Posted in Home Selling Tips, real estate, Selling Your Home

Easy Tips to Sell Your Home Faster

Is there some kind of magic potion to make your home sell instantly? How about even in the first 30 days? Well, just like the fountain of youth; it hasn’t really been discovered yet, but there are certainly some proven factors that can help you out.  There are two basic issues that sellers may have: 1) They aren’t getting any showings or 2) they’re having showings but no one is making an offer. I’ll address them in this order, because quite frankly each issue has it’s own reason or two.

First of all, if you aren’t getting any showings you need to rule out whether or not you’re overpriced and verify your agent has an excellent marketing plan.  Setting those issues aside for this particular topic, you next need to take a moment and glance at the photos your agent is using. Are they from a cellphone? If so, I’d say have them come out and re-do them. Very rarely are those high quality, they just don’t compare to a real honest to goodness Canon, Nikon or the like. When you’re looking at the photos, what do you notice? I know it is your home, and we tend not to see a lot of our own “things”. That’s why looking at a photo is better than just glancing around your house. At first look, do you notice things or the house? Do you see so much yard on the exterior shot that you can’t really see the home? Have your agent use a wide-angled lens. This makes for a much nicer profile shot.  For the interior, are there items lined up on your kitchen counter? Lots of picture frames on the entertainment center?  A good rule of thumb is to get rid of knick-knack items while your home is on the market – and do it before the photo shoot. An excellent interior photo of your home should showcase the house, not your stuff. Things that we often think make our house a home are also things that make photos look busy and unappealing. Also, if you have rooms that aren’t updated, why put them in the listing? I shake my head every time I look at a listing and see a random shot of a toilet stool…… Better to showcase the finer points and get people in the door. Can’t sell a house that no one looks at!

If you’re getting some decent showings but just not getting any offers or 2nd showings you also need to consider your price because you may just be a bit high. But, there are lots of reasons people don’t buy houses that really shouldn’t prohibit them.  Let’s start with the exterior, because that’s where the buyers’ first impression comes from. Be sure your yard is freshly mowed, trees trimmed, and make your entrance welcoming. Not much more disheartening than getting to a house with an unkempt lawn and then having issues with the door. Be sure your door opens and closes properly. Be sure it latches and the handles are shiny and there’s no peeling paint. The front porch should be spotless and uncluttered. There’s always an agent/buyer conversation at the door, let it be positive, not about a squeaky door or ripped screen.

Here it goes – the key is in the lock and the door swings open……. Whew! What is that smell? Whether it is from a cat or potpourri; it needs to go.  There’s no taking back this first 5 second impression. Smell is a huge deterrent. It puts a stigma on a home the second someone smells it.  It is well worth your money to have the carpets & upholstery cleaned prior to listing. And don’t use crazy candles or potpourri. A clean smelling candle or air freshener is fine, but I always say the best smell upon walking into a house is NO smell.  People associate smells with “they must be trying to cover something up”! Or it is a smell they hate, or in regard to pet odors, people think the house hasn’t been well maintained and that plants seeds of doubt.

One of the best ways to make your home smell fresh leads into what I say is the best investment in selling your home – paint! Paint is not expensive and it covers a multitude of issues.  I always suggest that my homeowners go around and look at their home as if it belonged to someone else. First this eliminates the clutter like I mentioned earlier but go farther. Do you see dingy walls? Finger marks near light switches? scratches on the walls? Scuff marks by the doors and down the stairways? Paint makes a home smell fresh and look fresh. How about wallpaper? Get rid of it. You may like the pattern but chances are someone else will not.  Strip the paper and paint.  Just be sure to use a light neutral color, but not stark white. Go with a light beige or grey tone, depending on your decor. A fresh coat of paint, combined with the staging of your home – putting away those knick-knacks you don’t need, will make a huge difference. Have room to put the toaster in a cupboard instead of on the counter? Do it!

Be sure you clean your house before a showing. If it is between no showing or no cleaning, I always advise to go ahead and have it shown but if you know in advance – prepare your home like you’re expecting royalty. I know you’re busy, but better to do it a few times and sell your house than to have to endure showings continuously without a sale. Vacuum, dust, stuff the laundry into the machines, (not the closets cuz they’re going to open those!) You may even want to prepare a batch of cookies. People associate that with friendliness and they like that. People want to buy from nice people.

