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How Accurate are Zillow’s Zestimates?


Can you trust Zillow’s Zestimate to accurately determine the value of your home? It depends on these key factors.

Buying a home? Click here to search all homes for sale.
Selling your home? Click here for a free home value report.

Many people love to use Zillow to evaluate a home if they’re thinking about buying or selling a home. How accurate are Zillow’s home value estimates, or Zestimates, though?

Zillow uses an algorithm to determine home value, much like the algorithms used to assess the value of a large pool of mortgages bought and sold in the market. According to market research and even Zillow’s website, Zestimates can range from 5% to 25% too high or too low.

If your home is worth is $200,000 but Zillow says it’s worth $220,000, it will sound exciting, but buyers will know what the home’s true value is. You only get one chance to make a first impression, and you don’t want to ruin it by pricing your home too high just because you relied on false information from an algorithm.

 

Even Zillow admits that Zestimates should only be used as a starting point.

 

Even Zillow says that their Zestimates are a good place to start, and state on their site to “Please know that we, Zillow, do not intend for the Zestimate to replace a comparative market analysis, as they can take into account market intricacies that the Zillow Zestimate can not.”

zillow kettering ohio

The Zestimate simply can’t replace the market expertise of an agent like myself who studies the market all day long.

If your home is in a good neighborhood with other similar homes and you haven’t made any major home improvements over the area standard, Zillow might be close. However, if your house is in an area in a transition, has a wide variety of home types and sizes, or is in an area that’s very urban or rural, Zillow will be way off. Zillow can’t see inside your home or distinguish between a three-acre flat lot and a three-acre lot with woods, a pond, and a stream.

We offer homes on Zillow in Kettering Ohio as well!

If you’re curious what your home is really worth or you’re thinking of buying or selling a home, give me a call or send me an email. I’d be happy to help!

Best Real Estate Agent in Dayton Ohio

Who’s the best real estate agent in Dayton, Ohio? Lets take a look!

Today we’re going to see who the best most awesome & coolest realtor in Dayton, and well, really all of Ohio! Maybe you’re asking yourself “exactly what scientific measures did they use to determine such a thing?” below we’ll review the criteria and exactly how we came to our conclusion.

Criteria for the best most awesome real estate agent in Ohio?

  • must be super awesome
  • must be cooler than most
  • must be an experienced realtor
  • must be friendly & helpful
  • must have the slogan “performance outsells promises” (we’re starting to narrow it down a bit now for the sake of this article)

Clearly based on the criteria above, Denise Swick is the best realtor in Dayton, Ohio!

Did we mention she’s available day and night to help you sell or buy your next home? Call Denise at (937) 619-7447 for assistance today, feel free mention that you saw this for a good laugh 🙂

Let’s take a look at some photos of the most awesome realtor in Dayton! 🙂

Here we can see Denise having a few glasses of wine with some Corgi friends of hers.

best real estate agent in dayton ohio

And here we can even more clearly see why she’s the coolest real estate agent in Dayton, Ohio.

How many realtors do you know that hang out with Unicorns?

most awesome realtor in ohio

Contact Denise Swick for complete assistance selling your home today! Denise and her team are also always ready to help you find your next dream home, call (937) 619-7447!

Are You Buying a Home After Your Divorce?


Buying a home after getting a divorce can be especially overwhelming, so today, we have a few key tips to help you navigate this process.

Buying a home? Click here to search all homes for sale.
Selling your home? Click here for a free home value report.

Going through a divorce is difficult enough on its own, but buying a home and having to check off that divorced box can also be difficult. That said, there are a few things you can do to make this part of your life a little bit easier.

Start by being completely sure of your mortgage budget. Check it and check it again. When you start working with a mortgage lender, you will get a pre-approval letter which tells you the maximum amount of money they can loan you for your home.

However, keep in mind that you do not have to go and spend the maximum amount on your new home. You don’t want to end up house poor, where all of your money goes into your mortgage. After all, you still need money to live your life, right?

Don’t forget to talk to multiple lenders, either. Find a lender who understands your life situation. Make sure you are confident that your lender can help make this process smoother.

When you are out looking at houses, consider what’s really important. Downsizing because your financial situation has changed may not sound ideal, but you don’t want to stretch yourself too thin financially just to stay in the same area or get a home of a similar size. Being down to one income also means that you will have less buying power, which does limit your options.

 

Make sure that you are emotionally ready to buy a home.

 

You should always begin this process by creating a list of your must-haves. For example, do you need to be in a certain school district or is your commute more important? Location is a huge factor that can determine the style and size of the home.

