Determining The Right Price When Selling Your Home By Yourself

Importance of First Listing Price

When it comes to deciding the selling price of your home, you can never underestimate the importance of the first listing price you project to the buyers.

Generally, as the homeowner, you will always have the general idea of the current worth of your property. However, what we are speaking about here is the listing price you are supposed to quote, which will be one of the driving factors to promote the sale of your home.

In this regard, the first listing price must be as attractive as possible to set a good pace for the selling process. While the industry experts advise of only a few successful strategies regarding this, they are worth looking at.

Fast and low is one winning strategy that can guide you in deciding the first listing price. This means if you are looking to sell off your home as fast as possible, list the property 5% to 15% below the market value after studying the current market trend. This will attract the buyers easily, as they will feel a good deal in it.

This strategy is the best when you do the sale yourself, as while moving through an agent, you are going to pay a huge commission that needs to be considered. For instance, the statistics show that on average, buyers across the country are paying 2.5 percent more than the asking price. But this calculation does not take into account the concession or incentive you are prepared to give to the buyer.

Also, if you have brought down the listing price 15% below the market prices, then the implication is that you are only reducing the price 6% to 7% lesser than what you would end up getting while working through an agent. Therefore, cutting down the holding costs and netting more will work to your advantage.

Though the scenario might differ between regions, this can guide you on how to decide the listing price.

Making the prudent use of the Internet search pricing secret is yet another way to decide on the first listing price.

In order to trick the buyers, most property owners fix the price using more nines to induce a feeling that the property is cheaper. For instance, some might quote the price as $199,900 rather than $200,000 with the intention of letting it sound more attractive.

However, know that the existing Internet searches are not tuned to reach the buyers effectively if you use this nines strategy. To be clearer, the majority of real estate sites employ search parameters that are organized as categorical groups – $175,000 to $200,000, then $200,000 to $250,000, and so on.

Given this trend, if you are quoting the listing price as $199,000, it is likely that your property will reach buyers searching for properties within the $175,000 to $200,000. However, if you quote it as $200,000, then it can figure in searches under both $175,000 to $200,000 and $200,000 to $250,000 categories.

How the Wrong Price Can Hurt Your Sale

Understanding the market and the customer behavior requires a lot of insight into what actually happens in the real estate domain today.

If your first listing price has followed an imprudent decision, it could work against you and act contrary to your beliefs. Therefore, rather than going by what you feel as the working strategy, you need to do research on how things happen in the market. Let us talk about this with an example.

Marking down is one popular strategy that most sellers resort to. We can understand this as follows: it is natural that every owner will want as many dollars as possible over the amount of their property sale. Therefore, most sellers prefer to quote the first listing price considerably higher than the existing market trend so that, by chance, they can end up inviting unwieldy buyers. Subsequently, during the process of negotiation or delay in selling, the seller will keep lowering the price.

Though there is a likelihood of selling the property for more value if the buyer has not acted smartly, this strategy is considered somewhat unsuccessful.

For instance, if the properties are not sold within 30 days of listing, then the buyers might be apprehensive, thinking that there could be something wrong with the property. Also, some buyers tend to think that if you are prepared to lower the price, they can continue bargaining as much as possible to land the best deal.

This strategy might end up hurting you; therefore, it is very important that you fix up the first listing price in line with the market trends to sell your property faster.

Getting a Comparative Market Analysis CMA (Get for Free from the Realtor)

Most home sellers are familiar with the idea of comparative market analysis. This is a popular tool used to ascertain the real value of the property intended for sale. Comparative market analysis, or CMA, is the process of analyzing the sale deals of homes comparable to that of yours in the region. This analysis is a detailed one, taking in every aspect of your home in detail. In the first place, you need to understand that this is not an appraisal.

The value assigned in this process is quite subjective, based on the belief of the realtor as to how much the home can be sold for. This document will never have a financial or legal validity, though it is used predominantly by realtors to win the listings. In fact, several realtors are prepared to give this to you for free.

The principal objective of CMA is to give you a fair idea of fixing up the listing price for your property in line with the market trends so that your deal can be successful.

Depending on your choice, CMA can be conducted by considering a given number of sales, or might take into account properties sold within a few miles.

The CMA focuses on aspects like the physical extent of the property; the number of rooms, bedrooms, bathrooms and other components; key facilities; design; style; the number of floors; construction age; and other construction elements. There are, however, no fixed rules on how to conduct a CMA.

The other features that can be considered include amenities like a swimming pool and fireplace, the location of the property, proximity to landmarks and major roadways, recent improvements made, and so forth.

In a CMA, several useful insights can be gained from recently sold homes, active listings, pending listings, and expired listings. It is not an easy task for the homeowners to secure access to MLS data. Therefore, it is rather improbable to gather data on the recently sold and active listings. However, the Internet and FHFA can facilitate learning more about home sales that happened in your locality.

Some of the most reliable sources to learn about home pricing trends include the Federal Housing Finance Agency, the FNC Residential Price Index, and Real Estate Websites.

