In a time where sales of new and existing homes are sluggish in general, sales of multi-million dollar homes are surprisingly strong. Luxury homes, costing $5 million and above, climbed 31 percent during the first quarter last year over the previous year, according to DataQuick, a real estate research firm. This year, values in the luxury market are continuing to rise with no end in sight.
Analysts say it’s a matter of supply and demand. Multi-million dollar homes tend to be situated in high demand areas with one of a kind views and access to sophisticated amenities. There are only so many of these properties available. While there are still an increasing number of high-priced homes on the market, there are even more affluent buyers looking for the right property. A growing number of those prospective buyers are wealthy foreign buyers from Asia and Europe looking for an opportunity to capitalize on the weakened U.S. dollar.
“The very wealthy are pouring more money into residential real estate,” said the founder of Institute for Luxury Home Marketing. “While Europeans have always invested in American properties, new buyers are increasingly from brazil, Russia, India and China.” Luxury homes in the U.S. hold great appeal to buyers worldwide and make an excellent long-term investment.
Feng Shui (pronounced “fung shway”) is the ancient Chinese practice of arranging space to promote harmony in an environment. Home owners who are preparing their home to sell can take a few simple tips from this venerable tradition.
The first step is to engage the senses:
Your home should look good: A buyer’s first impression should be a visual sense of cleanliness, light and space. When you scan your eyes around a room, does every object enhance a sense of beauty? If it doesn’t, put it in storage.
Your home should sound good: Have some soft classical music playing or a fountain burbling and mute your answer machine.
Your home should smell good: Smells that you have been used to for years make the strongest lasting impression on people smelling them for the first time. Deep clean kitchens and bathrooms, remove cat boxes, and make smoking a strictly outdoor activity. Bake cookies or throw some orange peel in the garbage disposal before a client comes over to give your home a fresh welcoming scent.
First impressions carry the most weight for a buyer. Make sure your home is appealing to all the senses.
Homeowners who actively help minimize household-related sources of pollution are truly contributing to the preservation of our environment. The way we use and dispose of common household products can affect both the quality of our soil and our freshwater resources.
Our ground waters can be contaminated by chemicals contained in household cleaning supplies, pesticides, plant fertilizers, used motor oil, paints, varnishes, thinners and pool care chemicals, which leave your home as wastewater. Properly disposing of potentially harmful materials can help reduce the amount of pollutants that enter our waters.
Try to purchase biodegradable household products, because they are less toxic to the ecosystem. Check the ingredients in each product, and when possible, buy a product that will clean multiple surfaces in your home. Always read the labels on household chemicals such as tub and tile stain remover or oven cleaner. Follow the directions regarding the use, storage and disposal of all cleaning supplies. Never pour household chemicals or yard care products directly on the ground or into open drains, culverts, or storm sewers. If you must use pesticides and fertilizers on your lawn and garden, keep them away from surface water and wells, and do not use them on bare or eroded sections of your yard.