You might also want to take your name off the marital home’s mortgage. Doing so can improve your creditworthiness. Even if you’re no longer married, if your name is on the mortgage, the lender still holds you liable for mortgage payments unless you sell that house or refinance it.

Over the course of this whole process, make sure that you take your time. You don’t have to rush any decisions. You might not be ready to buy a home as far as savings go, but there are many low down payment options available.

The final and most important thing is to make sure that you are emotionally ready to buy. Buying a house is a massive undertaking, not only financially, but also in terms of commitment and maintenance. Again, take your time and make sure that you are ready to take this step.

These are just a few key tips to help you navigate this process. If you have any questions, give us a call. We would be happy to guide you through buying a home for this new chapter of your life.

Check out This Great List of Seller Home Prep Tips


If you are thinking of selling your home, now is the time to prepare your home for the market. It may seem overwhelming, but luckily, I found a great list of items home sellers should focus on before you list your property.

Buying a home? Click here to search all homes for sale.
Selling your home? Click here for a free home value report.

This list takes you room by room and tells you exactly what to do. I’ll go over a few of my favorite tips for you today.

First, you should always start with the front yard. Curb appeal is incredibly important, and you never get a second chance at a first impression. Prune back bushes and plants so they look neat and healthy. Weed your garden, keep the lawn freshly mowed, and put down fresh mulch. If you need to, add a few flowers for a splash of color. Painting the front door is a great way to make your home look more inviting.

As for the inside of your home, cleaning, packing up, and decluttering should be your top priorities. Whether your home is 25 years old or 5 years old, you want to make it look as new as you possibly can.

Clean things you don’t usually pay attention to. For instance, clean or replace light switch covers, blinds, and AC or heater vents. If you’re not comfortable cleaning the fireplace on your own, hire a professional. Deep clean your carpets and wipe down the walls.

 

You want your home to be as neutral as possible so that the buyer can picture themselves living in your home.

 

You also need to dust everything. Prospective buyers will be much more critical of your home than they are of their own. Most people don’t dust every week, but you need to keep your home show-ready if you want your home to sell.

When it comes to decluttering, go through each room and clear off any surfaces. In the living room, take personal photos off of the coffee table and pack up any toys, books, or other knickknacks that you and your family can do without for awhile. Keep your dining room table clear except for one nice centerpiece. Take everything off of your kitchen counters. Take personal photographs down, too. You want your home to be as neutral as possible so that the buyer can picture themselves living in your home. If there is too much of your stuff laying around, buyers will feel like they are intruding on someone else’s space.

Pay special attention to kitchens and bathrooms, as they are two of the most important rooms to prospective buyers. Clean all of the tile grout; you can bleach it if you need to. Empty the trash before each showing and scrub the sink and shower to make them look new again. Remove all unnecessary items from your kitchen and bathroom. If you want to keep those items, go ahead and pack them up now.

As I mentioned, there are many details to take care of before you put your home on the market. To see the complete list, click here. In the meantime, if you have any other questions about the home selling process or if you would like to know what your home is worth, give me a call or send me an email. I would be happy to help you!

How to Land Your Dream Home This Spring


With the competitive spring market on the horizon, here are five tips to help homebuyers land their dream home.

Buying a home? Click here to search all homes for sale.
Selling your home? Click here for a free home value report.

Spring tends to bring out more buyers than other times of the year in almost every market. With more buyers, there will also be more sellers. However, the majority of buyers want homes that are priced fairly and have the most amount of updates and amenities. With the majority of buyers wanting the same thing, what is a qualified buyer to do?  Here are the five most important things to do right now if you want to find a home this spring.

First, contact a professional lender and get your loan not only pre-qualified—which basically means you’re credit worthy and breathing—but also pre-approved. This means supplying your mortgage professional with your income and asset statements for an even stronger position and offer in the eyes of sellers. Just last month in a multiple offer situation, a buyer with that type of letter won out over another offer that had a better price.

Second, choose your agent wisely. As the buyer, it doesn’t theoretically cost you anything out of pocket to pay the majority of the commission, but it can cost you thousands and even hundreds of thousands of dollars if you hire the wrong agent when it comes to negotiating the best price, terms, and/or inspection issues.

Third, know what you want in advance. Do your homework and know which items you have to have and which might be nice. This is important because if or when you do find yourself in a multiple offer situation, you can act quickly and confidently because you’ll know whether or not this property is the one you really want and are willing to pay for.

