might be carefully constructed curb appeal that can be broken down into parts — a freshly painted front door, neatly trimmed shrubs, a clean-swept walk. The “cheery” kitchen may boil down to squeaky-clean windows that let the sun shine in and a bouquet of yellow flowers. If you can put your finger on the details that really pushed your buttons and try to replicate them, you just might be able to elicit the type of emotional response in a buyer that can translate into an offer.