Home Insurance Factors for the Financially Savvy

According to ValuePenguin, in the year 2018, the average cost of homeowners insurance nationwide across the U.S. is $1,083. There are of course many factors that can affect this figure, some of which being due to location of the house which as a homeowner, you may have a degree of choice in, while some other factors could be down to you making a smart financial decision.

Whether you are a first time house buyer, at the beginning of your journey, or an established home owner, there are considerations to make and constant research that can be done in order to remain a financially savvy homeowner. Home insurance is an unavoidable necessity but if you are eager to put the work in, it is possible to lower payment for premiums and enjoy better protection for the money that must be spent.

Starting the home buying process

For some, the luxury of choosing exactly where in the nation you buy is not realistic as ties to family and work are a priority. However, it is useful to be aware that the state you choose to live in will have an impact on the home insurance policy. Unsurprisingly, states such as Florida and Texas are notably more expensive than the national average due to their susceptibility to natural disasters, such as tropical storms and tornadoes. At the other end of the spectrum, the states with comparatively cheaper home insurance are mainly located in the North West part of the country, since they are considered low risk in terms of hazardous natural events.

The material the house frame is built from can be another factor that may affect the cost of the home insurance. For example, traditional, period framing materials such as log or wood tend to cost more than more modern brick or masonry framing. This is likely due to the fact that wood carries greater risks of damage such as from fire, rot or termites.

Being efficient with policies

A key money saving tip revolves around research. Firstly, it pays to shop around. In a survey undertaken by Bankrate into home insurance quotes around different U.S. cities, it found that on average, the most expensive charged 34% more than the least expensive insurer. While this was the average, the gulf between insurers in some areas was exceptionally vast, such as in Wichita, Kansas, where the difference between the highest insurance quote and lowest was 188%.

Another financially efficient tip for reducing your home insurance policy is to bundle your insurances. This means having insurance products through the same provider, such as grouping your auto and homeowners insurance into the same policy. It can often be a money saving option to buy through one carrier instead of having a variety of individual policies since the carrier may offer a discount for combining policies through them.

Finding ways to save on your home insurance is not an impossible, or even that difficult a task. It does however, take time and patience to research the options available to you that fit in with your circumstances. Weighing up your priorities may also be a factor, depending on what stage of the home owning journey you are at. Ultimately, the time you put into shopping around and the organizational efforts you make will pay off.

Contact The Shevins today for a consultation on anything
Calabasas and Hidden Hills real estate.

2018 Luxury Home Design Trends

It can be tough to stay up-to-date on the latest and greatest home decor and design trends. That’s why, we’ve compiled this list of the four top interior design trends that you’ll notice in 2018. By being aware of these trends, you can figure out which home improvement projects you’d like to tackle this upcoming year.

Contemporary Floor Plans

Contemporary floor plans, which were all the rave in the 1960s, are sure to make a comeback in 2018. These floor plans feature clean lines, open spaces, and large windows that bring in plenty of natural light.

If you opt for this type of floor plan, you’ll find it easy to keep an eye on your children and entertain guests. In addition, you’ll enjoy a wonderful view of your outdoor landscape and the ability to create a connection between the inside and outside of your home.

Short-Term Rental Ready Homes

Thanks to Airbnb, VRBO, and other online marketplaces, you can rent out a room in your home or your entire home for a short period of time to people from across the country and world. 2018 will be the year that people take advantage of this trend and share their luxurious environments with others.

If you’re interested in renting out a room or your entire home, you should focus on transforming your space from personal to guest friendly. You can do so by removing personal items and adding a quality mattress topper, extra blankets and pillows, blackout drapes, a fan, air freshener and anything else that will allow your guests to feel comfortable and pampered.

White Flooring

Although it may be difficult to maintain, you’ll find white flooring everywhere in 2018. If you’re looking to brighten up your home, you should consider adding white tiles to your bathrooms and kitchen and white wood flooring to your family room, living room, and bedrooms. Since white flooring looks great with every color combination, you won’t have to change the colors in your home if you decide to follow this trend.

Geometric Patterns

In 2018, homeowners who are hoping to give their home a modern, yet vintage vibe will go for geometric patterns. If you’d like to try this trend out, you can find some wallpaper, throw pillows, or a rug with these types of patterns. In the event you love it and are ready commit, you should invest in a geometric kitchen backsplash or tiled floor.