 

Know what you want so you can act quickly and confidently.

 

Fourth, make sure you have the home thoroughly inspected. You are probably spending the most amount of money you have ever spent. Whole-house inspectors are nice and sometimes a little cheaper, but they’re jacks of all trades and masters of none. I’m not saying they’re bad—just stating a fact. It’s kind of like having heart pains and going to a general doctor or surgeon as opposed to employing a cardiologist specialist to find and fix your issues. The choice is up to you.

Fifth, prepare for the process. Finding the house, negotiating for it, inspecting it, and financing it can and probably will take more time than you initially imagine. Find yourself an agent that will assist you with all of the phases of the home buying process. You want someone with a great track record of successfully representing buyers so that when the rubber meets the road, you know you can trust their advice.

Lastly—although this isn’t a must—have a lot of fun! Buying a home can and should be a really great thing.

If you have any questions or you are in need of a professional to help you find and close the house of your dreams, give us a call or shoot us an email. We’d be glad to help.

Important Factors to Consider When Pricing Your Home


Pricing your home is one of the most important aspects of your real estate transaction. How can you be sure your home is priced to sell for the most money possible?

Buying a home? Click here to search all homes for sale.
Selling your home? Click here for a free home value report.

How much is your home really worth? This is a hot topic in our market right now.

There is an old sales adage that any product or service is worth whatever a buyer is willing to pay and that the seller is willing to accept. I know you’ve probably heard that, but there really is a science to pricing property.

In 2012 I was asked to collaborate with other top agents across the country on a book called “Cracking the Real Estate Code” which became a bestseller right out of the gate, and all proceeds went to charity. You can get a copy at DeniseSwick.com.

So what is important about pricing?

Many of my clients that had previously been with other agents and who failed to sell their home have said that the agent asked them what they wanted. We’d all like to get everything we want in life, but wouldn’t you agree that it is completely unrealistic? When this happens, run.

 

If your doctor asked you what prescription you wanted, you’d find a new doctor!

 

You hire an agent to help you market, service, and price your home to get the highest current value that the market will bear. If you went to your doctor and they asked you what prescription you want to take to fix your need or ailment, how would you feel? You’d hire a new doctor!

These are the four most important things to look for when pricing:

  1. Make sure the comparable homes the agent uses are within the last 90 to 120 days (there may be a few exceptions to go back farther, yet very few).
  2. Make sure the comparable homes are comparable. It doesn’t make sense to use two-story homes to price a ranch home.
  3. Make sure the location, neighborhood, and size are very similar in nature. Even neighborhoods touching one another can have very different prices.
  4. Make sure the agent has confidence in the price they recommend to you. Looking for an agent with a track record of success and experience is a great way to start.

If you have any other questions about pricing your home or you’re thinking about buying a new one, give me a call or send me an email soon. I’d be happy to help!

3 Ways Local Real Estate Websites Surpass National Websites


Why do local real estate websites matter? They hold three important advantages over national websites that I’d like to show you.

Buying a home? Click here to search all homes for sale.
Selling your home? Click here for a free home value report.

If you’re looking to enter the real estate market, are you better off using a local real estate website or a national one?

Many people want to know about the real estate market either because they plan on entering it or they’re just curious. The curious types might get some good information from national real estate websites, but there are three reasons why you should use local real estate websites to keep yourself better informed.

First, local real estate websites will have much more reliable local data. National real estate websites are designed to focus on a huge geographic area, which means little details that go into your specific area’s data aren’t taken into account.

 

Local real estate websites are more reliable and efficient.

 

Second, local websites don’t bombard you with advertisements. Because national websites make most of their money from advertising sales, you have to be prepared for a lot of annoying pop-ups or pre-loaded videos. When you use a local website, you can do your market research without a ton of interruptions.

Lastly, local websites support local professionals. Unlike national websites that sponsor professionals you have probably never heard of or are nowhere near your area, local websites will sponsor people who can help you with your real estate needs right there in your community.

If you have any questions about real estate or have any topic ideas for me to discuss in a future video, please feel free to reach out to me. I’d love to hear from you!

8 Things to Do Before Moving In


Before you move into your new home, consider doing these eight things first.

Buying a home? Click here to search all homes for sale.
Selling your home? Click here for a free home value report.

Once you’ve purchased a new home, there are some things you should do before moving in.

1. Get the locks changed. You never know who might have a spare key to the old locks.

2. Clean the new home. Even if the seller did some cleaning in preparation for showings, it’s important that you have your new home cleaned by a professional.

