By Melissa Dittmann Tracey
Maybe, according to a recent article in The Los Angeles Times by Nicholas Riccardi (see Home Sizes Change With the Times)
The size of the average America home shrunk by 11 percent last year, a faster rate than any time since the 1970s, according to the article.
In fact, the National Association of Home Builders is reporting that 90 percent of its builder members are opting to build small now due to increased energy consciousness, downsizing empty-nest baby boomers, and, not surprisingly, the softening economy. Builders are also going smaller with less-expensive models in trying to compete with the large inventory of discounted foreclosures dominating the market. (See KB Home Tries Tiny Homes to Attract Buyers)
“Families and lifestyles are changing,” Bobbie Cooper, director of sales for The Development Group, told The Los Angeles Times. “In 2005 you couldn’t build it big enough. Now it’s all about getting back to the basics.”
What have you noticed with your listings? Do the smaller homes seem to be selling faster than the larger homes in your market? Comment here or send an e-mail to email@example.com with your thoughts for a possible article on this topic for REALTOR® Magazine.
By Melissa Dittmann Tracey
Styled, Staged & Sold caught up with real estate pro Cheryl Kirby, co-creator of a new instructional staging DVD for real estate professionals — “Get Ready, Get Set, Get Sold!” — to talk about the simple things you can do to spruce up a property, and when you might need to intervene to stop a seller’s messy ways.
Why did you produce the video “Get Ready, Get Set, Get Sold”?
KIRBY: My associate-Cari Gililland-and I are both REALTORS®. We always go on home tours and put our listings on home tours too. We’d go through some of these homes and go “oh my gosh, they really think they can sell this home with all of this dirty stuff all over the place! Don’t they understand what they need to do to sell a home?”
We kept talking about producing a video for real estate professionals because some get really uncomfortable saying to their clients: “Your house is dirty, and you really need to clean it.” So we wanted to be able to offer them a tool to give to their clients to show them here’s what you need to do to compete in the market.
How bad of a condition have you seen properties in?
KIRBY: I’ve seen homes that smell so bad you can’t even walk in, the carpet is stained, and the walls need touch ups. The garbage is overflowing, there’s laundry scattered on the floor in the bedroom, pet hair all over, and junk all in the yard. You name it, I’ve seen it!
So what are some of these important things that sellers can do to get a home ready to sell?
KIRBY: Smell is huge. Smoke, cooking certain foods, and garbage overflowing can really make a home smell bad. The minute a buyer opens the door: The smell is there and can be a quick turn off. Continue reading »
Nearly $100 million in federal stimulus money will go to getting rid of lead paint from low-income homes, Vice President Joe Biden announced Friday. The toxic paint–which can lead to health problems, particularly in children–is often found in homes built prior to 1978.
HUD is making the money available through grants that will help 53 local programs in 20 states and the District of Columbia.
“It is unacceptable that some 40 percent of homes in this country still contain lead-based paints, the majority of which are in low-income areas where homes have not been renovated in decades,” said Biden in a public statement.
Read more about the dangers of lead paint and the 5 Most Dangerous Hazards in a Home in REALTOR® Magazine’s Handouts for Customers (helpful articles that can easily be incorporated into your marketing materials to buyers and sellers).
REALTOR® Magazine’s Styled, Staged & Sold blog won top prize for its blog from the Society of National Association Publications. SNAP’s annual EXCEL awards recognizes the best in association media and publishing.
Styled, Staged & Sold—which launched in January—has a team of both regular and guest contributors from the real estate, psychology, and staging business who offer insights on how you can transform a property to attract buyers and, ultimately, get it sold. The blog frequently covers the topics of green home trends, design psychology, remodeling, staging and more. The blog also includes affordable and easy solutions for sprucing up those less-than-perfect rooms in your listings.
Thanks for reading our blog and for making it a success!
