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5 Tips For Buying A Home In Westchester’s Hot Real Estate Market

 

 

Depending where you are, it can be a challenge for buyers in the housing market these days. When homes nationwide are selling on average within 3 weeks (sometimes within a day in places like Westchester!), buyers have to hustle to find a home they want and then possibly win the bidding war that comes after.

Distances to desirable establishments like school districts or employment centers are driving up prices as well. And all of this is doubly true for the super hot housing market of Westchester County, one of the most highly sought after areas in the country.

It’s no secret that higher rent and mortgage rates are convincing many to jump into home ownership now. In this fast paced market, it’s important to think flexibly and keep yourself centered. Here’s 5 tips to help you successfully push through the Westchester Housing Market!

 

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1) Act Quickly And Decisively When You Like a Home

 

When the home you want can be sold away overnight, there’s little time for window shopping. If you’re serious about jumping on a property, make sure to have your finger on the pulse.

  • Get prequalified – the first step.
  • Keep yourself updated by setting up online alerts with sites like Zillow or Redfin.
  • Check out the homes you want ASAP, and find a realtor who is willing to be as nimble as you are.

A perfect resource is the Westchester based Sterling Property Solutions, a real estate and property management company that knows the local market comprehensively.

Remember, being the first to make an offer leaves a solid impression. If there’s a higher offer made later, you often get a chance to make a new one yourself if you make it clear how much you love that home.

 

2) Avoid Contingency Contracts If Possible

 

Adding contingencies to your offer, such as having to sell your home before you can close on a new one, can make your offer less appealing and can move to you the bottom of the list. These nuances scare off sellers, especially if there are other offers being made without any.

An offer made with no caveats is cleaner, stronger, and informs the seller that you’re serious about making moves and making them on time.

 

3) Make A Strong Net-Price Offer

 

Sale prices have wiggle room but be realistic with your offer, especially in the competitive Westchester market where bidding wars run rampant. In this current low-inventory environment, an offer more than 10% below the asking price is a quick way to get rejected. Many realtors are advising buyers to offer asking price, or more, in desirable areas.

Keep your offer reasonable, and keep in mind that the net price takes closing costs and other monetary details into account in addition to the sale price.

Experienced local real estate agents will help you create a strong offer because they know Westchester. Agencies like Sterling Property Solutions, with its mastery of the Westchester market, will work with you to make a competitive and level headed offer.

 

4) Gather Up Your Best Down Payment

 

When you present your offer, make it the highest one you can reasonably muster. Research from ATTOM Data Solutions showed that average down payments were on the rise in 2017, and sellers are more likely to accept an offer from a buyer with a higher down payment.

 

This can happen for many reasons, including the conception that a buyer with a larger down payment will more easily qualify for a mortgage. In other words there is less perceived risk the deal will fall through.

It’s difficult and anxiety-causing for many buyers to gather down payment funds, but you don’t have to do it alone! There’s a myriad of programs available that can help add to the funds a buyer has saved on their own, and they aren’t all limited to low income or first time buyers.

 

5) Turn Coal Into Diamonds

 

Not every house leaves the best first impression, but no book should be judged by their cover alone. Buyers dead set on purchasing their dream homes will skip over homes that aren’t state of the art, even if they have good “bones”.

If you’re willing to play the long game and live through some updating, then making a purchase that will need an upgrade down the line could be worth it if the all-in cost is doable.

In a place like Westchester, it’s still all about “location, location, location”. Some towns are more expensive or desirable than others, and there are only so many houses in each price bracket. With that it mind, keep your buying options open in order to get into the school system or town you want, especially with the record-low inventory levels for homes under $1.5 million.


Contact Sterling Property Solutions today for all your Westchester County real estate and property management needs!

Sterling Property Solutions logo

Sterling Property Solutions

77 Tarrytown Road Suite 1E
White Plains, NY 10607

T: (914) 355-3277

F: (914) 831-7444

E: sterlingpropertysolutions@gmail.com

 

Top 4 Real Estate Tips for Fall Homebuyers in Westchester, NY

The spring and summer housing market in Westchester can be heated, filled with cash offers and bidding wars. There isn’t the same level of urgency in the fall, yet a good house is still going to get offers relatively quickly depending on the price level. Here are  the top reasons the fall market can be the right time for you to buy a house in Westchester, NY.

 

 

1. Not as much competition in the fall market

The intense competition for houses under $1.5 million dies down in the fall in Westchester. It is generally thought of as off-season but homes are still out there, even in October. The inventory that remains from the spring and summer markets may have been priced incorrectly, or need minor fixes.

While there is new inventory in the fall, it isn’t at the rapid pace of spring and summer. Still there are less buyers in general. Another advantage is that families who were on a mission to move into a new home before school started are out of the picture.