When to Raise or Lower

Though you might arrive at a listing price based on the market study and CMA, you might come across some occasions or confusing situations when you might wonder whether you need to raise or lower the listing price.

Here a few things to help you to make the right decision:

In the first place, if you are not capitalized enough, do not be so imprudent as to offer the lowest price on the market.

Giving an indication that your price is competitive does not invite more customers. The industry today is highly competitive. However, it will amount to suicide if you are attempting to match or beat others.

The price really matters, and often, you will need to raise it to project a better image. Firstly, you will never need a justification on why you will increase the price. Therefore, just go for it. When you increase the price, you might often find that it yields better results. If you are afraid to do this, you may bundle up more products and services inside the price cover. Showing some alternative prices to the buyers will enable them to feel the justification for the pricing.

Also, know that selling your home for a lesser price does not end up making your buyer happier. In fact, those who keep nagging at a later stage are those who have paid a lesser price.

If people are convinced that the property they buy is an answer to some of their problems, they do not mind paying something higher. At the same time, use this option judicially so that you do not end up harming the deal yourself.

You must also know when you must lower the prices of the property listed. When there is a plunge in the stock prices, home prices also might drop to rock bottom. Sometimes, what plunged on a single day might take years to recover. Therefore, at times, it might be necessary to endure the falling market in the real estate arena until a balance between supply and demand is realized.

If the market is falling and you are miserable trying to sell your property, then it is a good thing to lower the price and get out of the falling market as soon as possible.

Smart sellers lower the prices during a falling trend and complete the deals quickly before much damage is done.

Prices of properties in newer subdivisions might fall lower than they are worth.

If several neighbors’ properties in the region owe more than what they are worth and are on the verge of foreclosures in the near future, that scenario might affect your property value, too. This is because most such homes can be resold at bargain rates. Under this scenario, you must also think of lowering the price.

Do not get misled by the statistics that project only a modest decline in the sale prices. Several sellers might announce some attractive incentives and credits in order to sell their properties.

Therefore, when the statistics are showing only modest price drops, the sellers might end up netting more than what they would otherwise lose due to the drop. In cases where higher end homes are selling better than starter homes, the median sales prices could mean false readings.

Under such circumstances, the drops in median sales prices reported will understate the degree of downturn. Know that in some localities, it is possible for the median sales price to rise even when the home prices are falling.

When your home price has dropped by about 15 percent and the price of your replacement house have dropped equally, the market is in your favor if you are selling the property in order to trade up. You might even consider lowering the price if your mortgage repayments are actually bleeding and you are losing considerably month after month when the sale is delayed.

Never go by the advice of unethical real estate agents who will buy your listing saying that you have quoted lower than what you could have. Eventually, they might ask you to lower the price once you have paid them for the listing. Also, do not be deluded if the neighbor selling his property is quoting an escalated price.

Your neighbor unrealistically quoting the price of his identical property at $300,000 does not mean your house is also worth that much. Therefore, you need to exercise your discretion to know when you should increase or lower the prices you have quoted.

Upgrades to Consider

Remodeling and home improvements can often help get a better price for your home. Therefore, it is typical to see several homeowners resorting to a series of improvements and refurbishments before listing their properties for sale.

However, this topic needs to be approached cleverly since you must be on the winning side and not on the losing one.

Also, with regard to home improvements, it is worth contracting professionals to do them neatly rather than putting your hands on them and rectifying the mistakes done in the process by hiring someone later.

While embarking on renovations, do not give a play for your personal preferences and tastes; look at the renovations from the point of view of the buyer.

For instance, what you think will be a matter of concern for the buyer might actually be a positive side. Also, what you might think of as impressing your customer might end up ruining the earlier look and feel.

Therefore, be careful about what you are spending on renovation or upgrades. The changes you bring in must be harmonious with the environment without striking a cord of difference.

Upgrades to older homes carry more impact than those of newer homes. Also, the upgrades you intend should match with the rest of the house. The high-end upgrades you intend to do might not give better returns on investment in cases where the homes are not expensive. Therefore, take into account all these aspects before embarking on a renovation or upgrade.

Some of the most impressive kinds of upgrades you can attempt include replacement vinyl siding, bathroom remodel, vinyl replacement windows, kitchen remodel, basement remodel, adding a deck, replacing the roof, installing a steel replacement front door, weather stripping around windows, installing solar energy plants and programmable thermostats, and landscaping.

Closing Process

What Closing When Buying a House Means

Top Things to Keep in Mind Before Finally Signing the Deal

Deciding to buy a house for the first time can prove to be quite a challenge, especially if you are not the kind of person that understands the way that financial transactions go and how the real estate market works.

Here is a short, user-friendly guide to help you find your way through the amount of paperwork required by the insurance, warranty, appraisal, and mortgage statement on the property.

In this section, we also present some of the best tips to follow in order to avoid letting things get out of hand.

Homeowner’s Insurance, One of the First Things to Consider!

Most people don’t give too much thought to the homeowner’s insurance when buying a house.

Big mistake! And that is because there are always things that seem more important and manage to capture your attention before this detail even crosses your mind.

