6 tips to help sellers stage their home while living in it

We help our clients understand that these simple tips will showcase the home’s best assets, appeal to the largest audience of buyers and sell it quickly and for more.

Key Takeaway

  • Good home staging eliminates reasons for the buyer to say “no,” and cleaning offers the biggest return on investment in the home sale process.

A potential buyer walking into your listing and saying, “Nope — not for me” at first glance is the last thing you want as a listing agent. One simple way to avoid that scenario is good home staging.

The key to effective staging is helping your clients make small improvements that will result in big returns. The same is true even if the client is currently living in the home.

However, not all clients want to go through the hassle of staging their home while living in it; and you definitely don’t want to get dumped by the clients for pushing such a suggestion.

Instead of being pushy, help your clients understand that staging is simply a method of decorating the home that showcases its best assets, reels in the widest audience of buyers and sells it quickly for the highest possible price.

In other words, home staging eliminates reasons for the buyer to say “no.”

Staging can be a humbling experience for sellers because it often requires them to strip the home of things they love (that may not have wide appeal) and look at the home objectively to see what needs improving. That is where the agent comes in.

Help walk your clients through this list and objectively identify realistic, budget-friendly changes that will help them sell quickly.

1. Clean

Give the house the cleaning of its life.

This point must be emphasized to clients. Also, it may not be a bad idea to recommend cleaning be done professionally. Clients might not know what it actually means to deep clean, or they may tucker out when the going gets tough.

Cleaning offers the biggest return on investment in this process. Don’t skimp, make it sparkle! Most importantly, be sure your sellers keep up on the cleaning while still living in the home.

2. Declutter

The clutter has got to go.

Some clients will be fine with selling everything they own. Others won’t even want to sell the broken mug that Billy made when he was three.

If they don’t want to sell, suggest a storage unit, not a closet. Buyers look in closets. Help clients find the right balance between lived-in and sterile. Again, the goal is to try to appeal to the widest audience possible.

3. Paint

Is it loud, outdated or wacky? Paint over it.

Is it wallpaper? Tear it down, and then paint over it.

Consider a nice neutral shade. Some clients may be reluctant because white, beige and taupe are boring.

Inform them that those colors may be boring, but some colors have a better ROI than others. The neutral palettes are a much better canvas for the buyer’s dreams than the client’s current seascape kitchen.

4. Depersonalize

The 10×10 family picture collage is a big no. Again, one of the purposes of staging is to appeal to as many buyers as possible — not to the grandparents.

Teach the clients that buyers need to be able to enter the home and envision themselves living there rather than feeling like guests in someone else’s environment.

This may be difficult while the client is still living in the home. A storage space may come in handy.

5. Think about lighting

Use natural light. Tell your clients to open up the blinds, curtains and shutters to let the sun’s light stream in. Natural light can do a lot to freshen up an area.

Also, it may be worth it to consider adding supplemental light to a dark corner or updating a broken or out-of-date light fixture — especially if it looks like it belongs in a medieval castle.

Be considerate of particularly low-hanging fixtures; raise them up if there is room. At the very least, fixtures must be dusted.

6. Upgrade the exterior

Increase curb appeal.

Curb appeal is essential. If your client’s house doesn’t attract buyers during a simple drive-by, then it won’t matter much how clean it is on the inside.

This may be the most important item on the list. (It’s especially important if you don’t live in any of these beautiful towns.)

Mow the lawn, hedge the bushes, prune the trees, spruce the flowers, kill the weeds. Life-size garden gnomes? No! Power wash the outside? Yes! It’s almost as good as new paint, and it gets a better return on investment.

Clean the windows, organize the outside living areas, repair the gutters and fix the fence. Keep in mind that it may be easier for your clients to hire a professional.

Finally, don’t forget the upkeep.

Using these tips, your sellers will be well-prepared for any showing.

 

Reference: http://www.inman.com
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The best month and day to put a home on the market, according to Zillow

A study points to a Saturday in May as a seller’s peak opportunity

Key Takeaways

  • Homes listed between May 1 through 15 tend to sell nine days faster and sell 1 percent above the asking price, a new Zillow study says.

You may want to hide during the ides of March, but the ides of May are the perfect time to put a home on the market, says a new study by Zillow.

