Control all your marketing tasks from one place with ListingLeader

Inmannews - Mon, 04/16/2018 - 3:00am
ListingLeader by Home Junction is a comprehensive marketing platform that helps real estate agents better broadcast listings and track new leads.
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What if buyer’s agents had to negotiate their own commissions?

Inmannews - Mon, 04/16/2018 - 2:40am
Buyer agency and exclusive buyer representatives are nothing new. What would the consequences be if listing and buyer's agents each negotiated their commissions separately with the clients they represent?
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Hiring a professional photographer? Ask these 7 questions first

Inmannews - Mon, 04/16/2018 - 2:30am
First and foremost, to have stellar photography for your listing, you have to find a real estate photographer who knows how to capture the home in all of its glory. Let’s go over the most important considerations.
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3 ways social media can help your search engine rankings

Inmannews - Mon, 04/16/2018 - 2:15am
If you’re doing it right, social media has a huge impact on SEO. That’s because social media strategies help you build links, increase site traffic and improve your content. Links, site traffic and content quality have been, and continue to be, among Google’s top ranking factors.
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Lesson Learned: Gaining confidence as a newbie agent

Inmannews - Mon, 04/16/2018 - 2:00am
Like many real estate agents, Northern Virginia’s Alyssa Blevins began her career as a side-gig to her role as a high school English teacher almost five years ago.
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How to solve real estate’s 6 biggest closing challenges

Inmannews - Mon, 04/16/2018 - 1:00am
Every real estate agent knows the moment an offer is accepted, the deal's far from done with the thorny closing gauntlet still ahead. At this stage of a sale, commonly called escrow or a pending sale, real estate agents and their clients enter a heightened mode of vigilance and care.
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Why thought is the enemy of sales

Inmannews - Mon, 04/16/2018 - 1:00am
The client across the table stares expectantly at you. Suddenly you realize that instead of listening, you’ve been thinking about what to say next. It’s your time to talk. But deep down, you don’t really know what to say.
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A Healthy, Happy Haven: Tips on Creating a Relaxing and Nourishing Environment for Renters

American Apartment Owners Association - Sat, 04/14/2018 - 1:27pm

There are many factors that affect our health. How much exercise we get, how well we eat, and family history clearly have a lot to do with it. People often overlook the extent to which home environment has on one’s physical well-being because it’s easy to overlook things that we see and take for granted every day. As a landlord, it is your responsibility ensure that your renters are happy with the place they call home.

A recent study found a direct correlation between health and one’s home environment. Healthful surroundings are especially important in apartments and condominiums, smaller spaces where there may be fewer options for creating a truly safe and comfortable haven. Fortunately, there are a number of relatively easy modifications you can make to create the healthful and soothing space your renters need and deserve.

Wood is good

Carpeting is a source of many allergens and toxic substances that can threaten the health of your renters. Think about replacing it with hardwood flooring or tile, thus removing the presence of allergens, pet dander and other substances that have built up over the years and pose a threat to long-term health. Industrial carpeting often contains VOCs, toxins that can threaten your breathing air. Wood and tile are far easier to clean, requiring little more than a mop, and will be a big attraction for renters with pets, small children, and busy schedules.

Renew the outside

Unless your rental space is brand new, chances are it will look lived in. However, there is a difference between homey and run-down. Add curb appeal and make it a place renters look forward to going home to by spending some time on landscaping. It doesn’t have to be anything drastic, but a little bit of time spent pulling weeds, mowing grass, and adding pops of color via flowers are a great start. Go ahead and replace any torn window screens and give the exterior and pathways a good powerwash. If you have a balcony or outdoor patio area, breathe fresh life into them with potted plants — just don’t forget to water them.

Sick paint

Many paints contain toxins, which have been identified as the cause of neurological problems in children. There are many natural, non-lethal paints on the market these days, made from milk, berries, and various plant-based dyes, that make excellent alternatives and preserve a healthful living environment. Remember that any lead-based paint, which the EPA years ago identified as a health risk, should always be replaced. Most homeowners spend between $211 and $6,298 nationally to address home safety concerns related to lead and asbestos removal and improved air quality. Be sure to use quality tools, like a durable hammer or drill, if you’re planning to make home modifications yourself, or replace an old paint job that’s showing its wear. When repainting, stick to neutral colors such as white and tan, but if you allow it, encourage renters to paint walls with a color palette that suits their style.


