Home Trends Biggest Losers

Biggest Losers: 20 Home Design Features That Send Buyers Running

Hope these tips help. Seems like easy items to fix.

September 21, 2009 by Melissa Tracey · 14 Comments
Filed under: Home Trends

By Barbara Ballinger, Architecture Coach columnist and guest blogger

Design glitches draw attention away from a home’s best features. Don’t let out-of-date fixtures and unappealing decor cost you a sale. While some buyers may actually appreciate “vintage” features, home and design experts say these 20 features almost always serve as a turnoff.

1. Dated and excessively bold or dark paint and tile colors, such as “Pepto Bismol” pink, avocado green, deep plum, or jet black. “Dark can be cool, but it has to be a color that’s popular today,” says sales associate Jennifer Ames, crs®, of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Chicago.

2. Lacquered or high-gloss painted walls that are expensive to repaint and show all defects. Likewise, faux- and sponge-painted walls can be so passe.

3. Painted trim that’s very dark-and costly to remove.

4. Wallpaper, which is a lot of work (and potentially expensive) to remove. Most disliked: Dated flowered or striped patterns.

5. Kitchens that lack any dining space. Also, outdated, small-scale, and dirty kitchen appliances that look like they won’t perform.

6. Worn, cracked laminate countertops, and backsplashes or plastic cultured marble.

7. Outdated bathrooms with small sinks, short toilets, squatty bathtubs, and tight showers-all of which aren’t conducive to unwinding after a long day’s work, says Ames.

8. Lack of ample closet space in bedrooms, or no closet at all and no place to build one or add an armoire.

9. Dens, libraries, and family rooms without built-in bookcases or a space to include shelves.

10. Stained and worn wall-to-wall carpet in rooms or on stairs. Worst choice: shag. Also, worn linoleum that suggests a house was never updated.

11. Poorly built additions that don’t blend with a home’s architecture, such as a sunroom with tinted glass.

12. Shortage of windows or very small windows, which makes a home feels dark and gloomy.

13. Ceilings with so many recessed lighting spots that they resemble Swiss cheese and are expensive to remove. Worst offenders: big 6-inch diameter lights.

14. Too many rooms outside the kitchen and bathroom that have cold ceramic tiled floors.

15. Children’s bedrooms with a theme that runs through the carpeting, wallpaper, murals, ceilings, light fixtures, curtains, and furnishings.

16. Homes without a foyer or garage.

17. Too many mirrored walls, ceilings, doors, and backsplashes in a single room. The effect is dizzying, Ames says. One mirror magnifies, but many cheapen the look.

18. Skimpy molding and trim, such as 1-inch baseboards.

19. Noisy, grinding fan in a bathroom that’s attached to a light switch so it can’t be turned off.

20. Inexpensive gold-colored light fixtures in any room. Also, Hollywood-style lighting with huge bulbs in a bathroom is also out of date, design experts say.

A Guide to Appraisals

Here is some information that I found useful from RISMEDIA on Appraisals.

It’s easy to get confused and frustrated during the appraisal process when buying or selling a home. Because of this, the Appraisal Institute recently released tips for consumers, providing guidance for homeowners and buyers seeking to ensure their sales are completed in a timely manner.

The Appraisal Institute’s tips encourage homeowners and buyers to:

• Understand the role of appraisals.
• Make sure their lender hires a qualified appraiser (such as a designated SRA, SRPA or MAI member of the Appraisal Institute).
• Accompany the appraiser during the inspection of the property, if possible.
• Request a copy of the appraisal report from the lender.
• Examine the appraisal report and ask questions.
• Appeal the appraisal if appropriate.
• Ask the lender to order a second appraisal by a qualified and designated appraiser.
• File legitimate complaints with appropriate state board or professional appraisal organizations.

Appraisals are especially important because they are an objective and unbiased source of information. Unlike others involved in real estate transactions, the appraiser is an independent professional who performs a service for a fee rather than for a commission.”

Normal declines in the real estate market have led to increased caution by lenders. That caution has led to delays in completing some real estate transactions.

Michele Muir White R(S), ABR, SFR
Coldwell Banker Island Properties
Wailea Gateway Office
Access Maui MLS @