Well, you might get lucky, and all turns out well. Or you won’t, which will be a disaster.

Why?

Because homeowner’s insurance makes a huge difference in case something hazardous happens to your property.

So, before you blindly sign on the dotted line, here are some important things to consider in order to cushion your investment as well as your beautiful future home.

Get price quotes from multiple insurance companies – It is recommended that you contact at least three companies, in order to better compare coverage, price and customer reviews. In some cases, an additional insurance is needed.

It’s important to choose the company that earns your trust, and not necessarily the one that offered the lowest price. A very good thing to remember is that you should not pay for more coverage than you really need.

So, double-check that the level of coverage is adequate to your true needs. Another thing to consider is that most lenders prefer you to escrow your insurance payments with your mortgage payments, so they can be sure their investment is protected.

Before you sign the papers, make sure you understood all the details of your insurance.

In case you still have doubts, don’t hesitate to ask for further clarification.

Here are some tips to help you reduce your homeowner insurance costs:

  • Raise your deductibles.

Careful, if you live in a disaster-prone area, certain kinds of damage might be considered separate deductibles.

  • Do not be afraid to negotiate a discount.

Some companies have a policy that allows them to reduce a certain percent of the final cost.

Home Warranty, One Little Thing that Makes You Sleep Better at Night

If you are a first time home buyer, it might be a smart idea to have a warranty plan, so that you can sleep well at night.

The advice also applies to the experienced real estate owners that just don’t want to have the thought of maintenance and repairs hanging over their heads.

A home warranty is a way of protecting yourself from expensive, unexpected repair bills.  Depending on the local market as well as on the deal, the home warranty can be paid either by the seller or by the buyer.

Most commonly, this warranty is paid by the seller, in order to protect the buyer from having to do any additional, expensive repairs to the house after the deal is closed.

The cost of a home warranty is normally not high, as it fluctuates between $250 and $400, depending on the coverage. The payment must be made one year in advance. On the day of expiry, the home warranty can either be renewed or not.

In case you need to use such a warranty, the procedure is quite simple. When there is a problem, the owner calls the warranty company, which then announces the service provider that will be fixing it.

The provider will always call the owner in order to schedule an appointment and fix the problem. The insurance company will pay the service bill.

The only thing that the owner might have to pay is a small trade service fee. In case the warranty company initially refuses a claim, do not accept no for an answer.

Complain to the real estate agent. He will then have to find a solution by working with the warranty company representative. Be careful when choosing a plan, because there are many existing coverage differences.

Pay attention when reading the fine print relating to the conditions for coverage and the reasons that can make them to be denied. Remember, the secret to getting a good insurance plan rests in knowing all the details.  

Getting an Appraisal and How that Differs from the Evaluation by a Property Inspector

In simple words, a real estate appraiser can be defined as a state-licensed expert who determines the value of a certain property.

When it comes to closing a financial transaction, implying a property, both the seller and the buyer depend on his or her evaluation.

This procedure is meant to protect the buyer, as well as the bank that offers the mortgage loan, from purchasing an overestimated and overpriced piece of real estate.

The property appraisers are not the same as property inspectors.

The difference between an appraiser and an inspector is that the former will only look for obvious issues while the latter only checks, in a more detailed manner, things like the plumbing, or the air conditioning system.

The appraisal report is required by the bank, and the cost is included in the mortgage cost.

The expert evaluates the property using one of these two methods: sale comparison approach, by comparing your home with other similar ones that were sold in the area, or the cost approach, used mainly for new buildings, a method that evaluates the cost of replacing the structure of the home.

If the reports show that the property in overrated, you don’t have to panic. Some maintenance work might convince the appraiser to take a second look.

Otherwise, you can simply ask for a second opinion from a different expert.

Although the evaluation only lasts a few minutes, the final report may be ready within a week or more.

So, don’t expect to get it on the spot.

Closing Statement – Your Rights

According to the law, a real estate transaction is considered closed when a closing statement or settle statement in signed. At this point, the buyer becomes the new owner of the property.

This document must include details about all fees incurred by all the parties involved.

Settlement regulations differ from one state to another. However, two aspects are the same all over the US. One of them is that the buyer has the right to visit the property 24 hours before closing the deal in order to make sure that everything is according to the settlement and any damage noticed beforehand had been fixed by the seller accordingly.

The second thing is that the buyer should receive the settlement statement 24 hours before signing, in order to have adequate time to review and compare it with the Good Faith Estimated for discrepancies.

Different locations have different traditions. It is mostly a custom in most parts of the US that only the buyer is the one who is accompanied by his/her attorney.

The presence of an attorney is necessary because there is literally a mountain of paperwork to be drafted and signed.

Two examples of such documents are the loan estimate and the closing disclosure. When the deal is sealed, you should always receive the front door keys, all the copies that were made, as well as any other keys relating to the property (if that’s the case).

Also, you should know that you will need an entire stack of documents for tax returns, in case you ever choose or need to sell the property.

Prepay Mortgage, is it Worth it?