Pleasant smells can contribute to a positive mental state and sense of well-being. Add some scented candles, an infusing device, an oil burner, or vaporizer to create a nurturing and soothing environment for your renters. If there is a bedroom or bathroom that tends to retain unpleasant smells, consider taking an aromatherapy approach. Or try setting out a couple bowls of coffee beans, which are effective at absorbing bad smells and infusing indoor air with a pleasant, natural smell.

Try reassessing your rental space as a source of relaxation and stress reduction. Focus on activities, smells and sounds that are soothing and make modifications accordingly. Remember, if you need to remove or replace anything toxic, such as lead paint or carpeting, consider hiring a professional. With a few simple changes, you can turn a rental space into a home.


Courtesy of



The post A Healthy, Happy Haven: Tips on Creating a Relaxing and Nourishing Environment for Renters appeared first on AAOA.

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Former Student Dormitory to be sold at Lender-ordered Auction

American Apartment Owners Association - Sat, 04/14/2018 - 1:03pm

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                               Contact: Allison Guyton

April 9, 2018                                                                              (507) 285-1444

Ullin, Illinois, April 9, 2018 – The former Saints Place Student Dormitory  will be auctioned by Maas Companies at 8954 Shawnee College Road in Ullin, Illinois on Thursday, May 10 at 10 AM.  Maas Companies specializes in the liquidation of specialized assets for banks and lenders nationwide.

The auction will include the 28,456 square foot single-story building on 10.3± acres access off Shawnee College Road and next to Shawnee Community College.  The building has state-of-the art geo thermal heating, 52 -400 sq ft individual rooms with private baths and showers.  The auction will include the remaining furniture selling with the real estate.

“The property offers a unique opportunity to the community,” Tyler Maas, Maas Companies said. “The space was built for $2.8 Million in 2008 and was only used for two semesters.  The property is bank owned and now ready for a new owner.”

Potential buyers are encouraged to view the property during the following days (other times by appointment):

  • Monday, April 16                                            9 a.m. –   3 p.m.
  • Wednesday, May 9                                         9 a.m. –   3 p.m.
  • Thursday, May 10                                           8 a.m. –   10 a.m.

Details of the sale are available at the auction website,

or by contacting the auction company directly at (507) 285-1444.

The post Former Student Dormitory to be sold at Lender-ordered Auction appeared first on AAOA.

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Tech expansion forcing homeowners to surrender homes in Wisconsin

Inmannews - Fri, 04/13/2018 - 3:24pm
To pave the way for a new Foxconn plant, one Wisconsin county is reportedly labeling livable houses as "blighted" in an effort to tear them down.
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Zillow shares take a tumble amid plans to get into iBuyer business

Inmannews - Fri, 04/13/2018 - 2:38pm
The market hasn't responded kindly to Zillow's announcement that they're expanding their Instant Offer program to new markets and getting into the business of buying and selling homes.
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Some SetSchedule customers express concerns over lead quality, service

Inmannews - Fri, 04/13/2018 - 1:57pm
Founder of lead referral startup says every negative customer complaint is taken seriously, and that the company is working on a number of improvements.
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10 hidden Facebook features all real estate agents should know

Inmannews - Fri, 04/13/2018 - 1:10pm
We’ve scoured the social media guides, tracked down the experts and sifted through the flashy add-ons to bring you the top 10 hidden Facebook features, tips and tricks every real estate agent should know in 2018.
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Opendoor founders subtweet Zillow’s new home buying service

Inmannews - Fri, 04/13/2018 - 11:34am
When Zillow announced it was entering real estate transactions as an iBuyer, Opendoor put on a good face. On Twitter, it's a different story.
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RPR CEO Dale Ross steps down, COO Jeff Young will take over