In 20 of the 25 metro areas studied, homes listed anywhere between May 1 and May 15 sold nine days faster and for up to 1 percent more than the asking price.

“With 3 percent fewer homes on the market than last year, 2017 is shaping up to be another competitive buying season,” said Zillow Chief Economist Dr. Svenja Gudell in a statement.

“Many [homebuyers] who started looking for homes in the early spring will still be searching for their dream home months later. By May, some buyers may be anxious to get settled into a new home — and will be more willing to pay a premium to close the deal.”

Mark your calendar for a Saturday in May

Moreover, Zillow’s research revealed the best day to place a home on the market is Saturday — listings that appear on Zillow’s site on this day garner 20 percent more views than early-in-the-week listings.

The second best day to list is Friday, when properties receive 14 percent more views.

Lastly, Gudell says sellers have to be cognizant of other factors, such as weather.

Sellers in Texas, California and Florida have more leeway in when to list their home due to warmer weather patterns. Also, sellers who live in areas without distinct seasonal weather tend to have little variation in sales price based on the month.

3 Reasons to Sell Your House Today! (Part III)

Part III – New Construction Will Soon Be Your Competition

home builder

Over the last several years, most homeowners selling their home did not have to compete with a new construction project around the block. As the market is recovering, more and more builders are jumping back in. As an example, the National Association of Realtors revealed, relative to last year, year-to-date new home sales are up 19%.

These ‘shiny’ new homes will again become competition as they can be an attractive alternative to many of today’s home purchasers.

Here are the numbers regarding new construction about to come to market from theCensus Bureau:

BUILDING PERMITS

  • Single-family authorizations in February were at a rate of 600,000.
  • This is 25.5% above February 2012.

HOUSING UNDER CONSTRUCTION

  • Single-family housing starts in February were at a rate of 618,000.
  • This is 18.5% above February 2012.

HOUSING COMPLETIONS

  • Single-family housing completions in February were at a rate of 574,000.
  • This is 32.9% above February 2012.

As we mentioned, new construction can be strong competition to a seller of an existing home. It may make sense to list your home before this new inventory makes its way to market.

3 Reasons to Sell Your House Today! (Part II)

Part II – Housing Supply is Low

Homes for Sale

A seller’s ability to sell their home in today’s real estate market will be determined by both the supply of homes for sale and the demand for that housing. In real estate, supply is represented by the current month’s supply of homes for sale (the number of homes for sale divided by the number of homes sold in the previous month).

While there is no steadfast rule that will apply to pricing in every category of housing, here is a great guideline:

  • 1-4 months’ supply creates a sellers’ market where there are not enough homes to satisfy buyer demand. Appreciation is guaranteed.
  • 5-6 months’ supply creates a balanced market. Historically home values appreciate at a rate a little greater than inflation.
  • 7-8 months’ supply creates a buyers’ market where the number of homes for sale exceeds the demand. Depreciation follows.

What is happening across the country right now?

In most parts of the country, supply is dropping like a rock. According to the National Association of Realtors, total housing inventory is below a five months’ supply. This is almost 20% below inventory numbers of just a year ago and at levels we haven’t seen since 2005.

Based on the table above, we can see that the supply/demand ratio is showing a sellers’ market where prices appreciate. This has created positive movement in housing values in most parts of the country.

Sellers have a great opportunity right now. Historically, inventory increases dramatically as we approach summer. Selling now while demand is high and supply is low may garner you your best price.

FSBOing: This Time It Was Embarrassing

With the housing market beginning to heat up, we are afraid some sellers may consider trying to sell their house as a For Sale By Owner (FSBO). This week we will  post the reasons that we believe trying to sell on your own may be a mistake. Here is an article we have run before which sellers should consider. – KCM Crew

embarrassed

This blog prides itself on the quality of real estate information we deliver each and every day. We try to gather empirical evidence to validate the positions we take. We do not use just an anecdotal story to make a point. We also do not get caught up in the sensationalism. However, today will be different.

We can’t resist commenting on the story which appeared in the Wall Street Journal a while back regarding Colby Sambrotto, the founder and former CEO of forsalebyowner.com. It seems the founding father and lifelong evangelist of the concept of selling your home without a real estate agent was forced to hire a broker to sell his home after failing at what he preaches others should do.