If possible, you should always know that it is a great idea to prepay your mortgage. By doing so, you can reduce the costs incurred together with interest and save thousands of dollars in the long term.

To prepay the mortgage means that you pay the amount you owe to the lender before due term. In order to do so, it is very important to understand some of the most popular methods of doing so.

Some people decide to pay on a monthly basis a sum of money that is larger than the one that was settled upon.

It has been proven that this method can actually save you a small fortune in the long run. Another way of reducing interest is through the bi-monthly payment system.

This way, instead of 12 payments per year, there will be 13 monthly payments that you will be making to your bank.

Some mortgages have a flexible policy, which basically allows you to make extra payments as you consider fit (and that without restrictions).

In other cases, however, the terms of returning a loan are quite strict and require a penalty for those who are planning on prepaying the mortgage.

These terms would usually be detailed in the prepayment penalty disclosure section of the documents. So, make sure that you examine the documents carefully. This is especially the case when it comes to the fine print. In case you decide to close the payments on the mortgage and the penalty is too high, there is an option called refinance.

But do not take this decision without thinking it through.

Before deciding to refinance your mortgage loan, you should always make sure it is a logical and advantageous long-term financial decision

Unexpected, Little Things that can Mess Up Your Deal

Until the closing statement is signed by both you and the seller, nothing is certain.

The deal might literally fall apart from one day to another. Here is a list of the most common mistakes that may seem insignificant for the buyer at the first glance, but which, for the lender may mean the world.

Be careful with other big purchases while trying to obtain a mortgage.

Do not charge your credit cards with thousands of dollars for unnecessary things.  Buying expensive furniture or opening a new line of credit may threaten the deal as the lender may suspect that you are cutting funds reserved for the real estate payment.

It is highly important to act responsibly and turn in all the required paperwork on time. Make sure you have enough time to review the closing statement and try your best not to be the reason that will make the signing to be delayed. It is also important that any problem mentioned during the inspection is fixed in time.

Some buyers may use this as an excuse to withdraw from going through with the deal. One more detail which doesn’t always seem important, but actually is, regards the money you receive from family or friends.

This kind of income should be cleared with the lender early in the process, in order for the sums not to be considered as further debt. Another way to delay the closure is by changing jobs or switching positions.

These actions are highly questioned, especially if they lead to your main income to no longer being based on a monthly salary, but on commissions or performance bonuses. The fickle, unstable nature of a commission-based income might threaten the deal.

To sum up everything, so far, closing a real estate deal can be a race full of adrenaline. At the same time, it is highly regulated and governed by strict rules.

In case you ever stumble upon unexpected delays and challenges, do not lose hope, eventually, the house will be yours.

Don’t worry, most of the time you will reach the finish line with a smile on your face and a beautiful new home to call your own. So get out there and start searching for the perfect home for you and your loving family. After all, we all know that there is no place like that you can call home.

Marketing Your Home With An Open House

Using an open house in order to further market your home on the market as a marketing tool will ensure that you engage potential buyers, even if no one makes an offer during the viewing.

Oddly enough, there are certain practitioners who believe that open houses are an outdated custom used to placate home sellers.

Promoting Your Open House

The first step to holding an open house, is to properly and effectively promote it well before the date that it’s to be held. Buyers are constantly lurking on the internet for listings, so starting there is a great way to get as many potential buyers to show up as possible.

Using local listings websites for your area, as well as real estate websites, such as REALTOR.com, which you can usually use through your agent, are the best places to start at.

Because the internet is such a powerful marketing tool for just about anything, promoting your open house through it will ensure that you reach buyers through every platform possible, and should be done well.

Take clear, full pictures of both the exterior and interior of your home, write a thorough, honest description, and have your real estate agent check over the entire listing before you post it anywhere. If they recommend any changes or additions, ensure that you do them.

Using Signs Across Town

For the day of the open house, go out for a few hours before its scheduled to start, and plant signs all over town. Depending on your neighborhood, you’re going to need to create your signs to a design that reflects where you live, the home itself, and the type of buyer you are trying to draw in.

For example, if you’re home is located in a high-end neighborhood, and you’re looking to attract high-end buyers, not bargain hunters, then creating and placing signs that are both specialty and company-branded through your real estate agent will be the perfect attraction.

However, should you be looking for bargain hunters, or buyers of middle class, handwritten open house signs will do the trick nicely.

When it comes to gate communities and homeowner associations, you will need to speak with your real estate agent about putting up signs on the day of your open house, as there may be some restrictions for signs that you may not know about.

Even though signs aren’t a newly modern way of promoting your open house, they are still effective if you create them the right way and have proper placement.

Using Facebook to Market Your Open House

Social media is great for listing your home, especially when it comes to Facebook. For example, you could set up a specific Facebook page that is completely catered to your open house.

Add pictures of the exterior, such as the front of the house, the back, your backyard, and your garden, should you have one. For the interior, take full pictures of each room, staircases, front hall, etc. Create a photo album using only the best photos.

Hiring a photographer for this portion of your listing is ideal as well, considering they have everything necessary for great pictures that are clear and beautiful.

