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.

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

Posted in bay city, midland, real estate, saginaw

Answering My Biggest Question: How’s the market??

It never fails when I meet someone new, the word Realtor pops up, the same question pops out! “How’s the market?” Everyone seems to want to know – whether they’re 25 or 75 the real estate market has an impact on their lives. Maybe they’re thinking of buying, or most likely they want to know if they have positive equity in their home and what it might be. I remember reading an article a few years back that stated some staggering statistic that 85% of people between the ages of 30-55 who’d bought a home in the last ten years were upside down in their mortgage. That’s pretty crazy! So I guess the How’s the Market question is pretty important. Let’s see what my experience and statistics are saying about the Mid-Michigan Area.

Mid-Michigan is made up of three counties, and they vary pretty drastically so I’ll address them separately. Saginaw County is where I reside, but I’m a member of all three area boards.  Of Bay, Midland, and Saginaw, we definitely hold the reputation for the lowest priced homes here in Saginaw. You can find all kinds of properties in the City limits for under $20,000; 127 to be exact. But what did surprise me is that statistically, Saginaw’s mean average has recovered a lot more than Bay County since the crash in home values back in 2008-2009. The average Saginaw County home back in 2005 was $107,073 and it fell to an average low in 2008 of just $64,143- a 40% drop. Keep in mind, that is an average for the county, which holds some “shining stars” as far as real estate prices are concerned, like Frankenmuth and Freeland. The average in the city of Saginaw at that time was around $13,000! The good news is that after the initial two years of prices in the depths of despair, we are crawling up and out! We rounded out 2014 with an average sales price of $91,985. That’s some good progress. The question is not just about sales price however, but about number of transactions. The last two years, 2013-2014 showed less homes sold than did 2012. So, we are finding that transaction #’s are down slightly, but sales volume is up. This is great news for people who are waiting to sell their home. Just in case you’re wondering the best months to sell in Saginaw are April-August, with August actually being number one in transactions – which busts the bubble of believers who think spring is the only good time in real estate. That means it is time to get your home on the market.

Statistics aside, I can tell you this: I have sold more real estate in the 1st quarter 2015 than I did annually 2009-2012! Granted I’ve been really working to grow my business, but I’m hearing it from lots of agents; “I’m crazy busy! The phones are ringing!”. I am excited to see what our stats show for 1st quarter when they come out next week.  Reality is, things are selling and prices are slowly rising, and our inventory is low. Good, nice, clean homes of all price ranges are in short supply. It’s a great time to sell and it’s a great time to buy. Interest rates are low, there are a lot of lending options, and I know of a really great agent who’s looking for both buyers and sellers!

I’ll share soon about Midland and Bay Counties. If you would like more specific market information for your location, please don’t hesitate to let me know. I have breakdowns for every township – some rebounding swiftly, others a bit more slowly. Regardless of where you’re at though, if you’ve a home to sell; it can be sold using great marketing and implementing tips about what’s most important to buyers.

Have a great day! (Despite the crazy snow we can’t seem to shake even toward the end of April!)