Inmannews - Fri, 04/13/2018 - 10:05am
Dale Ross, the founding CEO of Realtors Property Resource (RPR), a wholly-owned, for-profit subsidiary of the National Association of Realtors, will retire on May 1 and Jeff Young will assume the reins of the controversial organization in his current position as the company's COO. 
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Zillow’s other big announcement: higher quality leads for Premier Agents

Inmannews - Fri, 04/13/2018 - 9:23am
Zillow Group this month plans to roll out new updates to its Premier Agent program that will now filter quality leads directly to agents 24/7, the Seattle-based company announced.
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How To Succeed As A Property Manager

American Apartment Owners Association - Fri, 04/13/2018 - 8:23am

It’s true, whether we’re talking about the technology industry, the medical industry or the real estate industry, what Steve Jobs is believed to have once said: “If you really look closely, most overnight successes took a long time.”

Achieving success in property management often takes time — years of experience tempered by discipline, attention to detail and an unwavering commitment to withstanding responsibility and pressure.

Knowing how to juggle the manifold duties of property management is one of the great secrets to success. Understanding the value of communication and how best to liaise with both colleagues and clients is another skill that every property manager must master. And staying enthusiastic and knowing how to stimulate interest in your clients are absolute musts for sealing the deal.

Knowing the secrets to success of the best property managers is not enough; you need to actually possess these skills.

Building The Right Skillset

Constructing any skill set is not enough. The skills you refine and sharpen must be tailored to the profession.

As a property manager, you are exposed to a daily onslaught of real estate tasks. You need to deal with colleagues, tenants, owners, maintenance personnel, prospective clients — the list goes on.

Balance your time wisely to yield the best results. Without effective time management, you become consumed by a never-ending blizzard of stress, hampering your ability to meet the demands of each task. Your day becomes compromised and confused. Staying on top of your daily duties means having the knowledge to know what’s going on:

• Knowing when maintenance contractors are set to arrive.

• Knowing the intricate and unique details about each property.

• Knowing how to sell a property in line with its real and lasting benefits.

In other words, staying on top means staying ahead.

You must not only be prepared for what you need to get done but also to take on emergencies as and when they arrive. And emergencies are surely going to arrive. By their very nature, they are unanticipated challenges and property managers know how frequent they can become.

Dealing with multiple properties only magnifies these risks. The property manager is a vital cog in the entire management process. Failing to meet a target has a negative effect on your colleagues and, by extension, the clients they must deal with. Every member of the team, not just the property manager, needs to build trust and become dependable.

Trust comes with time, an interpersonal factor that evolves in tandem with your performance. Colleagues and clients may not remember the 98 times out of 100 that you were reliable. Instead, it’s the other 2% of times that dominates their impression. Those two mistakes may be the results of an unavoidable accident, but they are still unlikely to forget. Building a reputation of excellence is key to building a culture of trust among those you work with.

In Conclusion

Ultimately, it’s these skills — communication, reliability, the persistent knowledge of what’s going on and how to act upon it — that lead to ever greater client satisfaction. Your professional output is the currency of their satisfaction.

Through that satisfaction, your business can blossom even further. More growth translates into greater success. To become a successful property manager, you need to place the client at the heart of every professional action. While this may sound like a  cliche, it has become so for a reason: because it works.



The post How To Succeed As A Property Manager appeared first on AAOA.

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Fair Housing is 50, but has its promise been realized?

American Apartment Owners Association - Fri, 04/13/2018 - 8:21am

The landlord said she was “a stupid brown woman” who was exaggerating the need for repairs at her apartment, according to a discrimination complaint the Allison Park resident filed.

“You Indians are all the same,” the man said. “Do I hate Indians? No, I hate dealing with them.”

The still-pending complaint, filed earlier this year with the federal government, was made possible by the Fair Housing Act, a landmark law that celebrates its 50th anniversary this week. The legislation was the result of bitter battles following decades when housing discrimination was government policy.

The bill — a measure that civil rights advocates had long sought — finally passed in the aftermath of Martin Luther King Jr.’s murder and the subsequent violent protests that shook numerous American cities in the days after April 4, 1968.

