Category Archives: Sellers Articles

Pricing for Max Profit

The asking price you set for your home significantly affects whether you will profit in the sale, how much you will profit and how long your home will sit on the market. Your real estate agent’s knowledge of the overall market and what’s selling (or not selling) will be invaluable in helping you determine the price. The objective is to find a price that the market will bear but won’t leave money on the table.

Here are some points to consider:

Time

Time is not on your side when it comes to real estate. Although many factors influence the outcome, perhaps time is the biggest determinant in whether or not you see a profit and how much you profit. Studies show that the longer a house stays on the market, the less likely it is to sell for the original asking price. Therefore, if your goal is to make money, think about a price that will encourage buyer activity (read: fair market value).

Value vs. Cost

Pricing your home to sell in a timely fashion requires some objectivity. It’s important not to confuse value with cost. In other words, how much you value your home versus what buyers are willing to pay for it are two different variables. Don’t place too much emphasis on home improvements when calculating your price because buyers may not share your same taste. Don’t assume that everyone wants hardwood floors and granite countertops.

Keep it simple

Because time is of the essence, make it easy for the buyers. Remain flexible on when your agent can schedule showings. Also, avoid putting contingencies on the sale. Though a desirable move-in date makes for a smoother transition between homes, it could cause you to lose the sale altogether.

Home Appeal

Much like a first date, you only have 60 seconds to create a winning first impression for your home. Here are some simple yet significant ways to maximize your home’s appeal:

Exterior

  • Keep the grass cut and remove all yard clutter
  • Weed and apply fresh mulch to flower beds
  • Apply fresh paint to wooden fences
  • Tighten and clean all door handles
  • Clean windows inside and out
  • Powerwash home’s exterior
  • Ensure all gutters and downspouts are firmly attached and functioning
  • Paint the front door
  • Buy a new welcome mat
  • Place potted flowers near the front door

 

Interior

  • Evaluate the furniture in each room and remove anything that interrupts “the flow” or makes the room appear smaller. Consider renting a storage unit to move items off-site.
  • Clean and organize cabinets, closets and bookshelves
  • Clean all light fixtures and ceiling fans
  • Shampoo carpets
  • Remove excessive wall hangings and knick-knacks
  • Repair all plumbing leaks, including faucets and drain traps
  • Make minor repairs (torn screens, sticking doors, cracked caulking)
  • Clean or paint walls and ceilings
  • Replace worn cabinet and door knobs
  • Fix or replace discolored grout
  • Replace broken tiles
  • Replace worn countertops

 

Details for showings

  • Turn on all the lights
  • Open all drapes and shutters during the daytime
  • Keep pets secured outdoors
  • Buy new towels for bathrooms
  • Buy new bedding for bedrooms
  • Replace old lamps or lampshades
  • Play quiet background music
  • Light the fireplace or clean out the ashes and light a candelabrum
  • Infuse home with a comforting scent, such as apple spice or vanilla
  • Set the dining room table for a fancy dinner party
  • Vacate the property while it is being shown

A Seller’s Cautionary Guide

Let’s face it. Once your home is on the market, not every potential buyer will know all the rules or be well qualified. But like any business transaction, there is proper protocol to how sellers, buyers and their respective agents should interact. While your agent should be able to remedy any sticky situations, it’s helpful to expect the unexpected.

Aggressive agents

When your agent puts your house on the market, typically all promotional materials state clearly that your agent is the primary contact for buyers and buyers’ agents. However, sometimes a buyer’s agent will contact a seller directly to try to either win over their business or cut the seller’s agent out of the deal. This is not reputable behavior and should be reported to your agent immediately.

Naive buyers

Yard signs, web listings and other advertisements are meant to generate a lot of buzz around your home. So much buzz that some prospective buyers, particularly first-timers, will hop in their car to check it out. If this happens, no matter how nice these unexpected visitors are, it’s best not to entertain them by discussing your home or giving an impromptu tour. Instead, politely tell them your real estate agent is in charge of scheduling tours and provide them with the agent’s contact information. If you attempt to handle these surprise visits on your own, you might inadvertently disclose information that could hurt you during negotiations down the road.