By Barbara Ballinger
ATLANTA—Granite may still be the benchmark for countertops—with its high quality, unique colors and patterns, and great durability—but more home owners are seeking alternatives in the latest chic materials that also offer sustainability.
Cosentino, a company based in Almeria, Spain, offers granite selections but also provides manmade quartz alternatives, including Silestone. It’s the largest quartz manufacturer in the world.
The company recently debuted its new Eco green line at the National Kitchen & Bath Association’s annual convention in Atlanta. The material is made from materials—glass, ceramics, ash, stone, resin—that are 75 percent recycled. Its Eco line comes in 10 colors. Continue reading »
By Barbara Ballinger
ATLANTA—Traditional design is safe, secure, long lasting. It represents timeless appeal whether it shows up in sturdy cherry cabinets with elaborate corbels and fluting or old-fashioned-style freestanding white ceramic bathtubs with claw feet.
So, a plethora of contemporary designs at the National Kitchen & Bath Association’s annual industry show in Atlanta, which just ended Sunday, represented a big breath of optimism.
Concern that the stagnant economy would put a kibosh on modern styles in favor of what’s more familiar didn’t prove true. Yes, traditional design may have reigned supreme, but the buzz by many was over the sleek, swank tubs, showers, and toilet seats with lots of bells and whistles; the kitchen equipment in playful lively colors—blues, reds, and greens—that looked like they had been painted in an automotive shop; and elegantly simple bamboo cabinets with and without modern hardware.
Encourage your contemporary-minded buyers and sellers to watch for these—and other—selections:
- Contemporary design has edged into the Universal Design tub niche, with acrylic models that don’t look institutional and have lower thresholds to make them easier to use. (Here’s one example from Safety Tubs.)
- Frosted or clear curved shower doors with minimal or no frames can serve as a contemporary alternative to rectangular stalls (www.fleurco.com).
By Barbara Ballinger
ATLANTA—When Laurie Belinda Haefele joined an architecture firm in New York City 19 years ago after graduating from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, N.Y., her colleagues were beginning to incorporate sustainable features in their projects.
“It wasn’t a big part of the designs, but we paid attention to fenestration—or how air flowed, tried to conserve energy, and used building materials that insulated well,” she says.
Fast forward, Haefele is the winner of the award for Best Sustainable Kitchen at the National Kitchen & Bath Association’s annual convention, going on now in Atlanta. The kitchen cited in NKBA’s design competition is part of a new house in Corona Del Mar, Calif., and demonstrates good practices that other home owners can learn from and may desire in their own residences.
Haefele’s clients were a young couple who wanted to be good energy citizens and also have a healthy home for their family.
Among the features that convinced the judges of the home’s greenness were:
- Reconstituted wood exteriors on the cabinets that resemble fancy wenge;
- No-emissions plywood for the actual cabinet boxes, which were made locally so they didn’t have to be shipped from far away; Continue reading »
By Barbara Ballinger
ATLANTA—If you’ve learned to program your DVRs and iPods, you’re in luck. Digital use is spreading throughout the home, and dozens of products on view from manufacturers at the annual National Kitchen & Bath Association’s convention here this past weekend showcased its use.
The reason? Home owners find programming makes life easier and more customized; for manufacturers, it helps them distinguish themselves in a crowded field of quality products, particularly in a down economy.
Some favorites from the show:
- Maax. The “Eterne” tub from this company’s Pearl collection features three jets and a digital switch with options for how many bubbles to relax in, a variety of air massages, and different chromatherapy and aromatherapy choices. Plus, there’s a heated backrest, so bathers will never want to leave.
- Toto. Neorest II’s latest products include a wall-hung toilet that uses less water because of its dual flush system—1.6 gallons for a full flush and 0.9 gallons for a light flush. The lid lifts as users approach. With a remote, they can select seat temperature, pressure, water intensity, a massage, deodorizing the bowl, and drying it. The toilet flushes automatically. As users walk away, the lid goes down. Continue reading »