New US Treasury Short Sale Rules

New Guidelines Meant to Make Short Sales a More Usable Tool

Excerpts taken from:
By Paul Owers Print Article

RISMEDIA, January 15, 2010—(MCT)—Financially-stressed homeowners left hanging while their banks consider whether to approve the short sales of their properties may benefit from new federal guidelines that give lenders a 10-day limit in which to respond to purchase offers.
The rules from the U.S. Treasury, which also allow financial incentives for both sellers and lenders, could figure prominently in Florida’s housing market, where about one in every five existing-home purchases involves a short sale.
Expect at least a 60-day wait when they try to buy or sell a home via a short sale. And as Treasury’s expedited short sale process emerges between now and April “It’s a very tough process to get some degree of standards,” Balanoff said of short sales. “I think this will help—it will put more pressure to comply and get quicker results. Three or four months of waiting for an answer is not doing anyone any good—even lenders.”
The effect of the new rules will likely be somewhat limited because only banks that owe the federal government TARP bailout funds must comply. And according to Balanoff, even when certain banks do push for faster short sales, there is so little consistency among mortgage negotiators that he doesn’t expect the new deadline measures to be applied or enforced evenly.
In a short sale, the homeowner sells the property for less than what is owed on the mortgage, and the lender forgives the difference.
The Treasury rules, in addition to imposing a 10-day deadline for bank decisions, call for sellers to receive $1,500 moving allowances—and for the sellers to not have to repay any of the debt. Also, lenders will get $1,000 to cover administrative and processing costs, while investors owning the mortgages will receive a maximum $1,000 for allowing as much as $3,000 of a short sale’s proceeds to be distributed to less senior lenders.
The 83 loan servicers participating in the Obama administration’s Making Home Affordable loan modification program are required to follow the guidelines for all borrowers who have requested short sales or who did not complete loan modifications. The rules do not specifically apply to loans guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, which constitute about half of all U.S. mortgage debt. The two government-run mortgage companies are working on their own guidelines.
The Treasury plan, which must be implemented by lenders no later than April 2010, is meant to help sellers like Dawn Sclafani, who has been waiting since October for her lender to approve a short sale offer on her South Florida home. A buyer has offered $155,000, and she owes $233,000. Sclafani, a psychologist who lives in Margate, Fla., said she is eager for her bank to approve the deal so she can put the experience behind her. “I want to move on, but I can’t until somebody gives me permission to,” she said. “I’ve heard that this is a horrendous process. The banks are just not very cooperative. I do believe these new rules will help.”
The guidelines are meant to make short sales “a more usable tool.” The rules provide standardized paperwork for all short sales, and give buyers and sellers a more reasonable time frame for finding out whether or not the sales will happen. Others say the government may have to increase the financial incentives. The $3,000 cap on short-sale proceeds to less-senior lenders is not sitting well with second-lien holders, who have been demanding more money from sellers, the first lenders and real estate agents in exchange for releasing their claims and allowing the short sales to proceed.  Many short sale properties have two liens.
A spokeswoman for the Treasury says it will hand down “substantial” penalties to lenders that don’t comply. The agency said it can fine lenders, withhold or reduce incentive payments, or require improperly rejected loans to be modified. Lenders have blamed short sale delays on the complicated nature of the transactions, sheer numbers of deals and on borrowers who don’t submit proper paperwork in a timely manner.
Because short sales involve so many moving parts, lenders will be hard-pressed to meet the 10-day deadline, said Anthony DiMarco, executive vice president of government affairs for the Florida Bankers Association. “That will be a challenge,” he said.
In many cases, the banks are not to blame for the delays, said Ward Kellogg, chief executive of Boca Raton-based Paradise Bank. But he thinks the guidelines are necessary to help clear the market of so many distressed properties. “I think the pressure on the banks is a good thing,” Kellogg said.
(c) 2010, Sun Sentinel

Maui Real Estate Dec. 2009 & Year End Stats

The Maui Real Estate Market has taken an upswing towards the later part of 2009. The market is looking promising as the Canadian dollar strengthens and prices adjust.  Listed below are the Dec/2009 and 2009 Year End Maui Real Estate Statistics.  Wailea and Makena Real Estate continue to lead the state in the luxury real estate market.

December 2009 Sales Volume – Residential Sales posted a 17-month high with 90 sales and Condo Sales rose to 80 units. Land sales dropped to 9 lots.
December’s Median sales prices – Homes rose to $477,000.  Condos remained steady at $401,500.  Land declined to $305,000.
Days on Market for Residential homes = 154 DOM, Condos = 170 DOM, Land = 111 DOM.
2009 Year to Date

Residential unit sales  – declined (-24%), average sold price = $713,946 (-14%), median price = $498,106 (-14%) and total dollar volume sold = $494,764,887 (-35%).
Condo unit sales – increased (4%), average sold price = $719,993 (-22%), median price = $450,000 (-18%). Total Condo dollar volume sold = $593,273,850 (-18%).
Land  (NOTE: Land Lot sales were so few that statistics are not necessarily a reliable factor) lot sales declined (-10%), average sold price = $1,111,387 (+12%), median price = $485,000 (-31%), Total dollar volume = $121,141,185 (+23%).
Residential = 693
Condo = 824
Land = 109
December 7, 2009 – Active/Pending/Contingent status inventory
Homes 996
Condos 1,495
Land 522
Current Absorption Rate base on this month’s inventory divided by Dec. Sales is:
Residential = 11 months, Condo = 18.6 months, Land = 58 months.


Maui Begins Peak Home Buying Season

Peak Home Buying Season Getting Underway in Maui

We are just beginning our peak home buying season on Maui. Our peak season coincides with our primary visitor season. We get higher visitor numbers between now and roughly the middle of April. More visitors on island mean more potential second home sales.

It will be interesting to see what this year’s peak season brings. Maui’s real estate market has a little bit of momentum coming out of the fall. Sales volume elevated from the doldrums of the market that we were seeing in late 2008 and early 2009. The momentum stems from renewed confidence among home buyers, good opportunities on the market and first time buyers seeking the benefits of tax incentives.

There are positive signs for our real estate market during this winter season as we are continuing to see good buyer opportunities. The value of currency will also play a factor in our market. The 2007 winter season saw a lot of purchases by Canadians and other international buyers. These buyers were bolstered by the strength of their currency versus the American dollar. Last year, the Canadian dollar plunged almost 30% in value and the Canadians went away. This year, the dollar has regained most of that value and interest from north of the border has returned.

Sellers still need to remain mindful that this remains a buyer’s market. Short sales and foreclosures are also continuing to leave their mark.
For those that need assistance buying or selling, please feel free to contact me for responsive and professional service.