Less competition and less offers create leverage in negotiations. Homebuyers can think about offering less than they normally would, in the end getting a positive discount on the sale. Another great tip is to mention in the offer that you can close before the holidays, in order to further incentivize the seller to close the deal.

 

 2. It’s all about you

Real estate agents are generally busier in the spring and summer. The competition for houses is hot, and agents are often doubling up showings and stretched thin. That could result in you not getting as much individualized help as you wanted. This also goes for the other services involved in buying a home, like inspections, title companies and mortgage lenders. These professionals have gotten past the piles of paperwork and appointments from all the sales and have time to breathe.

 

 

Movers are also far busier in the spring and summer. In the fall they could offer discounted pricing to obtain business because the demand for their services isn’t as high.

 

3. Sellers are motivated and ready

While many homes still on the market in autumn are leftovers from summer, some are on the market because the situation is right for the seller. One scenario is the sellers were building a home and now it’s done, so they are motivated to sell and move in. Or maybe the homeowner got a new job and needs to relocate soon.

Sellers are more earnestly, and often urgently, trying to sell their home in fall. During spring and summer they are often content to wait it out until they get the offer they are looking for.

 

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4. Sellers feel home selling fatigue

There are sellers out there whose homes didn’t receive any accepted offers in the spring and summer. These home sellers may have been unrealistic in pricing their homes when they were listed. Now that time has gone by and they haven’t gotten their asking price, they might be ready to make a deal.

Since there is comparably less competition, the sellers are more motivated to accept offers that were rejected in the summer. The other, less appealing alternative for sellers is waiting another six months for the hot real estate season to come around.


Sterling Property Solutions can help you navigate the fall and winter real estate markets

Contact us now for a consultation, or check out our MLS listings and call us when you see a home that we can show you!

Sterling Property Solutions

F: (914) 831-7444

77 Tarrytown Road Suite 1E
White Plains, NY 10607

 

 

 

Adapt Your Westchester, NY Home to Its Selling Season

As Summer approaches in Westchester County, we thought it would be useful to offer some information explaining some of the different issues and solutions that arise in each of the seasons. You know Sterling Property Solutions as a residential, condo, and commercial property management firm. But did you know we are licensed real estate professionals who not only can help you buy or sell your home in Westchester, but also know the area, the ins and outs of the market.

Spring and Summer are the busiest seasons for selling or buying a home. But the reality is, homes are bought and sold all year long. There are clear challenges to selling a home in the winter, but there are also challenges to summer selling – think about keeping the lawn perfect as just one summer example.

An off-peak season might be the right time for you or your family’s situation. And for some sellers and buyers, winter has some advantages – as long as you know how to sell for your house’s season, whichever it may be.

Here we present a fantastic and relevant article by the real estate experts at HGTV.com that offers tips for selling your house in any season:

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Adapt Your Home to Its Selling Season

 

Play up your home’s amenities for the season in which you choose to sell.
There’s a selling myth that you should wait till springtime to sell your home. While spring is the busiest season for real estate sales, people buy homes 365 days a year. If you decide you need to sell your home in the off-peak season, emphasize its seasonal amenities.

Choose Your Selling Season

Because many buyers prefer to move in the spring or summer, the market starts to heat up as early as February. Families with children are eager to buy so they can move during summer vacation, before the new school year begins.

The market slows down in late summer before picking up again briefly in the fall. November and December are traditionally slow months, although some astute buyers look for bargains during this period.

Despite these trends, not everyone’s situation will be the same. Ask yourself questions like these:

  • How quickly do I need to move? If you need to relocate quickly for a new job or family emergency, you’ll need to sell as quickly as possible. If your moving dates are more flexible, you may be able to get a higher sale price in the spring or summer.
  • What season will your home be most desirable? If you’re selling a lake or beach home, for sale homes will be most in-demand in the early spring and summer months. A ski chalet in Aspen would make more buyers bite during wintertime.
Once you’ve chosen your selling season, play up its perks!

Master these tips for a successful home sale no matter what season it is:

Winter Selling Tips

  • Clear snow and ice away from walkways and stairs. If you live in an area with lots of snow and ice, keep walking areas salted and shoveled. Buyers and agents want to see that your home is well maintained, and, of course, you’re not likely to wow a house hunter if they fall on the way in and break a leg. Learn more about boosting your winter curb appeal.
  • Stage it outside. Even if the grass is brown and the patio is snow-covered, you can still do some outdoor staging. Tasteful winter wreaths and garlands can make your home seem welcoming. Just like inside the house, pick decorations that will appeal to a wide variety of buyers — blow-up snow globes and giant plastic Santas are probably no-nos. Learn more about staging for the holidays.
  • Make it cozy.
  • Clean up your windows.