Shameless vendors

Have you ever started a business or moved into a new house and suddenly found your mailbox full of junk mail? Unfortunately, this also can happen when you put your house on the market. When you sell your home, it necessitates all kinds of new purchasing decisions and sneaky vendors are keenly aware of this. Though MLS organizations enforce rules on how posted information is used, some companies have found ways to cull information from various sources to include them in their mass mailing lists. If you find yourself regularly emptying your mailbox of junk, let your agent know. He or she can tap the appropriate sources to prompt an investigation.

Simple Steps to Saving

There is a difference between saving money and saving for your future. And while you may have been taught to pinch pennies your whole life, we’re here to tell you it isn’t entirely about spending less. These seven simple steps will offer a new perspective to saving and put you on the right track.

1. Automate a Savings plan

Once you have a dedicated savings account, put an automatic transfer in place to ensure a steady flow in. Whether it’s having the payroll department at work put a fixed amount into your savings account each paycheck or setting up a fixed transfer from your checking account each month, the goal is to set it and forget it.

2. Create a budget for spending

The key to creating a budget is being honest about your spending habits and having it align with how much money you have coming in. Create a list of all of your necessary expenses (rent, car payment, groceries) including the date they’re due. Having it all in one place will help you draw a mental note and be more conscious of how much you’re spending. And if you need extra help to organize a budget, take advantage of apps on your phone. Some of our favorites are Mint and Qapital.

3. Monitor your credit

Credit can be a great tool in helping you save, but only when used correctly. It’s important to always keep track of your credit card balances and keeping up to date with payments by automating them. There are plenty of websites out there offering free credit reports and credit advice. But if you want to delve deeper into the world of credit and how to manage and utilize it to your advantage, you can get free help and advice from a credit counselor.

 4. Save your windfalls

Surprise money from birthdays, weddings, graduations, tax refunds or work bonuses should go straight to your savings account. Even though it will take a lot of self control not to splurge on that pair of sunglasses you’ve been eyeing for months, you’ll thank yourself later when you see those zeros in your bank account.

5. Save in bulk instead of pinching pennies

Of course buying the generic toothpaste and opting out of the add guacamole option at Chipotle saves money, but refocus your money saving power towards larger buys like skipping out of your annual Euro trip this year or driving your dad’s old truck for a couple more years. What may seem like big sacrifices now will start to make sense and can really supercharge your savings.

6. Work more

Yes, the key to saving is in fact saving but working more and bringing in more money can help speed up the process. This might mean taking on an extra shift each week or maybe just offering to cover for a coworker from time to time. If there aren’t any opportunities for overtime or extra work, take on a part time job or new projects, even if it’s just a few times a month.

7. Replace expensive habits

Saving money doesn’t mean you need to punish yourself. It’s just about being flexible and finding other options. Instead of going to the movies every week, consider signing up for Netflix or instead of eating out, get dolled up and create fancy dinners at home with friends. There are ways to still feel like you’re treating yourself without having to spend more than you really need to.

Location, Location, Location

You’ve heard it before and we’re saying it again now – it’s all about location. Where you buy not only affects the home’s current and future value, but it also affects your lifestyle. Your agent will be able to conduct a more targeted home search if you outline your preferences in neighborhoods and nearby amenities. Here’s a checklist of items you should consider and communicate to your real estate agent.

  • Urban, suburban or rural
  • Commute time
  • School districts
  • Desirable neighborhoods
  • Proximity to the airport
  • Proximity to restaurants and retail
  • Access to major highways and thoroughfares
  • Access to public transportation
  • Health care facilities
  • Parks and recreation
  • Length of time you plan to live in the home

Your agent should be knowledgeable about growth trends and projections in the market and target areas that could potentially affect your investment.