For the description portion, make sure that it’s easy to read by separating paragraphs and using clear, concise words with no errors, that you’re perfectly spelling every detail of the house out, and that you go over the description with your real estate agent before you post it, just so he or she can make any necessary changes before it goes live on your Facebook page.

You will also need to add directions, what your home is located near, any interesting buildings or points, etc.

If you have a video camera, or know someone that does if you do not, creating a short teaser video that takes the viewer on a quick tour of your home is also ideal, as well.

This creates somewhat of a virtual open house, but should only be long enough to catch a potential buyer’s eye. If done right, this will attract more attention and curiosity towards your home, so potential buyers will want to come to your open house to see everything else.

For the cover and profile photos, use ones from the shots of the front of your home, but make sure that they are ones you have not posted yet.

Make sure the shots are crystal clear, has the proper lighting, and are both catching and pleasing to the eye, as they will be the first two photos that potential buyers will see when they click on the Facebook page.

Adding Your Open House Listing on REALTOR.com

As previously mentioned earlier, REALTOR.com is a great way to market the selling of your home, as potential buyers are constantly cruising this website for their dream home.

Only your real estate agent has access to the website in regards to creating and posting a home that has gone up for sale, but you, as the seller, can add an open house yourself.

Listed below are bullet points on how to edit your listing and add your open house on REALTOR.com;

In the main menu, click Manage Listings, and click on the address for your listing, then click Edit Listing once the menu appears.

From there, click on Open Houses underneath Showcase Listing Enhancements and enter the information for your open house in the provided fields.

The Additional Comments box allows you to add any other information that you may deem necessary to include, such as directions to your property from the closest major intersection, for example.

Once you are satisfied with everything, click Save, and you will then see your open house date within the Open House section, where you can edit or delete it if you wish to do so.

Always remember to let your real estate agent know whenever you make any changes to any of your listings, which goes the same for your open house listing on your REALTOR.com listing.

 

Adding Your Open House Listing to Zillow.com

Like REALTOR.com, Zillow.com is another real estate tool that is perfect for adding an open house listing. Once your real estate agent has created a listing for your home on the market, and an open house date has been decided and confirmed, you can then create the listing for it, by following the bullet point instructions listed below;

First, look for Edit Listing Info, which will be located at the top of the home page.

Select the button that reads Update for Sale by Agent/Owner, which you will find at the bottom of the page.

Carefully go over and fill in all of the fields given, click Save, and you’re done!

Once again, ensure that your real estate agent goes over the listing for your open house once you have completed it.

Why You Should Never Ignore Craigslist

Even though the majority of real estate agents do not recommend using Craigslist for real estate listings in general, don’t ignore it’s use. Craigslist is one of the oldest websites used for every category of listings under the sun, but make no mistake, it’s still one of the best marketing tools that you can use to your advantage when it comes to marketing your home with an open house.

Craigslist allows its users to create their own headlines for listings, which then allows their real estate agents to pitch homes and properties to all prospective buyers, instead of just listing them.

The headlines that go into listings are extremely important on Craigslist, so ensure that you create one that will immediately catch a potential buyer’s eye, such as, “Open house for a 5 bedroom with ZERO DOWN!”.

Craigslist has also changed the usage of embed clickable links within any listing posted, as well.

Now, when a visitor of the listing wants to click a link provided in a listing, they must copy and paste it into their browser, which engages potential buyers a lot more.

When you go to post a listing on Craigslist, all you have to do is create a catchy headline, input all of the location details, add a couple of pictures, and write a full, clear description within the text box about your open house, and you’re done!

As like before, have your real estate agent check everything over as soon as you’re finished, so you can add or change something right away after it’s been live, so there’s no confusion from potential buyers.

Using Direct Mail for a Successful Open House

While almost everything done in real estate is done online these days in terms of marketing, direct mail is also a great offline way to get the word out about listings and their open houses. Potential buyers surfing the web won’t always see your open house listing, but if you have direct mail sent directly to them, you’ll no doubt have a great turnout for your showing!

While using every online marketing tool in existence has been proven to be effective, incorporating direct mail into your marketing scheme, which has also proven to be highly effective, will give you an edge against the competition.

Creating the perfect direct mail “invitation” to both your listing and your open house is incredibly easy to do, and can be done by taking the following tips within the bullet points listed below into account;

Have a phone number listed, considering some potential buyers prefer personal contact, instead of just speaking to an owner or their real estate agent through emails.

Have a QR code, a Quick Response Code that is scanned via smartphones for quick information, readily available within your direct mail, for potential buyers who like to be able to do everything, or as much as possible, using their smartphones.

Your personal URL, whether it be for your website where your listings are located or anywhere else they can be found, so they do not have to search too hard to find anything.

Your or your real estate agent’s email address, for the potential buyers who like to speak to owners or real estate agents through email, or keep things in writing in general.

To do this, creating real estate postcards are definitely your best bet, and are the best way to grab the attention of potential buyers.

Instead of using mass emails, real estate postcards are physical, get the message and invitation across, and can be crafted with a beautiful design to really reel them in.

