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 For Sale by Owner, real estate, Realtor

Won’t I net more as a For Sale by Owner versus using a Realtor?

When you see a Realtor pose a question about a For Sale by Owner (FSBO) versus Realtor you may naturally assume I’d side with using a Realtor. But you may not know that I am one of the few crazy people who can say, “I love to do research!”. After beginning to design a marketing campaign geared toward assisting FSBO’s; with the hope that they may end up listing with me down the road – I decided to find out the real answer to the above question, “Won’t I net more as a FSBO versus using a Realtor?”. It sounds logical, right? What does the research say? Also as importantly to me, what are the motivating factors that cause people to try selling their own home, aside from believing they will make more profit? And so began my search…..

Statistics showed a resounding “NO” to the title question. You will not make more money selling your home by yourself. Not only that, but FSBO’s take an average of 19 more days to sell. Also when you consider that about 20% of FSBO’s end up listing with an agent, that average lengthens to an extra 68 days. The average difference between what homes sell for with a Realtor and FSBO more than compensates for the brokerage fee. The national average broker fee is $15,000 but the average amount Realtors garner versus FSBO in home price is $40,000. So, statistically speaking, you should be ahead of the game both financially and time-wise by listing with a Real Estate Professional.

While reading through dozens of articles online, I tried first to focus on institutions for the research facts, like the National Association for Realtors and independent entities like Quicken Loans. After that I switched gears and read some blogs and personal testimonials of people who sold or unsuccessfully attempted to sell For Sale By Owner. I wanted to know what their biggest hurdles were in the process and as stated earlier, why they went that route in the first place. Let’s take a look at those hurdles first.

Ever hear of or been a parent who was confused by their 6th grade child’s math homework? I remember being confused when my 2nd grader came home with math and it asked for her to rename the equations. I had no idea what that meant. After being stumped for half an hour I finally called the teacher, feeling like an idiot – only to be told that renaming was what we had called borrowing back in my day. Oh – pretty simple subtraction. So here I am a college graduate twice over, stumped by 2nd grade math. Why? The language. It appears that FSBO sellers biggest hurdle is the paperwork, the language. It’s not because they’re not smart, but unfamiliar. Did you know you can lose out on thousands of dollars just by having your taxes prorated in arrears if you’re in an area that customarily does them in advance? By not being familiar with language in the Purchase Agreement or title work – it could literally cost you big bucks.

How about pricing? As a home-owner it’s not easy to pull up what all the neighborhood homes have sold for. Sold prices are what appraisers and Realtors use to assess your home’s value.  Current list prices don’t necessarily reflect value. If someone isn’t willing to pay it; it isn’t worth it.  Combine the difficulty of finding sold comps and accurately pricing with the fact that only 2% of interested buyers will look at your home if they believe it to be even 10% above Fair Market Value – you could be in trouble. The first three weeks are crucial when selling a home. It is by far the greatest period of activity. If your price isn’t right from the get-go, you are eliminating a huge number of prospects.

I would state that especially in a market like Mid-Michigan; the inability to effectively market a home is the greatest trial of a FSBO. It is true there are more options for marketing now than in the past, but it just isn’t possible to get down all the avenues without having it listed by a Realtor.  When I list a home it goes to more than 1000 websites. Considering that 43% of people first find their home online; that is an important factor. The second biggest way people find homes is directly through a Realtor, 33%. The largest piece of that 43% of people who find homes online first; is marketing done by Realtors.

I’m surely not saying that selling your home yourself is impossible. In some markets, you may have the perfect home in the perfect location and it will fly right out the door. Looking at the cold hard facts though, your Realtor could be worth their weight in gold – – ok, maybe not quite but an average $40K higher is pretty good, plus you don’t have all the headaches. I do want to note that aside from “saving” money, the other biggest reason people list their own homes is because of previous experiences with a bad agent. Yup! They’re out there. I’d like to write a little bit more on that – what’s bad, what’s good, what should you expect? Since I can’t wrap that all up in a two sentence nutshell; I’ll put it in my next post.

If you are currently listing your home FSBO  and are having a hard time, please feel free to message me. I’d be more than happy to help you out, no matter where you are – no pressure, just good advice from years of experience. Have a super awesome day!

Here are a few of the first articles I read. The Public Relations Princess testimonial by Claire was a great insight from a FSBO experience.

http://www.realtor.org/         http://www.quickenloans.com/blog/sale-owner-pros-cons-seller

http://visual.ly/realtors-vs-sale-owners        http://www.realtor.com/advice/why-fsbo-sales-fail/

http://www.publicrelationsprincess.com/2012/07/for-sale-by-owner-vs-hiring-a-realtor-a-true-story.html