Posted in Best Time to Sell, Buying Homes, Finding a great Realtor, Home Selling Tips, Planning

Getting Ready For Spring Market

Planning to sell? Here are a few quick tips to get your home in order to help win the best price!

Exterior:
1. Trim your trees & shrubs.
2. Clean Flower/landscaping beds.
3. Add a pop of color near the entry with flowers/pots.
4. Be sure front door area is clean, fresh and that the door is operating without difficulty or noise.

Interior:
1. De-Clutter: This is the number 1 thing to do to make your house more appealing!
2. Wash walls/light switches.
3. If walls don’t clean up well, have them painted. Fresh paint is a great way to make your home smell
fresh.
4. Make sure all lightbulbs are working.
5. Ask your favorite REALTOR ™ about any other more detailed concerns/ideas you may have prior to
spending the money to do them!

Posted in goal setting, Motivation, Succeed

Vagabond Realtor Returns Home

There was no greater groan heard than that of a certain teenage girl at the mere mention of Social Studies class. Learning about cultures and geography/travel was about as boring as it could get. Fast forward 20, well let’s be real – 30+ years and this girl now considers world culture, geography, and travel among her favorite and fascinating activities.

I think my love of culture and travel, which has led to new appreciation for both and including the awesome variety of geography around the world, all began with my first mission trip to Peru back in 2005. It was there, homeschooling my young children high in the Andes Mountains in a 3rd world setting that made those ole boring social studies and geography classes come to life. Since then, my travel days haven’t stopped and my experiences just keep growing.

In 2019 I started my domestic adventures with a two week trek West to work as a hired hand on a cattle ranch. It was some of the hardest work of my life but afforded me such experiences I never could have imagined. And my meandering route there without a schedule had me stopping to see Mt. Rushmore, historic towns, mountain hiking adventures, and more.

We can’t really have a story about 2020 without talking about the effects of Covid. It did unfortunately prevent my planned trips to Scotland and Germany. It did however allow me much more time in our great State of Michigan experiencing trails, beaches, and time for cabin remodeling.

After an intimate December wedding for my daughter, and an exhausting whirlwind of a year in real estate I took a short trip to Sedona, AZ where I could relax amidst nature and spend some quality time with myself. The trails were endless and the views were breathtaking. The vastness of the land and mountains is hard to put into words. The colors, shapes, and even vegetation are completely different than here in Michigan. The people and their culture are different too, even right within our own country. Can’t say Mother Nature gave me the best weather, as it seems I brought an end to their drought along in my suitcase. The Sedonians were very pleased about that.

It is always an adventure to roam our Country or travel abroad and I anxiously await the opportunity to go on my next trip as, I hope, we get a handle on this horrible pandemic. But, I must say that despite all the adventures, despite all the amazing vistas, history, culture, and real estate to be seen across the world; it is always good to come home, isn’t it? There’s just something about home that you just can’t get anywhere else. Here in Michigan, we’re never more than 6 miles from a body of water! We have rolling and flat farm fields, woods, water, and friendly neighbors. No matter what, nor for how long, nor where I go: it is always good to come home. I’m not sure what it is. Do you experience the same? Can you put it into words? It might be reuniting with my puppies and their wiggly little backsides, plopping into my comfy bed with its fluffy duvet, the smell of home, the familiarity of the neighborhood. I’m not really sure what it is. But, this vagabond Realtor is glad to be here, living and working right here in the Great Lakes Bay Area. I can’t imagine home being anywhere else.

Posted in Just For Laughs

Laughing In A Poop Geyser – Thanksgiving 2020

I’m guessing you’ve never imagined finding yourself in the middle of a poop geyser. But, after all it is 2020 and one might say that life in general fits that description figuratively pretty well. I on the other hand found myself amidst one literally the other day, and I just couldn’t help but draw upon an analogy I’d like to share with you now.

