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Gated Community Homes Demand Higher Prices

Homes in gated communities command significantly higher prices – almost $30,000 on average – but these neighborhoods’ additional amenities can also reduce sale prices because they bring maintenance costs that outweigh the benefits of the amenities, according to recent research published by the American Real Estate Society (ARES).

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“This study provides clear evidence that homes in gated communities sell at a premium relative to comparable homes in non-gated communities,” said ARES Publication Director Ken Johnson, Ph.D., real estate economist at Florida Atlantic University’s College of Business and co-developer of the Beracha, Hardin and Johnson Buy vs. Rent Index.

Johnson refers to a study published by ARES in the Journal of Real Estate Research, conducted by professor Evgeny L. Radetskiy, Ph.D., of La Salle University and professors Ronald W. Spahr, Ph.D., and Mark A. Sunderman, Ph.D., of the University of Memphis.

The study examined a sample of 11 gated communities and a sample of matched non-gated properties, using a data set of housing sales in Shelby County, Tennessee. The researchers found that residential properties in gated communities command a noticeable price premium of approximately $30,000, most likely resulting from actual or perceived benefits associated with additional privacy, homeowner associations’ tighter controls on maintenance, home design and the added assurances against crime and other undesirable activities.

However, the study also found the presence of additional amenities – clubhouses, community swimming pools, tennis courts, etc. – within gated communities reduces sale prices by approximately $19,500. Sunderman explains that “additional maintenance costs associated with these amenities often outweigh their benefits, and it appears that while a gate has value, additional neighborhood amenities do not always provide additional value.”

So, what does all this mean to buyers and sellers? “The long-held belief that gates add value is supported by the data, as long as the impact of the amenities is properly factored in,” Johnson says. “This should set buyers’ minds to rest as to whether or not they are actually receiving a boost in value when they purchase inside a gated community.”

Sunderman adds: “From the perspective of both the buyer and the seller, this information should help each to better price property. A good understanding of what adds value and what does not should help create increased marketability of gated homes.”

For more information, visit www.fau.edu.

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2016. All rights reserved.

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Preparing Your Pool for Home Showings: Look Beyond the Water

By Keith Loria
Having a beautiful pool can be a great selling point on a hot day when buyers are looking at your home, but having blue water is just the tip of the iceberg when preparing the pool area for a home showing.

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While blue water is a must, caring for a pool while your home is on the market extends far beyond the color of the water. All pool owners know that you need to vacuum a pool and add chemicals, but it’s important that the right mixture is used, and that the pool is cleaned regularly. Whether your pool is in the ground or above the ground, balancing your water chemistry remains the same. Make sure you remove leaves and debris each day as well.

In addition to keeping the water clean and vacuumed, it’s a good idea to think about the landscaping surrounding the pool.

Many people prefer to go with some combination of mulch or stone to serve as a transition between the pool and the lawn. A quick trip to your local gardening store will get you all you need for this project. These materials can also provide drainage from water runoff so that your lawn or deck don’t become saturated with water. These areas can also be dressed up with statues, lawn ornaments and tolerant plants.

Adding wood or composite decking around a pool and utilizing non-slip protective coating on the surface is also a good idea. Incorporating non-stick mats near the pool will provide a little extra footing when people enter and exit the water.

Most states require a fence to surround the pool, and if yours is falling apart or looking worn-down, be sure to get it fixed. Prospective buyers will be paying close attention to all areas surrounding the pool, and a bad fence can stop a sale in its tracks.

Keep the pool colorful with the addition of some bright neon rafts or solar lights that float in the pool as decorative pieces. Don’t go overboard with pool toys and tubes, however, as a cluttered swimming pool can be just as off-putting as a cluttered living room.

Potential buyers may also wonder about the pool’s energy requirements—especially if it’s heated—so keep information handy about average energy and gas costs for the summer months in relation to the other months of the year.

When your house does sell, it’s always a nice gesture to leave instructions for operating the pool so that the new owner understands all the particulars of any valves and switches that must be turned on and off.

For more tips to keep your pool in tip-top shape, contact our office today.

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2016. All rights reserved.

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4 Ways to Update Your Digital Persona

By Claire Wiese

shutterstock_293963531Your digital presence is more important than ever, and now is the perfect time for some digital updates. Make sure that everything from your professional site to your social media is up to date. Here are four areas that you can re-evaluate today:

1. Website

In this day and age, the first step in researching anything or anyone is an online search. If you don’t have a website, or if it’s out of date or inaccurate, potential clients may write you off. Take a look at your site through the eyes of clients and make sure that everything is current and relevant.

2. Social Media

This is where your clients will get a taste of your personality. But, make sure that it’s the personality that you want to put out there for everyone to see. Whether it’s your personal or professional sites, everything you put online is fair game for your customers, so make sure that you’re always putting your best digital foot forward.

3. Photos and Videos

It goes without saying that the photos and videos associated with all of your listings should be as up to date as possible. Buyers and sellers want to see a property in its very best light so double check that all of your images are accurate and that they are viewable from laptops, tablets and mobile formats. Nothing is more frustrating for your clients than trying to view a property online and your photos or videos not operating correctly.

4. Apps

Are you missing apps on your smartphone that can make doing business easier and more successful? One that can be a lifesaver is a business card reader. When a potential client, or business associate, hands you a card, be sure to scan it and you’ll always have it at your fingertips once it’s in your phone.

Once you’ve refreshed your online persona and updated anything that might be lacking, be sure to maintain and stay up to date moving forward so that the digital presence you display is just as professional as your actual presence.

Source: HSA Home Warranty

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2016. All rights reserved.

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