Black and White Rooms

Vintage style rooms that were designed in solely black and white have been popular for quite some time and will likely be seen in 2018. If you’re searching for a timeless trend to follow, creating a black and white room is the way to go.

Whether you decide on a contemporary floor plan, set your home up for Airbnb, swap your current flooring for white flooring, add some geometric patterns to your space, design a room in black and white, you can give your home a fresh new look in 2018.

Contact The Shevins today for a consultation on anything
Calabasas and Hidden Hills real estate.

How to Choose a Listing Agent

With so many listing agents out there, it can be difficult to determine which one is right for you. By interviewing various listing agents in your area, you can find out who will go the extra mile with the sale of your home and who won’t. Here is a list of questions you should consider asking any listing agent you interview:

How much can you sell my home for?

If you’ve found that two listing agents state they can sell your home for $400,000 and a third one states $500,000, the third one is likely exaggerating in order to attract you. Opt for a listing agent who is realistic about sales price.

How much real estate did you sell last year?

Previous performance often indicates future results. That’s why, you should find out how much real estate each listing agent you interview sold last year. Refrain from hiring anyone who was not successful in the past.

What are your marketing strategies?

You’ll find that some listing agents put a great deal of time and energy into marketing homes while others make no or minimal effort to do so. By asking listing agents how they will market your home, you’ll get a better feel for how many eyes may get in front of it.

How do you track online listing activity?

Since your home will likely receive three times more traffic the first week it’s listed, you should select an agent that can track online activity and give you an update on the performance of your home. You could then use this information to alter your listing if necessary.

What is your method for following up with open house attendees?

Many listing agents arrange open houses to market homes. Ask the listing agents you interview whether they have a specific method for following up with open house attendees. They should be able to keep track of serious open house leads and collect valuable feedback about your home.

Do you have a specialty?

While some listing agents focus on starter homes and condos, others sell luxury homes. Try to figure out the specialty of each listing agent you interview so that you know whether their experience is valuable for your particular situation.

Do you consider yourself readily available?

If your listing agent is only available on certain days of the week because of another job or commitment, your home may not sell in a timely fashion. Ask listing agents about their availability and avoid hiring anyone who seems overly busy and won’t be able to be there for you when you need them.

What is your commission rate?

In most cases, the commission rate will be about 6% and split with the buyer’s agent. You may come across listing agents that offer to negotiate their commission. While it may be tempting to choose them, keep in mind you’re paying for a professional service and you should choose someone based on their experience and quality of work rather than their reduced commission rate.

Asking these questions to multiple listing agents will help you get the greatest possible return on your investment and locate the most qualified buyer.

Contact The Shevins today for a consultation on anything
Calabasas and Hidden Hills real estate.

The Millenial Buyer. What they are looking for and what to expect.

Going after Millennials can be a tricky task for today’s real estate agent. It seems far off in the distant future that Millenials will be powering luxury sales but it may not be as far off as you think and getting the jump early can make the difference. Millennials will be powering home sales for the next few decades. And real estate agents also have a problem; Millennials are far different from Baby Boomers.

This article from Inc. provides a great snapshot of the market in regards to Millennials. Two thirds of Millennials are first time home buyers and, overall, they compose a third of the current real estate market. It is time to search for Millennial clients as most of them will be buying homes within the next three to five years.

When looking for Millennials, real estate agents should keep in mind the profile of the current Millennial buyer.

To begin with, Millennials are looking for new homes which don’t need updating or maintenance. They want a home that already has the modern kitchen and is energy efficient. Using the same information from the Inc. article, one out of every two Millennial buyers is looking for a home like that. It’s among their top priorities so, when you’re working with a Millennial, don’t bother to show them homes needing a little TLC as they will not be interested.

You should also keep in mind that Millennials are not relying on you, the agent, to provide them with a list of homes they might be interested in. Statistically, every Millennial is searching online for their next home. They are going to websites like Realtor.com, Zillow and Trulia. This is why you must be digital savvy. If your firm is still relying on the old methods, such as collating a list of houses for them to view on tour, it’s not going to work and the Millennial buyer might find it a waste of both theirs and your time. They would rather check out homes on their iPhones, take a virtual tour and then tell you which houses they want to tour. It does help make your job a little easier instead of the old hit and miss process of showing homes to clients.

And if you think this also means they don’t need you, you are wrong. Over ninety percent of Millennials still prefer to work with an agent because an agent knows how to buy a home. The Millennials only know which home they want, when it comes to the process, they are not confident about their knowledge of the intricacies of real estate. They still need your guidance throughout the transaction.

