Sunday, March 3, 2013

First Time Home Sellers - Tips!!

Attention first-time home sellers: This is not your father's housing market.
Today's buyer-take-all market is a benefit for buyers with great credit and deep pockets. But sellers are stunned with new realities that include paying (rather than making) money at the closing table, providing extras to sweeten the deal, and spending more time and cash making the home camera-ready.
For first-time sellers who have never been through the process before, it's a different world. One where the value of the house isn't measured in the profit made on the sale, but by the enjoyment the owners had from living in the home.
~Here are some important things experienced sellers would tell you, if they could.
Your largest number of showings will occur in the first two to three weeks. The (multiple listing service) systems and the Internet tend to drive the majority of showings. Many buyers are plugged in electronically. So the minute something new pops up that meets their criteria, they want to see it. Take advantage of that sweet spot by pricing the house competitively right out of the gate. How you style the price is important. For example, a home first marketed at $155,000, then lowering it to $150,000 meant the listing appeared within the computer search parameters that buyers commonly used in that price range. Want to sit with a house that won't move? Be the first-time seller who insists you can get the appraised value, the tax assessor's estimate or whatever you paid a few years ago. It seems like there's no relationship between your assessed value, taxable value and the actual market value of your house. There doesn't seem to be any correlation. The truth is that your house is worth what buyers are willing to pay. No more. This is a true market that is totally based on supply and demand. That means many buyers should be prepared to lose some money or hang onto the home until the price rises. To make your home stand out it may be smart to throw in some incentives, for instance, include the newer washer and dryer knowing that they will be challenging to move anyway and this will "sweeten the deal" for onlooking buyers. Beware the agent who promises big profits, Combs says. That person may just be after your business. Don't go with anyone who doesn't use comps. And study sales prices, not asking prices, for real estate. One question to ask yourself and pose as you interview agents: How will you reach the home's target market? You have to consider who your most likely buyers are for what you're selling and cater to that group of people. Targeting 20-somethings who live on their smartphones? You need to effectively access the networks your buyers are tapping to find their next home. One big trend: QR (or "quick response") bar codes that allow smartphone users to access property information electronically. The typical starter home can also appeal to downsizing empty nesters. To serve their needs, you might also want to have a phone number that instantly reaches someone who can provide details and answer questions. And don't neglect the modern version of curb appeal: using lots of photos on real estate listings' websites. However you market your house, you need a good number of clear, well-lit, professional-quality pictures that show your house at its best. Keeping your house clean is important in every sale. But first-timers are likely selling smaller houses, and clutter can mean the difference between cozy and cramped. Kitchen and bathroom countertops are another hot spot that many sellers forget to clear. The same chaos that represents your normal routine makes your house seem messy, disorganized and uninviting to buyers. However, you don't want to remove all traces of human existence. Decluttering is good. But I'm not a big fan of taking all of your personal stuff out. Don't neutralize it so that it's sterile. Most buyers are lazy. The last thing a new homeowner wants is another 'to-do' list, Ramsey says. So get the home move-in ready before it hits the market so the buyer can start fresh easily. That means making all the repairs and replacements that you would demand if you were buying the house today. If you have to walk single file up the walkway, trim the bushes. If the garage door is dented, have that fixed or replaced. If you go into a room and say, 'Hmm, I wonder if this carpet is dirty enough to replace?' You have your answer. First-time sellers are likely selling smaller, starter homes which are popular with first-time buyers and empty-nesters. Neither group is likely to want to spend weekends tackling the jobs that you avoided. From a presentation standpoint, you want them to feel it's turnkey -- ready to go. Because your competition is doing that. In this market, it's not just a price war but a beauty contest at the same time. If you're looking to spend some money to make your house memorable, ask someone who knows what will improve the market value. You might want to paint a stylish blue kitchen tan -- to match the walls of the adjacent open living room and attract more buyers. The cheapest thing you can do for a house with the biggest bang for the buck is to paint and replace carpet. Recommendation: soft neutrals, which are easy on the eyes and have mass appeal. Fresh carpet and that new-paint smell are also buyer-bait. Buyers don’t generally get emotionally attached to a carpet-allowance sign. What they fall in love with is the new carpet in the house. If you're a first time home seller and would like some direction to get the ball rolling, contact us anytime, we'd be glad to tour your home, give you some tips on getting your home ready to sell and fill you in on the entire selling process including sharing with you all the "extra" services we offer.  We're here to make sure all your questions get answered and that you don't have to go-it alone.  Just call, email or fill out the contact form on the right side of the page and we'll make sure you're selling experience is as stress-free and profitable as possible.  We're experienced full time realtors that work together to ensure you receive only the top notch service that you deserve.
Remember: Not all realtors are alike. You may pay a similar fee to a lot of different realtors, but we at least give you a lot more for your money than a majority of agents would even consider providing for you.  Call us today, even if you're just getting started, we're here to help even in the getting ready stage.  There are no costs to you until your home is listed, sells and closes!