Let me give you a very brief background before I bring you a laugh and likely a groan of disgustingness all at once today. I purchased a cabin early last Spring. I’d discovered that when there were multiple people there for an extended period of time, the water started to drain slowly. So, I called the local septic company. He came out and promptly gave me an education about this high quality system I had, which was a 3 phase, the first being a smaller tank about 5 feet underground that grinds up all the sewage and a pump pushes it up a large PVC pipe that runs through a big underground wooden box, takes a turn and pushes the sewage into the actual septic tank a few feet over and so on. He pointed out that the float for the pump was  not working and that I should have the plug, which was in that nice wooded protective box replaced because the cord needed to be wiggled to get it to work. When the pump didn’t turn on, then the water would slow down in the drains. I have seen these systems many times in real estate. It wasn’t anything new. He agreed to change the pump float, and leave the lid exposed for the contractor to change out the outlet. However, much to my surprise, he did something in my absence that would turn my next visit into something very memorable.

I went to the cabin this week and thought, boy he sure did not clean up his mess very well. There was a PVC pipe in the yard and several pieces of wood.  As I continue, remember he had shown me that I could just wiggle that plug inside the box to get the water to drain from the grinding station to the tank. At the end of the weekend I noticed the water slowing. So, with the help of my good friend who was there chopping wood with me, we lifted that big lid and I jumped down into that box. I said, well he doesn’t even have it plugged in!  I leaned over to grab the cord to plug it in. What I did NOT notice was that the PVC pipe no longer had an elbow on it running over to the septic tank, but was cut off about 18” from the base, pointing straight up. I had to lean over it to reach the plug. I tried the top outlet, nothing. So, I tried the bottom outlet, gave it a little wiggle and hummmm…… I heard the pump. Then, WHOOOOOSH…. The water was moving. It sure was moving, right up that PVC pipe and beating against my chest! It took oh, likely a good half of a second for my brain to catch up to the fact that I had created a geyser of poop sewage and it was covering me. I dropped the cord (still plugged in) and stood up, which then allowed the geyser to raise up to a good 4 foot spout. Mind you, I was still standing in that wood box which is about 3ft deep. I looked down, still stunned to realize the sewage spouting was now covering my feet and was past my ankles. I started scrambling out of the geyser of poop and yelling, turn off the power, turn off the power! My friend, who up to this point was seemingly stupefied at the happenings, ran into the house to the power box. By this time the sewage was well over the height of the outlet in that box. He ran back out and stared at me, speechless, not making a sound. I stared at him, stared at the flooded box, looked down at myself covered in ground up toilet paper and sewer water and I burst out laughing.  I rolled back on the ground and just laughed. My friend stared, unsure if I had lost my mind, unsure if it was safe for him to laugh as well. Finally, he said, “I can’t believe you’re laughing”. Then he joined in.

I had a choice the moment I realized I was being covered in sewage and ground up pooh from the friends who had joined me that day. I could have screamed, I could have cried, or been outraged. But, I chose to laugh. And I can tell you, it was such a relief, it was joyous. I can’t remember laughing so hard recently. It had been too long. This year has been long, and it has been hard and oft full of loneliness and worry and uncertainty. I had to laugh, at the absurdity, the disgustingness, the shock… and it was good. I did give thanks – that it hadn’t been aimed at my head, that the look on my friend’s face was priceless. I ask you today to look around you in this world full of turmoil, as we approach a Thanksgiving that is likely different than any we’ve experienced before, and be thankful. There is always something, many things in fact, that we can give thanks over. We have that choice each and every moment, to give thanks, to laugh or to despair. Choose laughter; even if life seems to be spouting a geyser of poop.

Genesis 21:6: “And Sarah declared, ‘God has brought me laughter. All who hear about this will laugh with me.’”

May God bless you and yours this Thanksgiving and beyond.

P.S. I called the septic guy – he said, Oh yes – I guess I should’ve texted you that I hadn’t finished…. 😊 (I would agree)

Posted in Buying Homes, Home Buyers, Home Buying Tips

This Mistake Can Cost You Your Dream Home

We’ve all seen them, heard them, and perhaps ventured down the road to homeownership using them…. What is it you wonder? It is a National Lending Institution. Yup – doesn’t sound fancy or sexy, or remotely exciting. But I can say that there are huge repercussions that can come into play using one lending institution versus another. And most National Lending Institutions are at the bottom of my list. Let me explain.