Fall Selling Tips

  • Keep your lawn in shape. Just because summer is over doesn’t mean you should abandon your lawn. Patch up any brown spots in the grass, and keep falling leaves at bay with frequent raking.
  • Get a fall garden. As your summer plants start to fade, replace them with vibrant mums or other colorful plants. Tasteful fall decorations, like pumpkins or tri-colored corn, can also add to your home’s curb appeal.
  • Get indoor fall decorations, too. Without breaking the bank, get a few fall-colored decorations, like inexpensive window treatments or seasonal dinnerware. Fresh decor will make your space seem current and well-maintained.
  • Repair outside lights. As the days get shorter, you may end up showing your home in the dark. Make sure your outdoor lights are clean and working — if they’re dirty or broken, buyers will get a bad feeling before they even come inside.
  • Keep exterior photos of your home up-to-date. If you listed your home in the summer, update your online photos with brand new fall shots. Pictures from the previous season make your listing seem dated.

Spring Selling Tips

  • Whip your yard into shape. When you’re selling in the spring, you need to get your yard in shape as quickly as possible. Clear winter yard debris, and get frost-resistant plants that won’t be affected if a late cold spell hits. Or, invest in silk flowers for a touch of color that you don’t have to worry about watering.
  • Do some spring cleaning. It’s natural to want to spruce up your space in the spring, so scrub away! A sparkling home will impress buyers and make your home seem even more appealing.
  • Box up your winter wardrobe. Bulky winter clothes take up lots of space, so move them out as you de-clutter your closets. You’ll impress buyers with all that space.
  • Spruce up the entryway. If your welcome mat is covered with winter dirt, pick up a new one. A clean, pretty doorway will help set the tone for the entire showing.
  • Bring spring aromas indoors. Spring is not only a colorful season, but a fragrant one, too. Bring the aroma indoors. Scents have a profound effect on mood, so infusing scent into your decor with diffusers, candles, fresh cut plants/flowers, or incense can change the overall feeling of a space.
  • Bring out the bright colors. Tuck away the heavy, winter flannel comforter and pull out crisp linens with coverlets for color. Bring in the spring with floral-designed spreads or colorful solids. Don’t forget accent pillows for added style and comfort.

Summer Selling Tips

  • Highlight your outdoor areas. This is your outdoor space’s chance to shine. Clean your deck, porch, patio or outdoor kitchen, and repaint or make repairs if necessary. No deck? Arrange chairs or outdoor furniture in your yard to create the illusion of an outdoor room. Make necessary repairs to your home’s exterior, including your siding and windows.
  • Play up the pool. A pool is a huge selling point during the sweltering days of summer. Keep yours clean and debris-free, and create a seating area near the pool where buyers can imagine themselves floating through the cool water.
  • Spruce up your landscaping. Make sure your lawn and flower beds aren’t languishing in the summer heat. Add pops of color to your entryway with potted plants.
  • Add value and security with lighting. Frame your walkways and driveways with lights for a stylish touch.
  • Don’t skimp on the air conditioning. House hunters will want to escape the heat so make sure your home is nice and cool. Set the thermostat at a comfortable level, so it doesn’t feel like an ice box either.
  • Provide refreshments. Even though you likely won’t be home for a showing, greet buyers like you would party guests. During the dog days of summer, set out a cool pitcher of lemonade for buyers. Anything you can do to make them linger a little longer can only help you sell.

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Contact Sterling Property Solutions today for all your Westchester property management needs!

Sterling Property Solutions

77 Tarrytown Road Suite 1E
White Plains, NY 10607

F: (914) 831-7444

Zillow.com: 5 Benefits of Using a Property Management Company

Why Use a Property Management Company in Westchester, NY?

shutterstock_329026565Are you a hands-on landlord, or would you prefer to avoid weekend maintenance calls or monthly rental income and expense management? If you’d rather have someone else handle the details, hiring a property management company to manage your real estate investment might be the right choice for you. Yes, they’ll take a cut of your rental revenue, but they can also help streamline your business and free up your time.

Take the time to research and interview several companies. Choosing a property management company is a big decision, and not every property manager will offer the same level of service or be the best fit for your needs. But, when you find a good one, you may never want to go back to managing rentals on your own.

Here are 5 benefits a property management company can provide.

Screening out problem tenants

Experienced property managers see hundreds to thousands of applications, so their trained eyes are more likely to notice potential red flags when reviewing an applicant’s paperwork. Letting them manage the tenant screening process can improve your chances of landing a reliable tenant.

Acting as the point of contact for tenant concerns

If something breaks at your property, it’s not always convenient or possible to drive over to the unit to inspect it yourself (especially if it’s in another town or state). A property manager can address problems at all hours of the day and arrange for a service provider to repair or replace the item. Or, if you have a tenant who always seems to have a complaint, be it the noisy neighbors or the dog who relieves itself on the front lawn, you can breathe easy knowing that the property manager is the point of contact for those types of calls.

