What if your House Stinks?

What If Your Listing Stinks?

Sellers may be in denial about home odors. Here’s how you can help them address smells that are driving buyers away. 
Week after week, buyers turned up their noses during showings of the tidy single-story home in the hot San Jose, Calif., market. Their resistance was easy to pinpoint, but harder to address: the aroma from years of heavy cooking with curry was turning off buyers, and the sellers didn’t care.
Chocolate chip cookies, potpourri, gourmet foods, and other baked goods actually may be the worst scents for real estate open houses. Researchers studied 402 people in a home d├ęcor store in Switzerland to find the most pleasing scents for customers, and researchers say their findings, published in the Journal of Retailing in 2013, also can be applied to real estate.
The most pleasing smells that study found were lemon, green tea, cedar, pine, basil, and vanilla.
Researchers say complex scents, like baked goods, can be a distraction to buyers. They’ll subconsciously be trying to figure out what the scent is rather than staying focused on the house. In contrast, researchers found that simple scents are easier to identify and so less distracting, which promotes buying.
Kathleen Daniels, broker-owner with KD Realty, tried delicately to explain to the sellers that buyers found the scent—which permeated the walls, floors, and furnishings—overwhelming. Still, the sellers refused to undertake a deep cleaning or change their cooking habits.
Their resistance cost the sellers time and money at the bargaining table. In an area where time on market was typically just 10 days and bidding wars were the norm, the $629,000 home sat on the market for 35 days. The sellers dropped their listing price several times until it eventually sold for $575,000 in a short sale.
It’s not just food odors that turn buyers off. A 2013 study of Canadian home owners sponsored by Pfizer Canada found that smoking in a home could reduce the resale value by up to 29 percent. Daniels views it as a fiduciary duty to talk with sellers about the effect odors can have on a home sale. In many cases, sellers simply don’t realize the impact, and most will be open to your suggestions about how to address the stench. Stager Tori Toth, owner of Stylish Stagers Inc. in New York, offers ideas about how to discuss this sensitive subject with clients as part of the overall strategy for prepping a home for sale. “Scent can be the strongest of our senses,” Toth says. “It can make you form an instant impression.”
Here are ideas for countering offensive smells in your listings.

Don’t Mask. Treat

Tell Sellers to Live Meticulously
Let clients know of steps they can take to keep smells at bay. Toth recommends:
  • Take out the trash after every meal.
  • Clean refrigerators often.
  • Change air filters regularly.
  • Do laundry regularly to avoid dirty clothing pileups.
  • Use the fan over the stove when cooking.
  • Avoid cooking strong-smelling foods like fish, broccoli, and garlic before showings.
  • Bathe pets regularly and clean bedding, toys, and litter boxes often.
Odor is caused by bacteria that attaches to ceilings, walls, carpets, and draperies. Common household offenders include pets, food, dirty laundry, mold, smoking residue, and air vents. Identify the source of the smell and eliminate it. The remedy is likely a professional deep cleaning or do-it-yourself nontoxic fogger like DynoFresh that neutralizes odors. “If you temporarily treat the air with sprays or plug-ins, the odor will resurface by your next showing,” Toth says.

Add New Smells Sparingly

While air fresheners in large doses may send a red flag that the seller is trying to mask something, they may be useful in moderation. After eliminating the source of smells, Toth will sometimes advise clients to introduce subtle, simple scents. This may include laying fabric softener sheets between clothes stacked on closet shelves, placing lemon peels in the kitchen garbage disposal, or adding plug-ins near bathroom doors.

A Better Neighbor/Duke and Walltown

Twenty years ago, Duke set out to bridge the gap between the wealthy university and struggling nearby communities. The effort began with Walltown. Click on A Better Neighbor for the full article. 

Brought to you by: Elizabeth Van Brocklin/Duke Magazine 

Durham Performing Arts Center Announces New Season!

Durham Performing Arts Center just announced the 2015/2016 Broadway Season Performances and I'm Super Excited! I've been a season ticket holder since the doors opened. Take a look at the new line up and encore shows. 