“This tragedy has caused all good men to look deeply into their hearts. When the Nation so urgently needs the healing balm of unity, a brutal wound on our conscience forces upon us all this question: What more can I do to achieve brotherhood and equality among all Americans?” President Lyndon Johnson wrote in an April 5 letter to the speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives.

“There are many actions the Congress can take, on its part. The most immediate is to enact legislation so long delayed and so close to fulfillment. We should pass the Fair Housing law when the Congress convenes next week,” the president urged.

The law, which had been stalled in Congress for years, passed and was signed into law in a matter of days. Technically called the Civil Rights Act of 1968, it banned discrimination in the sale, rental or financing of housing based on race and several other factors.

“LBJ to Sign Open Housing Measure Soon,” read one headline in the April 11, 1968, edition of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, one column away from “Curfew Lifted As City Riots Come to End.”

Pittsburgh, like many other cities, had deeply segregated neighborhoods that confined Black residents to the worst-quality housing.

A 1962 study of “urban renewal” programs in Pittsburgh and Allegheny County pointed out the existing segregation in the city and county, as well as noting that Black families mostly lived in areas with older, dilapidated housing.

“An urban renewal program for Allegheny County must face up to the special problems of its 37,973 non-white families, which as a group, are heavily concentrated in areas at present or potentially scheduled for clearance and redevelopment,” the report stated.

“The non-white population in the County, of which more than 98% is Negro, is disadvantaged both economically, and specifically in its housing. These two conditions are interrelated,” the report noted.

Black Pittsburghers, the report noted, “have been largely left behind in the advancing prosperity of the post-World War II period.”

Prior to the Fair Housing Act, housing segregation in Northern cities was maintained in a number of ways, such as segregated public housing, restrictive zoning laws and restrictions written into deeds that prohibited Blacks from owning or occupying certain properties, said Gerald Dickinson, an assistant professor at the University of Pittsburgh Law School.

“Redlining” by banks and lenders also kept Black residents mostly confined to certain neighborhoods — making it almost impossible for them to get a mortgage, purchase a home and build wealth in the same way white families could.

“[The] real estate industry and the lending industry actually played a significant role in perpetuating segregation by not providing loans to African-American families,” said Mr. Dickinson.

By the 1950s, urban renewal programs, such as the demolition of part of Pittsburgh’s Hill District, had also begun to displace some Black residents, which put further strain on already overcrowded housing in Black neighborhoods.

Pittsburgh had passed its own local fair housing bill in 1959, though it had limited impact prior to the federal law, said Morton “Moe” Coleman, director emeritus of the Institute of Politics at the University of Pittsburgh and professor emeritus at Pitt’s School of Social Work.

“The real estate system was antagonistic to the idea” of fair housing, recalled Mr. Coleman, who worked for Pittsburgh Mayor Joseph Barr in implementing a number of the era’s federal anti-poverty initiatives.

“There was a huge amount of pushback,” he said.

Mr. Coleman testified in favor of the fair housing law in a 1963 case that tested the legislation before Allegheny County Common Pleas Court. The case came about when Oswald Nickens, an obstetrician who was African-American, wanted to buy a home in Stanton Heights. The Stanton Land Company refused to sell him the land on which to build a home, explicitly citing his race as the reason. The court sided with Dr. Nickens and said the fair-housing law should be upheld.

Today, complaints like those of the Allison Park woman who said she was subject to racist statements from her landlord, are investigated and, in some cases, landlords can face fines.

While not dismissing the gains in fair housing made since 1968, those who enforce the law today say there is still much progress to be made.

“If I look at 1968 and I look at today, there’s a lot that’s been successful,” said Jay Dworin, executive director of the Fair Housing Partnership, a private nonprofit that contracts with the federal government to enforce the act.

“Most people know that they can’t overtly say, ‘Hey, you’re Black, get out of my neighborhood.’ But what we do have is an abundance of discrimination with a smile and a handshake. … ‘Oh, I’m sorry; I just rented it.’ … The effect is the same.” — (AP)

“Has [the law] ended discrimination? It has not,” said Carlos Torres, executive director of the Pittsburgh Commission on Human Relations.

