Real Estate News

I just read an article this morning posted on Business Insider that focused on 13 real estate tips given by Zillow's CEO, Stan Humphries, in his new book Zillow Talk: The New Rules of Real Estate. At first, these tips seemed really strange. However, once I started thinking about it more and more, I realized how valuable these tips actually are. Here are my top 3 favorite tips listed:

  • Buy a home near a Starbucks
  • Don't renovate your kitchen to increase the value of your house
  • NEVER use the word "unique" in a listing

So let's start with the first one: Buy a home near a Starbucks? What? What does that have to with anything? I know home-buying and selling is all about location, location, location, but sheesh! It made a little more sense to me when it was said that "In the last 17 years, the average American home has appreciated 65%. But properties adjacent to a Starbucks have appreciated 96%." Still not good enough for you to believe? Houses within a quarter of a mile from a single Starbucks location appreciated 21% in the last five years compared to those farther away at 17%. What it seems to me is like residents prefer having a high-end coffee shop conveniently located within walking distance from their own home. I guess that $5 cup of coffee really is that important after all.

Secondly, I thought renovations (especially in the kitchen) helped to directly increase the value of a home? As written in the book, Humphries found that
 for every dollar spent on a kitchen renovation, only 50 cents of that dollar help to increase the value of a home. Although strange at first, I quickly understood that only relatively moderate renovations are really necessary in kitchen updates (ie, appliances, hardware, etc.). Anything other than that is cosmetic, and only the current home owners are really going to appreciate the built-in wine rack above the granite counter top while new, potential buyers may not even like wine, making that a useless investment because some buyers would never want it.

Lastly, avoiding the word "unique" in a listing description was new one for me. Humphries found that homes with that word in their description can, in some cases, make the home sell for up to 50% less than originally asked for. Why? The article states because "unique" tends to be code for "this house requires a lot of work." Makes sense, I suppose. But what if a home really is unique in its design and architecture? After reading this, I guess it's better to stick to terms like: custom-designed, original, and charismatic.

You can read this article in its entirety over here.
Posted by Matthew Vassallo on April 9th, 2015 2:48 PM



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