The following blog is a great look at the National Housing Market for 2014 and a prediction for 2015. If you are interested in knowing more about your home value or the local market contact me for details at Stacie@StacieDye.com or 919-475-9460. 

By David Arbit on Tuesday, December 30th, 2014
This is a sketch of the year that was and the year we expect to see.

The economy is improving.
57 straight months of private job growth, the longest consecutive stretch in recorded history
10.6 million private jobs have been created, more than were lost during the Great Recession
At 5.8%, the unemployment rate is at a six-year low
Recent GDP growth has been consistent between 2% and 3%
The stock market has reached all-time highs
Manufacturing is making a comeback, generating well-paying jobs
Industrial production has fully recovered
Consumer confidence is up
Small businesses are more confident than they’ve been in more than six years

Specifically, the labor market has made dramatic strides toward recovery.
The unemployment rate has fallen to 5.8%, the lowest level since July 2008
Initial weekly unemployment insurance claims are at their lowest levels in 14 years
Private job growth has averaged almost 270,000 new payrolls per month
Labor market turnover is increasing, opening up opportunities for newcomers

fireworksCorporations are performing astonishingly well.
57% of companies reporting have exceeded Wall Street expectations
There is a vast amount of cash residing on strong balance sheets
Consumer spending is rising, critical for an economy driven by discretionary spending
Business of all sizes in nearly all sectors are hiring

Our nation’s fiscal health is on much better footing.
Deficit spending has decreased by more than 66% since 2008
Five straight years of deficit shrinkage puts it at 2.8 percent of GDP and below the 40-year average
The national debt-to-GDP ratio has declined, which is a good thing

Wage growth is finally picking up.
Hourly wages rose 0.4% in November 2014, the largest monthly gain since June 2013
Employees are working more hours and earning more per hour worked, both positive developments
Wage growth is likely to increase more notably in 2015, given the strong job growth in 2014

Inflation is nowhere to be seen.
Inflation has been below the Fed’s target of 2.0% annually
Most increases in consumer costs are due to drought or other factors
Gas prices are down dramatically, which should boost retail shopping and travel

Home prices have been rising.
Home prices have turned around and are now rising in most local and regional markets
National data from Case-Shiller and local MLS data confirm this trend
About 80% of the local markets 10K covers showed a year-over-year median price gain in October

Prague_Firework_2010_1Interest rates are still low and should remain attractive into 2015.
Mortgage rates on a 30-year fixed loan wavered between 4.0% and 4.5% for most of 2014
Rates should remain below 4.5% in the first half of 2015, but may approach 5.0% later
Affordability levels remain well above long-term averages

Mortgage delinquencies and foreclosures are a lesser factor.
Delinquency on mortgage loans fell to 5.85%* of all loans for Q3-2014, lowest since Q4-2007
The percentage of loans in the foreclosure process was 2.4% in Q3-2014, also lowest since Q4-2007
The foreclosure rate has fallen dramatically in both judicial and non-judicial foreclosure states

Mortgage credit liquidity is a mixed bag.
Credit availability is still a drag on housing recovery
Refinance activity was declining then picked up again
Credit-worthy buyers should have an easier time securing financing in 2015 than in 2014

We predict more of the same in 2015.
New listings should increase moderately (up 7 to 12%)
Closed sales should increase modestly (up 4 to 7%)
Prices should continue to rise but at a tempered pace more in line with historical norms (up 4 to 7%)
Inventory should rise fairly significantly, driven by seller activity and new construction (up 10 to 15%)
Days on market until sale may go up due to rising inventory and fewer bidding wars (up 2 to 5%)
The percent of original list price received at sale may decline with an easing seller’s market (down 1 to 2%)
Foreclosures and short sales should continue to slow with improving household finances and employment
New construction is likely to rise in most metropolitan areas, alleviating supply shortages

* on one- to four-unit residential properties; seasonally adjusted rate

Blog Provided by: 10K Research and Marketing

Thankful for Urban Ministries of Durham!