Because pieces of mail are typically delivered in an online format to email inboxes, creating real estate postcards for your open house listing ensures that each potential buyer will see them and take your open house into serious account.

The following bullet points listed below describe ways to ensure that your real estate postcards that are to be used for your open house listen will be both clear and effective;

Go with a larger postcard, from the dimensions of 5.5″ x 8.5″ in size, just so it will easily catch potential buyer’s eyes straight away, purely from the size.

Use a bright color that is also easy on the eyes, such as a hot pink or even a baby blue.

Use text that is bolded, large, and easy to read.

Go over the text with your real estate agent in order to have messages that are designed and written to appeal to the specific crowd of potential buyers that you are looking for.

Include some graphics that will really grab the potential buyer’s attention.

Additionally, you are going to want to have your postcards sent out a couple of days before you open house is set to be held.

Check with your local mail carrier to see how long bulk mail will take to be delivered to each address once it has been delivered to the post office, so you and your real estate agent will know exactly how long you will have until you need to send out your open house postcards.

When it comes to keeping the cost down, considering using direct mail can get pretty expensive if you don’t know how to do it properly, there are many things that you can do to ensure that your costs will be reduced, but your open house postcards won’t suffer for it.

Go with a company who specializes in print marketing for real estate, and create your own, unique design with your real estate agent before you upload them to the company to have them crafted and printed for you.

If you have plenty of time before your open house is set, use a bulk mail campaign instead of first class mailing to help keep the overall cost of postage down.

Buy in large, bulk quantities, somewhere between 2500 to approximately 3000, as the majority of print marketing companies will give you a significant discount.

If you have months before your planned open house, then send out around 100 post cards each week to all of the planned addresses.

Do not be afraid to repeat the mailing process to each address, either.

Make Your Open House an Event, Not Just a Selling Point

Your real estate agent should do additional research before you have both decided on the perfect day to hold the open house, just so you both know there will be nothing going on within your local community that could create a conflict with overall attendance.

For example, if there is a festival scheduled for a certain weekend, then you should definitely hold off until it’s over, or wait until there is a weekend with very little going on locally.

Ask your real estate agent if they could send an announcement within an email to every real estate broker and agent within the area, which will include their own private mailing list, to ensure that your open house event is publicized within all open house websites that will maximize overall attendance.

If possible, their influence can be moved to all existing social media platforms, as well.

If there is room in the budget, you could also purchase a targeted advertisement on Facebook a couple of days prior to your open house event for maximum exposure.

After all, social media is extremely important when it comes to real estate in general, and the majority of potential buyers will always look at a listing, even if it’s for an open house, online before they physically go and see the home or the property.

As previously stated, hiring a professional photographer is also a great idea and will make your open house more of an event. They can help you with creating a short, videotaped virtual tour to tease potential buyers into wanting to see more, and will take and edit the perfect photographs of both the interior and the exterior of your home.

Should your real estate agent deem it necessary, they will also help you to stage your home by removing your furniture and bringing in certain pieces, or will help you to move around yours in positions that they feel will open up the space more and look better.

They will help you to set up proper lighting, present the highlights and focal points of each room, make suggestions on the arrangement of existing furniture, should they choose to not bring in any stage furniture, and will overall help you in showing your property at its best.

When it comes to landscaping a few days before your open house event, mow the lawn the day before, freshen up your garden, flowerbeds, and other cosmetic aspects, and ensure that you have a new doormat put in place.

Once the day of the open house event finally arrives, your real estate agent will post directional signs around your neighborhood and at the entry point where your street, circle, block, etc. begins, to ensure that potential buyers will easily find your home.

They will also place a sign out on your front lawn that will be adorned in a way, using brightly colored balloons, for example.

Should the weather call for rain, or if it rained prior to your open house event, ensure that you have a clear sign leading to the front door, or beside the front door, letting all potential buyers know that they must remove their shoes.

Place “footies”, a wrap made out of non-slip material that covers socked feet, underneath the sign for them to put on, instead.

To get a good smell going within the home an hour or two before the event is to begin, boil some lemon slices on the stove, or bake a spoonful of vanilla extract in the oven for about half an hour, while all of the vents in your home remain open. This will help the smell to go throughout the house entirely, making the whole property smell wonderful.

At the same time, you are making sure the house smells wonderful, or just smells clean, ensure that it is clean.

Potential buyers are going to either laugh or be disgusted if they walk into an open house that is a completely messy disaster, and they will most definitely walk out. During the cleaning process, remember to remove all personal items either out of the house, or just completely out of view.

This includes children’s drawings and paintings, family portraits, wedding photographs, etc. You should also remove pets and any litter boxes or pee pads, too.

Open House Safety and Precautions

As a major precaution, do not be alone in the home during your open house. Have your real estate agent, a family member, or a friend with you, even if it’s more than one person.

Always trust your gut instinct, as well. If you hear the little voice in your head saying that something is not right, then get out as fast as you can and alert the authorities of your concern.