The majority of fair-housing complaints in Pittsburgh today concern discrimination based on disability, said Mr. Torres, head of the agency that investigates complaints of alleged discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations within the city of Pittsburgh.

Another common housing complaint is based on family status, such as a landlord not allowing a family to rent a unit because they have children.

“That’s against the law,” Mr. Torres said.

He said the commission’s Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Task Force will be seeking community feedback on 16 draft proposals and aim to present final recommendations to the mayor and city council next year.

Some of the recommendations include the following: passage of inclusionary zoning; a legal defense fund for low-income Pittsburghers facing eviction; non-discriminatory tenant-screening practices; maximizing the use of the Section 8 homeownership program; and fair-housing training for landlords and tenants.

“These [recommendations] could address long time gaps in terms of the city’s obligation to affirmatively further fair housing,” said Helen Gerhardt, who chairs the task force.

Enforcement of the Fair Housing Act has been its weakness, Mr. Dickinson said.

“A lot of this is piecemeal, over the years, in terms of changing the trajectory of discrimination and segregation in the country. There has been progress with regard to integration and desegregation. We still have aways to go,” he said.

Some fair-housing advocates are disheartened by what they see as less of a commitment from federal officials to further fair housing. Several point to cases that HUD has pulled back from under the current administration, such as a high-profile case in Houston.

The law is the “single most effective tool that we have in combating racial and other invidious housing discrimination and segregation in our communities, around the nation,” said Kevin Quisenberry, a Pittsburgh attorney who has handled fair-housing cases. However, it is only as effective as the efforts of those who work to enforce it, said Mr. Quisenberry, who works at the Community Justice Project, part of the Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network.

“It is difficult and frustrating as a fair-housing advocate to celebrate the 50th anniversary of what is landmark legislation, while fearing that people are attacking that same legislation today,” Mr. Dworin said.

The city of Pittsburgh also remains segregated in many respects.

A 2015 study by Pittsburgh Community Reinvestment Group noted in 2013 that half of all residential mortgage loan dollars in the city of Pittsburgh went to just seven neighborhoods: Squirrel Hill South, Squirrel Hill North, Shadyside, Point Breeze, South Side Flats, Highland Park, and Brookline.

“Concentrations of poverty, people of color, and vacancy persist in historically redlined areas,” two University of Pittsburgh researchers found in a 2016 paper that examined how 1937 government-drawn maps that restricted black Americans from mortgages compared to current geography.

The examination noted in 1937 that most of the city’s black population lived in one of three neighborhoods: the Hill District, East Liberty or Homewood.

“Despite the city’s current rhetoric of renewal, Pittsburgh is still constructed around a geography very similar to its past: Poor and black communities are concentrated in areas that suffered from divestment, whereas the affluent class and homeowners live in areas supported by a historic advantage,” researchers Devin Q. Rutan and Michael R. Glass wrote.

Housing activist Carl Redwood, speaking at a city planning meeting last month about plans for the site of the former Penn Plaza apartments in East Liberty, said black residents still are being displaced from their homes — a decades-long problem.

“We’re just giving them this promise that ‘At the end of the day, we hope that they all can come back,’ ” he said of the former Penn Plaza residents.

“Well, that end of the day didn’t come for the people in the Hill; it didn’t come for the people in St. Clair; it didn’t come for the people in Arlington; it didn’t come for the people in the high-rises in East Liberty; it just never comes. That day never comes,” he said, referring to now-shuttered subsidized housing.

“Where you live will determine more about your life than anything else,” such as what school you go to, the level of crime and violence you are subject to and job opportunities, Mr. Dworin said.

“Where you live is going to make that determination,” he said. “And if the color of your skin is going to be the barrier to that, then we are not as far from ’68 as we thought we were.”



The post Fair Housing is 50, but has its promise been realized? appeared first on AAOA.