As I woke up this Thanksgiving morning in my warm and safe home my thoughts and prayers drifted to those that are less fortunate than us. It is cold, dark and rainy outside today. This is a popular day to volunteer so there will be many meals and lots of hope given out today. Thank you!

I took a tour of Urban Ministries of Durham last week and hoped to post this before today but life got in the way. I have volunteered, given clothing, my time and money to Urban Ministries in the past years but I had never walked through the shelter. It was a humbling experience as always and I'm so thankful for the wonderful staff and all the volunteers. I'm so happy for the new look that provides a warmer welcome to all. 

I've decided to do a Thankful Series because I need this and think the world does too. Please let me know if you want to share some positive news and be proactive in making a change. Take a look at this quick video of Bryan Gilmer sharing his thoughts on being thankful and the current needs of Urban Ministries of Durham.

Click on the link for more information on supporting Urban Ministries of Durham

October Home Sales in The Triangle

Triangle wide closed sales are up 4.5%, median prices are up 3.8%.  The average days on market is 67.  However, if you look at sales where there were no price reductions, the average days on market was actually 50 and if a seller made price reductions, the average days on market was 142!  Also, Triangle wide, there is 5 months of inventory on the market which is not much.
The picture is a little different in Chapel Hill where closed sales – year-to-date – are down 8.7%, median prices are down 1.6%, the average days on market 58 days if there was no price reduction and 171 days if there was a price reduction.  Also of note, there is 7 months of inventory on the market which is well above the 5 months on average for the entire Triangle.
Durham is doing a bit better.  Home sales are up 3.8% in Durham, median prices are up 5% and the average days on market with no price reduction is 45 and 132 with a price reduction.  Durham’s supply of inventory is 4 months which below the market average. 
This indicates it is more of a seller’s market in Durham and a buyer’s market in Chapel Hill.
Cary is also doing well.  Home sales in Cary are up 1.4% and median prices are up 7.9%.  The average days on market with no price reduction is 36 days – which is amazing – and 115 with a price reduction.  Most notable, Cary has 2.8 months of inventory on the market which indicates it is a fairly strong seller’s market.
Team Jodi Realty provides area market data updated on a monthly basis.  We provide summary datadetailed data and monthly market reports by market area.

Music & Summer Fun!

I love attending outdoor concerts with family and friends this time of year! This is just a quick reminder of some of my favorites. Hope to see you at one of the events soon! 

Backdoor Music on the Lawn There will be 8 FREE (3 hour) concerts on Thursday nights from May to September. The shows start at 6:00 PM and most feature two bands. Picnics and coolers are welcome but no glass, please. Food and beverages are also available at the American Tobacco restaurants that surround the Amphitheater. Concerts are held next to the Lucky Strike Water tower.   

"Find Your Cool" Summer Concert Series Is an annual concert series put on by Downtown Durham, Inc. and held on Thursday nights at the CCB Plaza (where "Major the Bull" statue is located). Concerts are 7-8:30 and will feature eclectic bands. 

Rock the Park Music and Concert Series Is sponsored by Durham Parks and Recreation and occurs on Saturday evenings at various local parks around Durham. Music runs 6-8:00 PM and movies are 8-10:00 PM. 

Music in the Gardens  is a summer music series held at Sarah P. Duke Gardens, on the lawn beside the visitor center. The concerts are on Wednesdays and start at 7:00 PM.

Brightleaf Square Concert Series  is a popular free venue because you can dine outside and enjoy the lovely setting of the historic district. Concerts last from 7-9:00 PM.

Music on Main is being brought back at the Streets of Southpoint Mall. The concerts are held outside close to the movie theater and are 6-9:00 PM. 

Blues on The Plaza Northgate Mall is getting in on the action and kicking off a concert series on Fridays from 6-9:00 PM.

Take a look at these links for more fun events happening in Durham and The Triangle. Free Outdoor Music in The Triangle and Things to do in Durham.