To avoid any robbery situations, walk through your home prior to the start of your open house, and put away all prescription drugs, mail, jewelry, any extra sets of keys, financial statements, etc.

Overall, any valuables must be out of sight and out of mind completely, which includes your purse, as well.

As each potential buyer arrives, introduce yourself straight away and direct them to a previously created sign-in sheet, which will give you time to assess their appearance and figure out whether or not they may be a threat to you and not here as a legitimate potential buyer.

Ask your neighbors to come over, or invite any buyers that they know of. Not only is this a safety precaution, but it’s an added marketing trick in disguise. Tell your neighbors that there will be food and drinks, and you’ll definitely have some company.

Because there have been incidents where sellers and real estate agents have been harmed during open house events in the past, it is extremely important that all safety precautions are taken seriously and conducted throughout the entire event. Safety should be your number one priority, and not the sale of your home.

Marketing Your Home With an Open House

By taking all of the above steps listed, you will have no trouble holding a successful open house that will no doubt attract a crowd of potential buyers. Open houses are hard work that takes a lot of preparation, but in the end, they are definitely worth it.

Advertising For Selling Your House By Yourself

These days, the Internet has become the leading medium to sell properties. Statistics show that over 92 percent of today’s homebuyers do an online search to find their dream property.

Being a fast and cost effective medium to bring sellers and buyers together, the huge sale potential offered by the Internet cannot be undervalued.

For Sale by Owner Websites

The great secret of selling your home is that it needs to be posted at a location where it will be found by as many prospective buyers as possible. Take advantage of the sites that are intuitively visited by those looking forward to buying homes.

Make the right and effective use of the popular keywords so that your listing pops up when people look for the features your property has. A number of For Sale by Owner websites are successfully attracting huge numbers of visitors and brokerage companies.

Some such sites also automatically add the listing to other partner sites like Zillow, Yahoo, Redfin, Homefinder, and others. Buying an MLS enhanced package is a great idea while advertising your home for sale since it will also be added to Realtor.com. In fact, this is the avenue that 80 percent of home sellers are using.

Though grabbing the attention of the buyers is not that difficult, it is a tough job to locate the right buyer.

The rule here is that the big number works in the sense that when you drive plenty of attention to your property, you get to know the one person who might buy it.

Once you have decided to sell your house, immediately display a sign in front of it reading “For Sale by Owner.” Make it readable from afar so that those attracted by it can manage to take down the phone number from a distance.

If you also make use of the yard sign from forsalebyowner.com, the prospective buyers will know that they can visit the site to know about your property in depth. They can subsequently contact you through the site. Also, plan to leave a voicemail message when you are not around that says whether your property is still available for purchase or not.

It is also highly useful to display the listing ID of your home wherever possible.

One of the best marketing tools is a professional kind of pamphlet listing the best-selling points of your home. You need to include features like square footage, various rooms and amenities, and additional features like a deck, spa, pool, and so forth. Sites like forsalebyowner.com facilitate converting your adverts into flyers that you can print as needed. Have plenty of hard copies of such templates with you and arrange to hang a brochure box near your sign to place some copies of the brochures in front of your home for those interested to pick up.

Craigslist

This incredibly beneficial free classified website is a great avenue for selling properties yourself. When you are attempting to list your property on this site, prepare a quality description like one that a realtor would print on a flier or MLS database. Consider the top highlights of your home and put a few photographs showcasing those features.

The good thing is that you can put photos on Craigslist for free. You need to relist your advert every day. Since the listing on this website sorts out the most recent ones, you need to ensure that your property shows up every day on top.

The important aspect is to watch the role of the buyers. If you wish, say in your ad, “No real estate agents please.”

If you succeed in selling your property through Craigslist, you would have completed the process without paying huge commissions, which is going to be a great deal.

While making use of Craigslist, keep the fonts and design as simple as possible. Fanciful formatting will distract the buyers. Every buyer is interested in knowing about the property in detail, not the decorative work around your photos.

Highlighting your role always pays, since the owner selling the property himself is highly sought after by the buyers.

Good Pictures

This is the most important part of advertising your home for sale. Since professionally clicked photographs can give a realistic idea of the property to the buyers, they can create a bigger impact than fanciful descriptions and catchy phrases.

You can make use of the recently shot pictures of your home both for flyers and for posting online in the adverts. In the first place, know that the role of a professional photographer is very important in giving you some great looking snapshots. Always arrange to shoot the pictures during daytime, as the effect will be much better.

When it comes to spending on quality photographs of your property, there is no shortcut since it is a major aspect of the adverts that is going to speak to the buyers, creating the much-needed first and best impression.

In this regard, a few good pictures are worth more than several thousand words. Take into account the best time to shoot the pictures based on the direction your home is facing.

Professional Copywriting

The information and description you publish of the property are very important. In this regard, consider what the buyers might look for more than what you think are the highlights.

Make the copywriting well organized. A real estate ad must have about sixteen essential details, including the call to action opening sentence; what makes it unique (like being sold by the owner); property location; bedrooms and baths; square footage; the style of construction (like two-story or ranch); neighborhood description; the features of the living room, kitchen, and dining room; information about the front yard, back yard, and the garage; and finally, the price and contact information.