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Finding a good real estate agent / broker

Finding a good real estate agent / broker is essential to enjoying a painless real estate transaction. The saying is "20% of the agents do 80% of the business," and it is true. The question is how can you find a good real estate agent? The best agent for you doesn't necessarily work at the largest brokerage, close the most transactions or make the most money. The best agent for you is an experienced professional who will listen to you, conduct herself in an ethical manner and knows your market.

1. REALTORS® and Real Estate Agents

All Realtors® are licensed to sell real estate as an agent or a broker but not all real estate agents are Realtors®. Only Realtors can display the Realtor® Realtors belong to the National Association of Realtors and pledge to follow the Code of Ethics, a comprehensive list containing 17 articles and underlying standards of practice, which establish levels of conduct that are higher than ordinary business practices or those required by law. Less than half of all licensees are Realtors®.

2. Referrals

Most real estate agents stay in business because satisfied clients refer them to friends, family, neighbors and coworkers. Ask the people around you who they have used and ask them to describe their experiences with this real estate agent. Successful agents make customer satisfaction their number one priority and put their customers' needs before their own. Try to find an agent who goes above and beyond her responsibilities. She'll be the agent whose praises your friends sing loudest.

3. Search Online for Agent Listings

There are plenty of Web sites that will refer agents to you but that is no assurance of quality. The agents they refer are those who have paid the Web site owners a fee to be listed in their directory. A better bet is to Google the top real estate companies in your area, go to those Web sites and look up profiles of individual agents at offices near you. Agents who are experienced will tell you but newer agents might have more time to spend with you. Look for customer testimonials.

4. Attend Open Houses

By going to open houses, you can meet real estate agents in a non-threatening working environment and interact with them. Collect business cards and make notes on them. If you're thinking about selling your home, pay attention to how the agent is showing the home. Is she polite and informative; appear knowledgeable? Does she hand out professional-looking promotional material about the home? Is she trying to sell features of the home? Or is she sitting in a corner reading a book, ignoring you?

5. Track Neighborhood Signs

Pay attention to the listing signs in your neighborhood. Make note of the day they go up and when the sold sign appears. The agent who sells listings the fastest might be better for you than the agent with the largest number of "for sale" signs. Results speak volumes.

6. Using Print Advertising

Real estate agents run real estate ads for two purposes. The first is to sell specific real estate. The second is to promote the real estate agent. Look in your local Sunday newspaper for ads in your targeted neighborhood. Then look up the Web sites of the agents who are advertising. These agents could be specialists in your neighborhood. Call and ask them about their experience.

7. Recommendations from Professionals

Ask other real estate agents for referrals. Agents are happy to refer buyers and sellers to associates, especially if the service you need is not a specialty of the agent who is referring you. Some agents specialize in residential resales while others work exclusively with new home builders. Other agents sell only commercial or investment property. Mortgage brokers are also a resource for agent referrals as many brokers have first-hand knowledge of exceptional agents. Pros tend to refer pros.