Mid-October I had a buyer who closed on a Rural Development (RD) loan. It was very exciting in this very competitive market just to get an offer with a Rural Development loan accepted. They typically take 45 days instead of 30 and there is the possibility of sellers needing to make some repairs. But, here we were back in the beginning of June with an accepted RD offer. Wait – did you catch it?….  That we just closed this in October? Yeah, that is true. Not only did it take 128 days to close this loan, through no fault of the buyer or seller, it was the first RD in 14 years where my buyer had to come to the closing with cash because the lending institution’s fees were so exorbitant. In fact, we didn’t have his actual closing figures until ten minutes prior to the closing! As if the 128 days weren’t enough for the lender to get the proper package to the title company to work up the figures for closing at least a day in advance. Not only that but 6 hours before the closing the buyer had been told he would receive a check back at closing in the amount of $110 (typical for RD loans). So, while he was en-route to closing the lender removed an $865 credit they said was due to faulty new software and he had to run to the bank and make up the difference. Thankfully, he had the funds.  This same national lender is currently on day 89 for another buyer who will most likely lose the house, her inspection and appraisal fees because the seller is just plain fed up with waiting. These are lenders that I am calling and emailing daily throughout the process. I have spoken to the loan officers, processors, underwriters, regional managers – all to no avail.

In a different situation I had a VA (Veteran) buyer who was using a National Company and 5 weeks into the deal the lender decided their underwriting division was not going to accept the appraisal, despite it being at the value of the home. In this case, I was able to get it all transferred to a local lender and we closed 2 weeks later.

Why am I writing to let you know these scenarios? Well, if you or someone you know is in the market to buy, I want you to have ample information. I want you to know that it is common practice to advertise a super low rate only to find out at closing that you’ve been charged a few thousand dollars up front for that. I want you to know that you won’t have a local contact using a national lender and you’ll likely be speaking to multiple people throughout the country during your loan process. It can be an added headache that isn’t necessary.

My 14 years of experience and closing about a loan every week with my buyers/sellers has given me the advantage of experiencing so many great and not-so-great lending institutions. There are good and “bad” national companies and local companies. The advantage being that as a Realtor™ I have the experience of knowing who/where typically does a great job, which lenders have programs that may benefit particular clients, etc.

If you’re in the market to buy, even if I’m not your agent – I’d suggest you ask for some high quality lending referrals. Realtors™ don’t get perks, bonuses, gifts of any kind from lenders. So, no worries about the reason why an agent would recommend certain loan officers. We do so in order to save you time, stress, potentially thousands of dollars, and even the house. We don’t want you to go through all the work of finding your perfect match only to lose it because your loan officer couldn’t perform in a timely fashion. Granted it is super busy – all lending institutions are taking longer due to increased workloads. But folks, 128 days is NOT acceptable in any fashion, nor is 89. Buyers losing out on their inspection and appraisal fees is also not acceptable. Purchasing a home should be a great adventure!  So, when you’re looking to buy – be sure to ask your favorite Realtor™ which local lending institutions have a spectacular track record with their previous clients. We all should be able to provide you with several recommendations of local loan officers ready to serve you and your particular needs in the very best fashion!

Posted in goal setting, Succeed

Finish The Race

It’s the last lap in the Mile Run and you’re feeling fatigued. It’s been a long 3 laps around the track with one to go. On the other hand, it feels like time has flown by. Unfortunately – a few other racers have zipped past you and you’re struggling to keep up in the pack. Can you do it? Can you pass them and cross that finish line before everyone else? If you don’t, have you failed?

Is your first response yes? Yes, if you didn’t cross that finish line in first place you have failed? Well, I’d say it is about perspective. Of course, if you’re a competitive athlete, primed and in top condition you may see anything but number one as a failure. But what if you’re not that primed competitive athlete? What if you’d been knocked down in a previous race and had broken your ankle and this was your first race back? What if you had never competed before? What if you had a physical disability that wasn’t going away? Imagine even if you were competing against these seasoned athletes and you had only one leg? Would your perception change as a viewer? Would someone with one leg, someone who was running injured, despite the injury still appear a “loser” to you? Or would you consider them valiant and associate words like perseverance & strength to them?

