Archive | May 2012

Survey Nails Outdoor Living Trends– Local Homebuyers Look for Space Young or Old: Outdoor Space Sells!

 



Those of us who focus professionally on our local real estate trends can vouch for it: outdoor living sells! And depending on what life phase their family is in, homebuyers choices tend to follow similar lines.

The 2012 Residential Landscape Architecture Trends Survey confirms again how important those backyard grills and dining areas are when it comes to what most people have at the top of their minds when they think about buying homes. 

When potential homebuyers come to me, some of the features highest on their “must have” list virtually always have something to do with outdoor space.   Young families buying homes, for example, are usually pleased to find a grassy area off the kitchen where their toddlers can toddle.  High-profile clients often seek out impressive spaces with great foot-traffic flow for indoor/outdoor entertaining.  Empty-nesters buying homes often come to me seeking the opposite — less yard with easy- or no-maintenance landscaping.   The point is, no matter what the age or demographic of the buyer, in todays market, outdoor space sells.

So — what is hot for those buying homes in 2012? The survey I cited earlier is one conducted every year by theAmerican Society of Landscape Architects. This year they came up with some clear winners. According to the survey, top popularity goes to BBQ grill space (97.4%), followed by low-maintenance landscapes (96.6 percent),fireplaces/fire pits (95.8 percent), and dining areas (95.7 percent).  

Not so obvious winners were decorative water elements such as ornamental pools, splash pools, waterfalls, grottos, water runnels or bubblers, and pergolas. Not as popular as they once were? turf lawns at 50.9%, gazebos at 49.1%, and hammocks at 27.4%.  Go figure!

If you are considering an outdoor remodel before selling your own home, be sure to design with local buyers in mind. Contact me any time for a stop-in — Ill be happy to go over the features most clients look for when buying homes today.

You’ve Got 5 Seconds To Sell Your Home

Your Walnut Creek or Lafayette Home Deserves a Hero Shot!
Contra Costa County Realty Listings: Curb Appeal Will “Git ‘er Done!”

As a whole, we Americans are an interesting group. We are smart, educated, involved in our community…and, not unlike the rest of America, our attention span about 5 or 10 seconds. It follows that when you put your home on the market and your agent places it among the Norcal realty listings, your home has about that long to grab potential buyers’ attention.

Time and time again, studies show that realty listings with superior curb appeal get markedly more attention than those with run-of-the-mill photos. First impressions count. It’s how advertising agencies can charge hundreds of thousands of dollars to get just the right angle with just the right lighting on their perfectly-designed product packages. In ad-speak, that photo with the perfect angle and lighting is called the ‘hero shot’.

Your home can have its own ‘hero shot’. Its landscaping, color, the condition of its driveway, walkway, garage and backyard, along with the overall neatness combine to make a true ‘hero shot’ that will stand out from the other Contra Costa County realty listings. That same look (over and above the one in the photographer’s viewfinder) can also be counted upon to draw the attention of potential buyers who happen to be just driving by.

It’s not surprising, either, that curb appeal also affects the value and salability of realty listings. A study by the University of Washington found that “mature trees in a well-landscaped yard can increase the value of a house by 7% – 19%.” On the other hand, overgrown trees that obscure the view of the home can delay its sale.

The curb appeal of homes almost defines a neighborhood’s appeal, and vice versa. Any home that is well kept improves the image of the rest of the houses on any street. In the same way, a home with a neglected look can bring down the general appeal of the entire neighborhood. You already know what it’s like to drive by a street lined with houses that are all beautifully maintained. Now that’s the kind of place where you would definitely want to live!

If you are giving serious consideration to selling your Walnut Creek, Lafayette, Concord, San Ramon, Pleasant Hill or Danville home, call me anytime for a “curb appeal” consultation. Usually, just a few easy steps are all it takes to improve that vital first impression!