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Feds take aim at sexual harassment involving landlords and tenants

American Apartment Owners Association - Fri, 04/13/2018 - 8:15am

Federal law enforcement officials are looking to bring awareness to a common form of sexual harassment that doesn’t get as much attention as workplace impropriety.

The U.S. Attorney’s office is spreading the word that reports of harassment in relation to rental housing can be make anonymously, directly to the U.S. Justice Department.

“Usually, what we’ve been seeing is discussion about sexual harassment in employment or the workplace, but what is not being discussed is sexual harassment in housing,” U.S. Attorney Matthew Schneider said.

“This is a real, nationwide problem where you’ll have somebody that might be landlord or maintenance worker… These people will say things like ‘I’ll let you stay here’ or ‘I’ll make those repairs if you do this.’ We wanted to have a dialogue about that with people in the community … to let them know that is a lawsuit under federal law.”

The Justice Department announced the initiative to combat sexual harassment in housing in October 2017 and Schneider led a roundtable discussion this week on the impacts of sexual harassment toward tenants and ways to combat it.

“What we usually find is this is a pattern of activity. If you don’t want to be kicked out of your apartment, you can still report it to the Justice Department. We can keep that anonymous, and we will do an investigation,” Schneider said.

The department is kicking off an informational campaign by distributing flyers with a phone number, letting victims know they have options, and can come forward.

“Trying to get victims to come forward is not easy,” Schneider said. “We’re trying to let people know we want to be there for you.

“… These people are victims of crime, so they might not want to report it, especially if their landlord says ‘I need you to do a sexual favor for me.’ These people have the keys to their houses, the keys to their apartments, and they could get kicked out.

Victims of sexual harassment can call the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division at 844-380-6378 or email They can also call the local civil rights hotline at 313-226-9151 or

The Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division enforces the Fair Housing Act, which prohibits housing discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, familial status, national origin and disability.



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Which Features Boost Home Sale Prices?

American Apartment Owners Association - Fri, 04/13/2018 - 8:13am

Selling a home can sometimes be as much art as science, but there are some things that work consistently well. Zillow recently analyzed the features that best help move homes and land higher sale prices, discovering along the way that using the keyword “steam shower” can help boost sale price by as much as 29 percent. It’s the little things…

For their 2018 Home Features That Sell analysis, Zillow examined listing descriptions for nearly four million homes nationwide that sold between January 2016 and December 2017. The goal was to discover what features—or even just descriptions of features—had the biggest impact on the final sale price of the home.

Steam showers were the premium feature that earned the biggest price bump for homes during the examined period, but they certainly weren’t the only one. “Professional appliance” came in second, also earning a 29 percent average price increase. In third place, “pizza oven” resulted in a 25 percent increase. For homes priced in the top third of the market, a “sub-zero fridge” can earn a seller an extra 38 percent premium.

The effect of these extra amenities also varies depending on the price range of the home being sold. A steam shower might be top-tier for pricier homes, but among homes priced in the lower third of all listings, “solar panel” was the top earner, generating a 40 percent increase over other starter homes that didn’t include them. For mid-level listings, mentioning a “shed/garage studio” can help generate a 24 percent price bump.

For sellers looking to turn the house around quickly, rather than merely generating the highest sales price possible, mentioning “exposed brick” typically sold two weeks faster than those without the feature. Terms such as “open shelving,” “dual flush,” and “mid-century” also sped up the sales process for homes including those features during the examined time period.

“While everyone has different style preferences, when it’s time to sell, being specific and strategic with your home’s listing description can have a big financial payoff,” says Jeremy Wacksman, Zillow’s CMO.

Remodeling Magazine recently conducted a study to determine which home renovation projects retained the most value during resale. Garage doors topped that list, recouping an average 98.3 percent of cost at resale. Rounding out the top five below that were manufactured stone veneers, entry door replacements (steel), deck additions (wood), and minor kitchen remodels.

As for the Zillow report, it also reveals that advertising a “pet shower” can earn sellers an extra 25 percent. Extra money and clean pets—it’s win-win.



The post Which Features Boost Home Sale Prices? appeared first on AAOA.

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