We may not be out running an actual 4 laps around the track against others. But sometimes our lives or jobs or even both can seem like a competitive race. Working in a field measured by sales figures for me, makes things at minimum, semi-competitive. Having been the number one agent four of the last five years makes me feel like that should continue. Certainly every transaction for me brings excitement – the joy of finding the perfect match, the creating of professional videos to market and making that call to sellers that “We have an offer” and to buyers, “It’s Accepted” are highlights and the most important part of my job. Those are what I work for, not the numbers. On the other hand, if I’m not “#1” am I a failure? I hope not but it is sure easy to be hard on ourselves.

Again, I say it is all about perspective. I have to look at the major changes that have occurred in my life this year. I need to look at all the people and families that I have impacted for the positive. I need to focus on all of my successes. I hope you can do the same. What race are you in? What goals did you set that you either blew by or blew off? Maybe you’re just lagging behind a bit and lack some inspiration to finish strong. Whatever it is you’re hoping to accomplish – recommit, reconfigure, restart, regroup and get going! A full court press in the 4th quarter is an excellent jump start for a successful 1st quarter. Get Going!

Posted in goal setting, Motivation, Planning, Succeed

Remembering Your Dream

adult-armchair-beverage-846080Nestled under a downy soft blanket as the breeze dances through my hair, and the sun peeks over the horizon with the sound of small waves lapping just steps away. The strong black coffee in hand awakens my senses. Small almost imperceptible details come to mind in the stillness; the plip plip of acorns hitting the metal roof and rolling down to hit the deck, swishing of the reeds as they sway in perfect rhythm, light patter of chipmunk feet scurrying to ready himself for winter.

Ok – wake up! A scene from my most recent vacation is what I described above. In my mind, it is about the most heavenly of settings possible. So much so that after that short trip to an amazing lakefront cottage up north, followed by another vacation to visit my daughter and son-in-law in the mountains of North Carolina; I re-awakened a dream. An image that really I’ve had since childhood, back in the days when I was certain I would grow up to marry Grizzly Adams. I want a home in the wilderness and on the water. I want a peaceful refuge where I can interact daily with nature. I want a place where my family loves to gather and my grandchildren will want to spend the summers with me.

This wasn’t a new dream. As a matter of fact, I wouldn’t even say it was a real dream as a kid growing up on the farm. I just thought it was a reality, a for certain kinda thing. When I thought of life as a grown up, it always included wilderness, water, animals, and of course family. But then I grew up and as I went through the twists and turns of this life that I love by the way – things were different than what I’d once imagined. And that’s ok since we certainly can’t map out our futures when we’re children. Many of the things that were important to me then aren’t so much now, and visa-versa. But going on that trip reminded me that “This is something I want” and before I’m too old to enjoy it.

We should all have dreams. If we don’t dream – we won’t know what to focus on, what to strive for. Where do we want to be in 5 years, 10, 20? How do we make it a reality? Every so often it is a great idea to reboot. To stop and figure out what is really important in life and be sure when everything is said and done, we’re happy with what we’ve accomplished and where we’ve ended up.

Now that I’ve been re-inspired and have put that home on a lake in a woods on my vision board; how do I make it a reality? For me, it is through real estate investing. Not something I’d have thought of 25 years ago. But I’ve done a lot of studying, and also having been in real estate for 12 years now I know that fact of the matter is, most people (about 90%) who are multi-millionaires do so through real estate. Whether it is as a residential or commercial landlord, development, or whatever. Now, don’t get me wrong – I don’t need to be a multi-millionaire to accomplish my dream, however that would be nice. I do need a steady stream of permanent income and a nice lump of funds for a purchase.

I set my business development goals as a Realtor for several years and have accomplished each one so far. I write them down, map them out, share them with my coach, etc. But I haven’t allowed myself previously to dream personally and I think that’s been a great oversight. Because what is accomplishing my work goal if it doesn’t change my personal life? What good is it slaving away, despite loving my job, if I don’t per se, “stop and smell the roses”?

I am feeling a newfound zest for life since I’ve made my commitment to have my own paradise to enjoy with family and friends. Work comes a little easier, and sacrifice of delayed gratification more realistic.