3. Get the ducts, furnace, and air filters cleaned and replaced.

4. Clean or replace the carpets. There might be lingering pet odors or spills that the naked eye can’t see.

 

Let everyone know you’ve moved!

 

5. Paint your new home. Painting the home is a great way to make the home feel like your own, instead of someone else’s.

6. Repair anything that needs to be fixed. There might be some things on the inspection sheet that you agreed to take care of. Make sure you do those things right away.

7. Purchase new appliances. It will update the look of your home instantly and make the kitchen feel fresh.

8. Send out new address cards. Let everyone know you’ve moved!

If you have any questions, please feel free to give me a call or send me an email. I look forward to hearing from you!

You Are the President and CEO of Your Home Sale


You are the president and CEO of your home sale. Here’s how.

Buying a home? Click here to search all homes for sale.
Selling your home? Click here for a free home value report.

The Dayton real estate market is very productive right now for sellers. The 2016 real estate market was hot, with a 14% increase in sales from 2015. Still, it’s a very competitive market and sellers have to be ready when the time comes. One of the keys to being ready is understanding that you are the president and CEO of your transaction.

You own the home, so you make the decisions and you are responsible for those decisions. You might be wondering, “Well, isn’t that what a Realtor is for?” The answer is yes and no.

While a Realtor can advise you and offer their expertise to help you make a sound decision, the truth is that you hold all the cards. You are also responsible for the Realtor you choose. You want to find someone with experience, knowhow, and an aggressive marketing plan with a documented listing plan of action. If an agent has all of these things, you can bet you’re in safe hands.

 

You don’t get a second impression with buyers.

 

The price you set is just as important as the agent you choose. You want your agent to be able to document and show you what similar homes are selling for in your market. Remember that although the market is on an upward trend overall, not all areas are on this same trend. Being overpriced by even 5% over market value will cause your home not to sell in this market.

You never get a second chance at a first impression with buyers. A lot of times, qualified buyers in this market won’t make a second pass of homes. If your home isn’t available when they want to see it, they will just skip over it. Always be ready to show it.

Not all offers are created the same. Financing terms, down payment amounts, inspection time frames, and appraisal contingencies and conditions can all play an important role in whether or not you get to the closing table.

Remember, you have all the power as a seller. Use these tips to help you make smart and informed decisions. If you have any questions for us, don’t hesitate to give us a call or send us an email. We are always here to help and we look forward to hearing from you soon!

The Best Kitchen Updates for Your Budget


I recently came across an article from HGTV that featured some very useful and thrifty kitchen update ideas that I want to share with you.

Buying a home? Click here to search all homes for sale.
Selling your home? Click here for a free home value report.

As I’ve said numerous times, kitchens, baths, flooring, and paint are the four areas where you get the biggest bang for your home improvement dollars. With that in mind, I recently ran across an article from HGTV that has some great ideas about how to save money and make a big impact in your kitchen.

You can read the entire article here. In the meantime, I want to share some of favorite picks from this article and sort them by price range:

Under $50:

  • Paint your cabinets. This can dramatically affect your kitchen’s value. Paint is a tremendous cure for dull, dated, or otherwise not-so-hot cabinets. However, as with any home improvement project, make sure you talk to a professional wherever it is you buy your paint, not only to ensure that you buy the right type, but also to understand the application process for your specific needs.
  • Add the appropriate color to an accent wall or two. This can warm up any area, but kitchens are where people tend to congregate during family events and parties.

Under $100:

  • Hang some open shelving. This can open up and maximize almost any area. Pay attention to the materials you use and whether they’re appropriate for the rest of the decor. Once the shelving is up, keep it organized and clean.
  • Add a balance over a window or a piece of art as a focal point.

 

Kitchens are where people congregate, so these upgrades are important.

$500:

  • Update your hardware. This is my favorite pick. While chrome, nickel, and stainless will likely never go out of style, shining brass and ceramic are out of style. It’s easy to update and stay neutral with the first three suggestions, but if you’re feeling bold, add a brushed brass or bronze to your cabinets to give it a “wow” factor. However, make sure that whatever color you add is appropriate with the rest of your fixtures.
  • Add a bar or a moveable island. Both of these add an element of additional storage and pizzazz.

$1,000:

  • Add a backsplash. This can depend on your kitchen’s size, but adding a backsplash can electrify the dullest and most dated kitchen. Keep in mind, though, not to get too customized with it, as that can grow even more dated and turn off buyers even faster.

If you have any questions about this topic, be sure to give us a call. We hope to hear from you soon!