All in all, first impressions are critical. If your yard is spiffy, the house is neat, clean, not smelly, not cluttered, not crazy colors of paint or wallpaper – it will sell. You wouldn’t believe some of the things that go on the market. You can make your home stand out in a positive way just by doing the things that are inexpensive and not time consuming. Good luck!! and remember, as always – feel free to contact me for advice about selling your home or for a market analysis.

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Posted in Bay City Michigan, Midland Michigan, Real Estate Market Statistics

1st Quarter Stats Come In! Saginaw Update, Midland & Bay Quarterly Report

MARKET STATS – SAGINAW UPDATE – MIDLAND 1ST QUARTER REPORT – BAY 1ST QUARTER REPORT

As insanely busy as the 1st quarter was for me, and the positive statistics I wrote about in my last edition; it appears Saginaw County in general showed a decline when compared to the last four years. My report a few weeks ago for Saginaw spoke of lesser amount of transactions, but the positivity of the steadily increasing average sales price. It appears, at least for the 1st quarter, when all is said and done that the increase of prices seems to have hit a standstill, and the number of transactions is still down. However (you’ll always hear the bright side from me, and I know there always IS a bright side) the fact remains that there are still high demand areas, and if your home is priced accurately and is clean – there’s a market for it! I’m consistently hearing agents say we need more inventory, that they’re crazy busy, and there’s a low supply of “nice” homes.  I’ll touch base in another session about the best ways to make your home worth more without spending a fortune.

MIDLAND STATS

Anyone from Mid-Michigan can tell you that though our Tri-County borders bring us together, the housing markets are very different. Midland tends to have the highest average home sale price of the three counties. They are also the only county of the three who didn’t see the 40% drop in home values back in 2008-2009. In fact, they are already showing prices a bit higher than 2005 and just a hair below the highest in a decade that occurred in 2007.  The average home sale in Midland is currently around $156,000. Though the number of transactions here was also down somewhat, the rebound in price seems to be enough to make up for the total volume in sales.  There are however, areas of Midland County as a whole that have suffered more than others. Again, like Saginaw and Bay – it is the out-area townships that are having a Days-On-Market (DOM) issue. For instance a home in Lee Township in the $150,000-200,000 price point shows an average DOM of 36 months and over in Edenville Township if your home is over the $300,000 price you may expect a whopping 48 month average DOM! As a whole, I am seeing a lot of “green” on my Midland Stats sheet though – which means an average DOM under 3 months, and that’s great! These DOM’s are an average and don’t take into account if you’re listing with a great agent or just an agent, and trust me it makes a difference! (That’s another blog topic to come – What makes a great agent) All-in-all Midland County, you’re doing pretty well.

BAY COUNTY STATS

I mentioned in my previous entry that covered Saginaw, that looking at Bay County’s long term stats really surprised me.  I think most people believe Bay County to be doing pretty well but looking at the average prices over the last decade shows Bay County to have suffered greatly, and has the slowest rebound in terms of recovering prices.  In 2005 the average home was $140,000. It dropped to just $70,000 in 2009 (yes, 50%!) and has only rebounded to about $92,000 so it has quite a ways to go before getting back to “before the crash” prices. The total volume for Bay County did pick up quite a bit from 2012-2014. 2014 landed right around $95 million in sales volume which is a positive 28% compared to 2008. I’m seeing mostly green in the Bay County Stats as well, which is great! There are only a handful of red areas here, which are all in the higher price points. If you don’t have a home worth more than $300,000 in Pinconning, or more than half a million in the City, you should be just fine.

SUMMARY – All in all, as I will always continue to say, the market can be quite a hilly road on a graph but whether it’s on the downhill or upward trek of the thing – homes are selling. The key is to get the right agent, who will work hard to sell your home and for you to listen to your agent when it comes to their suggestions. A good agent will not advise you to spend a lot of money, but they will have a small list of invaluable items you can do to be sure your home is the one that sells! They’ll also market your home, not just place it on the MLS with a sign in your yard. But here I go on a whole other topic… so til next time – —–

And remember, if you would like a full marketing report or market analysis on your home, please send me a message at moniquegilbert@bhhsmi.com or sign up for Market Watch at http://www.homesofmidmichigan.com