And certainly there will be sacrifice. I understand that the key to being where few people are is to start doing what few people do. That’s a line from a favorite author/speaker Brian Buffini.

As we see the current season changing from Spring to Fall, I encourage you to take a few moments and remember your dreams and make your own change toward making them a reality. Yours may be completely different from mine – most likely they are! Just like the beauty that comes from myriad of colors in the fall, life too is beautiful because each of us is unique. Realizing and achieving your dream might not be an easy journey but I guarantee it will be an adventure. Awaken your passion in life and the world becomes brighter.

Posted in Best Time to Sell, Home Selling Tips, Selling Your Home

Best Outdoor ROI Tip for 2018!

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Who Knew? A Home Improvement with a 267% ROI!!

If someone said you could give them a dollar and they’d return and give you $267 a day later plus they’d do work for you…. We’d be clamoring to sign up, right? You may be surprised to learn that the home improvements paying the best return on investment (ROI) aren’t what you think!

It is likely you know a great kitchen and master suite make a home much more sale-able and both have a pretty high ROI when updated. You may even know that a new front door is about the highest on the list in terms of best places to put your money when putting up a home for sale. What you may not have guessed is professional standard lawn service, yes lawn service, recovers an estimated 267% of your investment! So not only do you get to sit back and watch someone else do your work, but when you’re selling – it is like having it done free and then some!

It seems there are several outdoor features that make your home both appeal to buyers and add value to your home.  You may want to consider going a step beyond standard lawn care and have some landscape maintenance done too! That ranks #2 on the list and includes such things as tree/shrub pruning, removal of small trees, new mulch, etc.  If your deck has seen better days or you’ve been thinking of putting in a new patio – hop to it. Not only do both of those upgrades make in the top 5 for appeal and added value but they add to the *Joy Factor as well. What is Joy Factor? That’s the positive feeling that makes you desire to spend more time at home.

Joy Factor comes in to play in almost all the top 13 outdoor home improvements. Whether you’re planning to sell or not, you may find justifying the expense of an update easier by looking at these statistics. Not only will mom and dad be more pleased to sit out on the back deck sipping a drink, but kids come into play here too. Despite the bad rap one particular outdoor expenditure has had in regard to ROI, this outdoor feature ranks the absolute highest on the Joy Factor. Any idea what it might be? A pool of course! So if you’re a parent who would like to be sure your kids have a great time at home instead of spending time at someone else’s; the biggest pull is to put in a pool. That’s a great tidbit to be sure your Realtor knows when selling a home with a pool. Marketing the Joy Factor could make a big difference.

We may be nearing the end of summer right now but there’s still plenty of time to make your yard and landscaping look great! And there’s nothing like pulling in the driveway at the end of a long day of work, or after a vacation and seeing your yard looking fabulous.

If you have any further questions about Outdoor or Indoor Residential Features topping the ROI charts, reach out to me and I’ll be happy to get you more information.