Decreasing tenant turnover

Good property management companies know how to keep their renters happy. They are responsive, available and take care of problems as they arise. Happy renters are less likely to look for another place to live and more willing to accept reasonable rent increases.

Ensuring rent is paid on time

Since many property management companies deduct their fees from the monthly rent, they are motivated to keep those payments flowing in. Consistent rent collection is the key to receiving rent payments on time, and a property management company will enforce lease policies if payments aren’t received. If tenants are consistently failing to pay their rent on time (or at all), the property manager will know the proper steps to deal with the situation, including issuing an eviction notice if necessary.

Reducing your rental headaches

If someone else is handling the daily management of your rental property and tenants, you’ll have fewer complications and commitments to worry about. If more time and less stress are key to your quality of life, a property management company can be a great asset.

Investing in rental real estate can contribute to your monthly cash flow and build long-term wealth — but day-to-management isn’t for everyone. If you just want a rent check and don’t want to be responsible for all of the details of your real estate investment, leaving it up to the pros can be well worth the cost.

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Contact Sterling Property Solutions today for all your Westchester property management needs!

Sterling Property Solutions

77 Tarrytown Road Suite 1E
White Plains, NY 10607

F: (914) 831-7444

Ten Top Benefits Property Managers Give Homeowners in Westchester

We found a great article from Appfolio that lists the top ten benefits a property management company offers property owners. Take a look, and let us know if we can help you with your property!

 

#1  Saving money with contractor relationships.

A management firm vets contractors and looks for the best prices and highly trained technicians who are licensed, bonded, and insured. Outside services, combined with an in-house maintenance staff and a capable supervisor to monitor routine inspections, spot issues before they turn into major problems. This means happier residents and fewer high-priced emergency repair bills.

#2  Increasing revenue with high-quality residents.

Screening residents preserves the revenue stream. Experienced managers know how to spot red flags on applications and identify those applicants most likely to pay on time and take good care of the property. Advanced technology and screening tools allow leasing agents to evaluate dozens — or hundreds — of applicants thoroughly and quickly.

#3  Avoiding legal problems, financial pitfalls and scams.

TransUnion reported that it costs landlords about $1,917 to evict a resident. The credit reporting agency recommends that property managers report rent payment history as a way to help renters improve their credit score and improve risk management for landlords.

A skilled manager understands landlord-resident laws governing resident rights, eviction processes and safety. A few other potential legal issues include:

  • Discrimination
  • Leasing disclosures
  • Rent collection and late fees
  • Notification and access for inspection
  • Licenses and permits

#4  Boosting occupancy numbers.

A veteran property manager understands the importance of short vacancy periods. Managers offer owners access to proven marketing strategies and rate comparison tools to capture the highest return on investment based on community standards.

#5  Stabilizing higher retention rates.

Keeping residents happy is perhaps the best way to improve occupancy rates. A good property manager looks for ways to enhance the customer experience. That means renters have access to resident portals that make paying rent efficient and convenient. Maintaining a safe, attractive community and building relationships are two other ways managers increase satisfaction to curtail frequent turnover.

#6  Simplifying accounting and oversight.

An experienced property manager shares information about tax deductions and investment opportunities for owners’ consideration. While most managers don’t help owners prepare tax returns —that’s a job left to CPAs and tax professionals — they provide tools like owner portals that include on-demand owners’ statements and reports to keep owners informed about the income, expenses and maintenance requests.

#7  Defining the rent capture process.

Efficient rent collection processes ensure financial success for property owners and managers. The management team assumes responsibility for establishing and enforcing strict payment guidelines. That means homeowners don’t have to spend time and money chasing down the rent every month.

#8  Enjoying the benefits of property ownership without giving up personal freedom.

Some people invest in real estate as a means of funding an active retirement. With a reputable property management team minding the fort, owners can travel extensively, spend more time with family or explore other hobbies and interests — without worrying about their property.

 

#9  Increasing property value.

Annual preventative maintenance inspections, repair or replace policies for appliances and initiating property upgrades to stay competitive protect assets and increase value. Property managers stay in constant communication with owners about steps they can take to manage property value in the market place.

#10 Reducing stress.

The nine benefits above all serve to reduce the stress of property ownership. It’s not easy to put a price tag on living a life free from the hassles of being a landlord, but most would agree that less stress is definitely a valuable benefit.

Contact Sterling Property Solutions today for all your Westchester property management needs!

Sterling Property Solutions

77 Tarrytown Road Suite 1E
White Plains, NY 10607

F: (914) 831-7444