After failing to sell his NYC apartment on his own as a For Sale By Owner (FSBO), Sambrotto hired a broker and paid a 6% commission in order to get the job done. His personal experience helps refute some of the myths Sambrotto has been espousing for over a decade. Let’s look at two of those myths:

Myth #1 – You Will Pocket More Money Selling on Your Own

Most FSBO sites say you can save the commission by selling on your own. What happened in Sambrotto’s sale?

From the WSJ article:

“The broker, Jesse Buckler, said he told Mr. Sambrotto the apartment in the Lion’s Head building on West 19th Street near Sixth Avenue was priced too low and wasn’t drawing the right buyers.

By May, it went into contract, he said, after attracting multiple offers. It closed in the last few days for $150,000 more than the original asking price.”

Myth #2 – The Internet Alone Can Sell Your Home

Many have said that, with the introduction of home search on the internet, hiring an agent is no longer a necessity. What happened to the FSBO guru when he attempted to only depend on the internet?

From the WSJ article:

“Looking to move his family to the suburbs, [Mr. Sambrotto] said he carefully staged his apartment for sale himself, and put it on the market. But after using a mix of websites to publicize his apartment, he said he had only ‘middling success’ and switched to a broker because many buyers were so reliant on brokers.”

Bottom Line

There is a reason the real estate industry has been around for centuries: it performs a valuable service.

3 Reasons to Sell Your House Today! (Part I)

Part I – Demand for Real Estate is Much Stronger This Year

HouseKeysBlue

When selling anything, owners can only hope there is a strong demand for that which they are selling. The great news for today’s home sellers is that the current housing market is experiencing a stronger demand than we have seen in some time.

The  spring housing market of 2013 is projected to be one of the best in years.

Home Sales

The National Association of Realtors(NAR) reports monthly on both pending sales (houses going into contract) andexisting home sales (actual closed sales).

In the first quarter of 2013, pending sales have consistently outperformed the numbers reported in 2012. Contract activity has been above year-ago levels for the past 22 months. Before this year, the last time the index showed a higher reading was in April 2010, shortly before the deadline for the home buyer tax credit.

NAR also revealed that closed home sales have been above year-ago levels for 20 consecutive months and sales are at the highest level since the tax credit period of 2009-2010.

Impact on Sellers

This increase in demand has created bidding wars for properly priced homes across the country. This has resulted in two favorable changes for home sellers:

  1. They are receiving offers closer to (if not greater than) the list price.
  2. The average days it takes to sell a home has dropped by over 20% from last year.

If you are thinking about selling your home, don’t miss out on the strong demand that exists in the current spring market.

Top Tips to buy a Bank Owned Property (also called REO or Foreclosure

  Include a Pre-Approval (NOT Pre-Qualification) letter or proof of funds with your offer. Failing to do so will often lead to rejection or lost time while they have to ask you to provide it as another offer gets accepted while yours was delayed.

  Do NOT add contingencies to your offer more than needed as banks prefer offers with least contingencies possible. The lesser the contingencies, the more are your chances of offer getting accepted by the bank.

  If you are applying for a FHA mortgage, check before making your offer if the home can even get a FHA mortgage in it based on its condition. You can easily get a list of what is acceptable to check if the home meets the criteria or not.

  When making an offer, you should not base your offer on deducting a specific percentage off the Listing price. You do not know if that listing price is market value, priced above market value or already priced at a great discount below market value. Assess what the home is worth in today’s market and deduct for repairs.

  Do not include time limits for the bank answering your offer, Banks work at their own pace. Be prepared to wait for an answer and signed documents. Putting deadlines for answering your offer will simply get it rejected or ignored.

  Get a Home Inspection done by a Certified Home Inspector. Do not assume everything is in working order without testing it BEFORE you make an offer. Virtually all homes are sold ‘As Is” where the BANK will not renegotiate after a home inspection or fix anything not asked for in your initial offer.

  Do not assume the bank will just grant you an extension if you are not ready to close. Cash offers and conventional loans are expected to close within 30 days and FHA and USDA loans are expected to close within 45 days.

  Do not assume all Listing Agents of Bank Owned Homes are the same. There are a few very good ones and MOST are very bad ones. The sale also only goes as well as the listing agent is attentive to their listings and uploading and updating offers.