Real Estate Reality Check

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Selling houses isn't what it used to be! It's turning out to involve a lot more than just signs in the yard and ads in the newspaper to bring in the buyers.

Social media and so many home improvement shows, including those on HGTV or WNEP-TV's Home & Backyard, are also changing the game. This is especially for the top group of home buyers in the country which is millennials.

For the fourth year in a row, millennials are the largest group of buyers making up 34%.

On Monday, Newswatch 16's Ryan Leckey highlighted how the real estate game is changing. He teamed up with two realtors in Lackawanna County, Terri Ames and Jodi Mancuso of  Keller Williams Real Estate.

They spotlighted this property to show what types of style/design millennials are looking for when purchasing a home.

Terri and Jodi also offered tips for buyers and sellers, especially because winter is when many homeowners prepare their properties for a spring sale.

Below, are their suggestions if you’re marketing your home, ways to make it appeal to this demographic and what to know before making a big purchase.

Is there a best time to list your home:

Redfin Real Estate analyzed more than 7 million home sales over the past four years and divided the data into seasons, according to when the homes were first listed. We evaluated which season was best for listing a home according to two of the most common goals for sellers: Selling for more than the list price and going under contract within 30 days.

As conventional wisdom would predict, spring was the best time to list a home, but just barely. Spring offered the highest likelihood of selling above list price and of selling within 30 days, but winter, the supposed slow season for real estate, was a close second.

Buyers move for all different reasons during all times of the year (life-changing events can include: retirement, job relocation/change, addition to family)

What are some things you can do to get your home ready before calling a realtor:

  • De-clutter/De-personalize
  • Paint with fresh and neutral colors where possible
  • Remove wallpaper if it’s dated or not neutral

How can sellers appeal to Millennial Buyers:

  • Make necessary updates
  • Exchanging older appliances for stainless steel
  • Replacing carpeting with hardwood floors (sometimes they are already there!)
  • Updating laminate counters with granite or other hard surface counters
  • Replace outdated light fixtures
  • Add outdoor living features
  • Move in ready!

For those sellers who are not able to or willing to make updates, they should consider pricing their home accordingly to compete for millennial buyers.


What to do before buying a home or working with an agent:

  • Ask yourself what are 3 things that are important to you in an Agent - (i.e. Experience, Market Knowledge, Communication, Responsiveness)
  • Search online for reviews
  • Interview Agents
  • Ask what tools/services will be provided to guide you through the home buying process.
    • Home buying guide
    • Checklist to a successful closing
    • Set up a Portal to help organize your home search
  • Choose one Agent to represent you and establish a business relationship. You want to be represented just as a seller is represented (Buyer’s Agency Contract).
  • Your Agent can show you any home on the market and will guide you through the entire home buying process.

Why get pre-approved for a Mortgage?

  • Getting Pre-approved is the first step prior to looking at any homes. It helps you make better decisions on what you can afford in a home.
  • Lenders will determine the type of loan you qualify for and provide current interest rates.
  • Being pre-approved will also assist your Agent when assessing your wants and needs to narrow down your home search.
  • You will be able to make an offer when you’ve found a home that’s right for you.
  • Depending on market conditions, you may have to act quickly.




    While searching for houses, I noticed that many were in need of really simple repairs that could be extremely damaging, and why the homeowner beforehand would leave it that way was beyond me. Keep up on simple maintenance and you wouldn’t have a problem selling your house. Leaving water under your sink from a leaky faucet, letting the roof basically rot, not cleaning anything ever, etc. is just a bad idea for you and the potential buyer.

  • Phil K

    Some terrible advice for sure, more often than not you are going to spend far in excess of what the returns will be if you are trying to renovate in order to sell. Unless your home has serious deficiencies, you’re money is better left in your pocket. If you pick tile, the buyers want hardwood, if you pick granite, they wanted marble. If the buyers have an issue, there’s always seller concessions.

    • NYET

      Exactly. It is definitely being pushed by the realtor/contractor associations. Since nobody’s building McMansions, anymore, the newest and greatest scheme is renovations/upgrades. Granite? Nyet. I’ll let the buyer make their own mark on the place.

  • Ridiculous List

    If millennials want to buy the perfect house, they’re crazy. Television shows are just that: programs to entertain. “Love It Or List It” is an entertainment show, NOT a guide on how to make enormous financial decisions. HGTV has destroyed the reality of home-owning because it portrays this fantasy of finding the perfect house for the perfect price.

    “Back in the day,” people bought a home and made it their own. They didn’t expect the seller to make the property meet their standards for the same listing price. Today, it’s absolute insanity.

    • Taco Salad

      I think your point is valid, but the target is wrong.
      I think the point of all this real estate propaganda is to get sellers to blow a ton of money before putting their house on the market.

      My parent’s realtor suggested a lot of these costly updates before they sold their home. They blew $15,000 on a kitchen that did need updating. New buyers first move was a kitchen remodel to their liking.
      Two contractors got rich on that one…

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