Posted in Best Time to Sell, Home Selling Tips, Selling Your Home

Enjoy Now – Get Paid Later

Sounds like a double bonus doesn’t it? Strange as it may be, it is often true in the world of keeping your home updated. As we pass the 10 year anniversary of when the market crashed here in Mid-Michigan (a bit later than many parts of the U.S.) I have seen a number of homes going on the market that were purchased right before that bubble burst. Even though our average home sales are again about the same as just before that burst, many of the homes I’m doing markets on are just not on par with the figure they bought them for.  What do these particular homes have in common? They all lack updates.
For whatever reason, it seems many of the homes I’ve been doing markets on were built in the 1990’s or early 2000’s, when I walk in – I’m pretty much seeing exactly what I would have seen 20 years ago, except now the stuff is 20 years old! Sure, some folks have put in a few rooms of carpet (though many haven’t) but for the most part things are the same. We have old laminate or tile counter tops, out of date appliances, mis-matched fixtures, 90’s wallpaper, etc.  I have sold enough homes (averaging 1/week) to say that people in general want to purchase a home that is updated, investors excluded. A clean updated home will sell so much faster and for a higher price than an outdated one every time!
Maybe it is because it has economically been a rough ten years for our community that there’s an abundance of outdated inventory. Or maybe people just don’t realize the value of keeping their home updated.  I would suggest you make small updates to your home annually; besides raising the sales price for the future – you get to enjoy it now! I recently went on a market analysis in what would be considered a luxury price point. Fabulous floor plan and amenities. However, it was a 1998 kitchen that was not only not-functional but there was laminate in a $400K price point – not possible.  I proceeded to give my prospective clients three values: $289,000 as-is, $369,000 re-doing the kitchen and master bath, or $425,000 with a complete remodel. We ripped apart the kitchen, opened it up and put in new tile backsplashes and granite counter tops. Looks like a whole new place, and we spent about $10,000 but brought the value up a ton.  The sellers – well, they’re not so sure they want to move anymore! They love it! It got me thinking, why are so many waiting to update until the time they’re ready to sell? Why not do a little bit every year and enjoy those updates now AND reap the benefits later.  Financially, it is a lot easier to do a project every year than something great big when you’re getting ready to move.
Surely I’m not saying that you will get your money back for every single update you do.  There are of course wise ways to increase your home’s value and other ways that, though they may make your home more enjoyable for your family, don’t necessarily get your money back. If you’re not sure what the best updates to do are – you can always ask me. Free advice. But generally speaking; kitchens, master suites, and baths are a great bet – as well as an attractive entrance. So lift your spirits a little and grab a can of paint, pick out some new floors or take a sledgehammer to those pink tiled walls in your old bathroom! Have fun, love the home you’re in, and invest for your future!
Posted in community, Finding a great Realtor, goal setting, Midland Saginaw Real Estate, Motivation, Planning, real estate, Realtor, Succeed

Overcoming Adversity

Come on, Rise to the Challenge, Persistence Pays, Stick with It, are all a few common phrases that we hear when people talk about facing adversity.  Can a couple words actually help?  What is it that really allows us to overcome adversity and why do some people do so well and others often seem mired down continuously?

 

I don’t think a phrase in and of itself is going to help us much when we are faced with adversity. And let’s be honest – we all face it and all too often whether it is in the workforce or our home life.  As a Realtor, I face it often.  You may think that sounds crazy, as many people’s perceptions and expectations of a Realtor are very low.  Granted there will always be agents who live up to that low expectation, just like in any field. However, as a professional with two degrees under her belt and more importantly, decades of experience I can tell you the real estate world is full of adversity of varying degrees.

 

In real estate I face a couple different types. The first is pretty plain and simple – how do I get enough business to survive in this dog-eat-dog arena?  The second is the type of adversity I face with clients.  Sometimes this is personal, but I’m focusing more on the struggles that we face in trying to close a deal.  A couple of recent examples have been, a buyer whose employer changed their manner of payment in the middle of a deal.  The buyer being a caretaker had always received one bi-weekly check for taking care of multiple people. Week 3 of the deal, the employer decides to pay by the patient and the buyer now receives 7 different checks.  This throws the lender into a fit. How can they verify the income? We’re involved with a big bank, supposed to close this next week.  Seller wants to walk because we should already have the clear to close and now we need to postpone. It all sounds ridiculous to us but this is out of our control.  We can’t do the bank’s work for them.  What can I do?  Well, yes I can rise to the challenge and be persistent.  What does this mean specifically?  That’s where overcoming adversity becomes possible – find out the specifics.  In this case I needed to speak with the lender daily.  I needed to speak to the seller’s agent daily to quiet their fears, to show them the income hadn’t changed, to talk to them about how putting it back on the market meant starting over and possibly a worse deal, etc. I needed to keep the spirits of my buyer up so they didn’t get frustrated over what seemed such stupidity and let them walk away.  It took an extra 3 weeks, but my buyer is now happily in his new home and the sellers walked away with their check.

 

How about when as a listing agent you recommend strongly that the seller make some type of improvement that you know (from years of experience) it will not only make their home sell faster and for a higher amount – and they choose not to follow your direction?  They may even think they know more about real estate than you do! What can we do?  Stay the Course of course.  Find those facts, show them homes that sell, dig up examples, find out how your seller’s brain works – will they respond to statistics? Or will they be more affected by photos of before and after? Approaching it one step at a time until you find out what works.