But what kind of homes do they want?

Other than being energy efficient and with a modern kitchen, Millennials want homes featuring open spaces. They don’t want a house with a closed off, claustrophobic feeling. Builders are noticing this and building to those specifications so check out the homes being built nearby.

Being children of the Internet, Millennials also want homes with the latest technological upgrades. They want smart homes with smart appliances, uninterrupted Wifi capability and any of the other bells and whistles which come with living in the 21st century.

One thing you might be thinking about Millennials is they want a home in an urban area, but you’d be wrong. The statistics just don’t carry that out. Only a quarter of Millennials live in urban areas. They still prefer to live in suburbs like their parents. The only difference is they want that suburban home close to work (if they don’t already work at home).

A few final pieces of notable information about the Millennial market is, if you provide a great service, they’ll be your client again. Millennials aren’t looking at the next home purchase as the place they’ll spend the rest of their lives. They see it as a stepping stone to a better home. In roughly six years, they’ll be looking to move again. This is four years less than the national average.

Finally, expect more parental involvement. Parents are playing a larger and larger role in helping their children with the home purchase. From the down payments (which is the most difficult aspect of house buying for Millennials) to closing, parents are far more involved in these transactions then they used to be.

With these facts in mind, you have a clear idea of what the Millennial market is and how to work toward helping them find their next home. As mentioned earlier, they are the future of real estate. Work toward helping them and you’ll have a successful business for years to come.

Contact The Shevins today for a consultation on anything
Calabasas and Hidden Hills real estate.

Tips on Great Lead Follow Up

One of the most important tasks real estate agents have is following up with leads. Yet many don’t do it for one reason or another. Maybe they don’t think the lead will buy or sell a house or they just get too busy and the lead slips through the cracks. But real estate agents are throwing away money by not following up.

It isn’t hard to follow up when you make the time for it. And, in some cases, you only need to make the time once. Let us show you four great ways to follow up with your leads.

Pick up the Phone

The first tip is to pick up your phone and reach out to the lead. You already have your phone out constantly. Take a moment to send a text or a short email, even call them, asking them if they have any questions for you or is there something you can help them with. Position yourself as a resource for all their questions and needs.

Give them something of value each time you reach out instead of sending them a text asking them if they’d like to put down an offer or if they are ready to sell yet. It will make the lead more likely to do business with you because they see you as knowledgeable and helpful.

Let Your Computer Do Everything

The great thing about living in the 21st century is you can automate many tasks which used to take time. This includes following up. There are several customer relationship management (CRM) software options to help real estate agents keep in touch. This includes email and text automation. You can choose from a template or create your own that will be sent on a regular schedule.

This way you’re always in touch even when you’re actually showing houses to another client or at a baseball game with your kids. This will take the stress off of you to make sure you’re constantly sending something to those leads.

Don’t Overload Them

Your leads have busy lives of their own. They could be a doctor or a teacher or any number of other jobs keeping them busy. You want to keep in touch and be a resource for them, but this can sometimes lead to sending emails and texts every day for a month. At some point, the lead will start glossing over the emails and texts and you’ll never hear from them again.

It’s best to find a point where you stop pressing them and just instead send an email or a text maybe every couple of weeks to touch base. This way they don’t get sick of your emails, but you’re also staying visible to them so that when they finally need a real estate agent, you are the first one to come to mind. Often, ‘less is more’ is the best approach.

Don’t Give Up

As mentioned at the top, don’t give up on these leads. They might not seem viable at the moment or even a waste of your time, but how often is that true? A pharmaceutical representative may be given a list others think are bad, but she works it all the same and finds clients in places others would have given up. It works the same way for real estate.

It could also pay if those specific leads don’t work out in which they may have a friend or family member who does need a real estate agent. Do you want the lead to say, “well, I did know an agent but I haven’t heard from him/her in months” or “I know the perfect agent. I don’t need them now, but they’ve been so helpful. Let me give you their number.”

Obviously, the latter is better. And that’s how you should work it even if the lead might not seem like it would work out.

Next time you meet a lead, remember these four ways of follow up. They could turn your business from something making just enough money into a successful business growing like crazy. That’s why you got into real estate to begin with, right?

Don’t let excuses like ‘not enough time’ or ‘not a good enough lead’ stop you from doing your job. It could lead to unexpected results transforming your business.

Contact The Shevins today for a consultation on anything
Calabasas and Hidden Hills real estate.