 

Your adversity is different than mine. We all have our own struggles.  Though the cliché phrases aren’t going to do anything, if we think about how those phrases came about – we are on the right track to overcoming.  What does it actually entail to “Stay the Course” or “Rise to the Challenge”? Figure out what the end result needs to be. Then step by step work toward that result.  Life is not full of many one way streets.  We may have to re-route or recalculate a few times along the way.  But if you have a goal/end result that is the most important thing.  Once we know where we want to be, we will figure out a way to get there.  It may not all be clear at the beginning.  But, we’re way smarter than we usually give ourselves credit for.  Decide what you want and then go. And as another familiar saying says, Just Do It!

Posted in Best Time to Sell, Home Selling Tips, real estate, Selling Homes, Selling Your Home

Top Tips to Sell Your Home Faster

We’ve all seen it – on our drive in to work a For Sale sign pops up in the lawn of a home and gee, months and months go by and it is still there. After several months you may even start to wonder, “What’s wrong with that house?” There must be something wrong, right? Not necessarily. Most likely either seller or their agent made a decision up front that cost them a quick sale.  Granted, there are areas and price brackets in every market that move much slower than others. You can’t change that – but you may be able to change whether or not it is the one that does sell.

Aside from hiring an agent with experience and a great marketing plan there are several other factors that will make your home stand out against the competition.

  1. Price – you need to price it to move.  Gone is the day where a home lists way over value and people still flock to it with negotiating on their minds.  Buyers have too much knowledge at their fingertips these days; they know values. Price it at market value and negotiate firm. Listen to your agent and look at the comparables. Unfortunately what you wish your value to be isn’t usually what reality is. Pricing slightly below market value is shown to bring a stampede of buyers in the door.  This can result in a bidding war which is good news.
  2. First Impression – there’s only 1! You know the old saying that there’s never a 2nd chance to make a good 1st impression. It doesn’t just apply to people, but your home as well.  What are the best ways to make a good impression?
    1. Create curb appeal.  Landscaping is shown to have the highest ROI there is in real estate. Make your entry awesome. Is your doorframe cracked or peeling? Are there cobwebs? Bushes not trimmed? Get it done! Whether you hire a professional or make it a DIY project, it is super important to a good 1st impression.
    2. Get Rid of Your Junk. Walk around your home with your cell and snap pics – look at them and what do you notice? If you see your “stuff” instead of the features of your home; get a storage unit and get rid of it. If you don’t need it on a daily basis and it isn’t enhancing your home just pack it up. A storage unit is a super cheap way to enhance your home’s value and 1st impression.
    3. Smell Stinks! Not much worse than opening a front door and being greeted by dog or dirty laundry smell. For that matter, the same goes for potpourri.  Take the time to eliminate the source of your odors. Be sure any automatic air fresheners are a natural clean scent. Don’t use something strong that makes the buyer take notice.
  3. Update Wisely.  Don’t go spending a huge amount on updating your home and think you’re going to get it all back. Ask your agent. Do your research but pay attention to what market you’re researching.  Just because you find an article that says spending $30K in kitchen updates is a great idea – it doesn’t mean it applies to Mid-Michigan! Kitchen and baths, aside from entrances are the best places to see a good ROI. A good can of neutral paint and new hardware on your cabinetry can do a whole lot to update your look.  Have an old nasty appliance? Replace it with a new stainless one.  Doesn’t mean you have to replace all – people tend to see one and forget the others.

There are a lot of variables in making your home sell.  There’s no one perfect solution.  Your best bet is to ask your agent what their ideas would be (assuming you have a good agent). You might also want to invite some friends over and have them look at the house with fresh eyes and tell you what they think.  It isn’t a time to be defensive, but open to suggestions.  When we get a home ready for the market the idea is to make it look in such a way to be appealing to the highest number of people possible.  Sometimes that means making room for people to have their own ideas and not be pre-occupied with all of your personal effects /decor.  Neutral with a touch of flair attracts the widest range of buyers and that is what we’re looking for.

Time to list? Feel free to call/text/email me any time.  989-475-2958 mdvgilbert@gmail.com I look forward to hearing from you.