Following the highlights, the description you are giving must look like you are taking the prospective buyers on a mental tour of the property. Therefore, maintain the logical order of the spatial sense.

Signs and Flyers

Signs and flyers are important aspects of the home selling process, especially when it comes to selling it yourself. Prospective buyers usually tour around the locality where they wish to find their properties, and while doing so, they will be attracted to your property if it carries a “For Sale” sign on it.

The impact that a professional sign can create is huge. Though the reach of a sign cannot match the massive one achieved by an online advert, signs matter a lot. Studies reveal that over 20 percent of profitable home sales are closed with the help of signs.

The components of a yard sign include a frame, a printed panel, and the option to connect a brochure dispenser. Go for a durable steel frame that is powder-coated and good looking.

The printing must be tough enough to withstand the extremities of weather conditions. Ensure that the words are legible and the fonts are good enough to read from afar.

Brochures (or flyers, as we call them) are invaluable aspects of a home sale. While displaying a sign in front of your property, a brochure box containing the printed leaflets is a valuable addition. There are some sturdy kinds of plastic brochure dispensers available on the market that can store hundreds of flyers safe from the weather impact. In fact, you can also print out the templates that are readily given out by the listing sites as an added feature while you make the listing of your property.

Ensure that the design, color scheme, photographs, and property description printed in the flyers are appealing and impressive enough to allure the buyer.

MLS service

To take advantage of the Multiple Listing Service, you may purchase a package that features an MLS listing.

You will receive mail from a broker affiliate within two working days of purchasing describing how to go about the MLS paperwork. Upon completing the paperwork, you must fax it to the broker.

This is also a sign of your willingness to pay the buyer’s agent from 2% to 3% of your property’s sale price. Since posting photos can create a major impact, comply with the instructions of the broker and forward the required number of good photographs.

Once you comply with the initial formalities, the ad of the sale of your property will go live, and you will receive a notification regarding the successful listing of your property. Within 72 hours of getting listed on the MLS, your property will also go live on Realtor.com.

Realtor.com

This is one of the For Sale by Owner websites that enable you with different Web services connected to your property sale.

You may go for combo packs for listing your sale ad on MLS as well. Going by studies, most homes successfully sell through real estate agents who rely on MLS to know about properties for sale. Depending on what kind of services you opt for, the price charged by the website varies.

The topmost package offered by this site includes showing your property for a period of six months, and you need to decide whether this is what you need for the inherent advantages of it.

Tips

When it comes to selling your home, you must not resort to complaining about the downward trend of the real estate market.

You will still be able to do a great job by resorting to some success tips even when selling the home by yourself. Putting a good sign in the front, listing the property online as well as in the local newspaper, and carrying out a direct mailing campaign will all work in your favor if deployed systematically and judiciously.

Therefore, you must always be prepared to do your part to see that your home sells faster and carries an attractive price.

You do not know where you will find the prospective buyer, and it really pays off when you talk about the home sale even to people like the milkman and the vendor girl whom you know locally.

Social Media Use

The potential of the Internet, and especially social media, in connecting with a lot of people has grown phenomenally during the recent years, which can work to your advantage if you are looking forward to using it for running your home selling campaign. In the first place, create an online home base for your property.

Listing your property on one or more FSBO listing sites and then creating MLS can help reach out as many people as possible. Make use of some free blogging sites to upload videos, photos, and descriptions about your property.

Never forget to post your contact information. Once you have your property live on the Internet, you can link the URL to and from your social media accounts.

You may make use of Facebook and Twitter to circulate the message regarding your home sales with the URL.

Once your listing or website is live, you will have a URL that you can link to from your social media accounts.

On Facebook and Twitter, you can pass along news about your home sale, such as the date of an open house or information about an improvement you’ve made to the property, complete with links to your house’s webpage.

After announcing your house for sale, request your friends to like, share, and retweet the information. In this way, you can quickly reach out to as many buyers as possible.

Negotiation Tips

Tactic #1. Use the Middleman

Your attorney’s real estate agent can act as your middleman and negotiate with your seller’s representative.

Using him as a buffer will not only save you time, but it may also provide you with useful information concerning the sellers, their intentions, etc. which the other party will not disclose to you directly.

Tactic #2. Play Good Cop and Bad Cop

Like in all movies, one of the buyers plays a person who is on the seller’s side, while the other one acts as a displeased party.

In this way, you will not be estranged from the seller, and will let him know that you are working on the compromise and are aware of his best interests.

Tactic #3. Wait for the Big Boss

The current tactic is somehow similar to the first one. Some third party (attorney, parents, professional friend of the family) need to see and evaluate the offer and give his or her expertise.

This is a chance to lower the seller’s counter-offer and keep your positions, in addition to the waiting factor, which the seller can naturally perceive as you considering other options.

Tactic #4. Be Curious

Asking questions may reveal some valuable information from the seller and might help you to discover the reason as to why the house is being sold,  which could be your priceless leverage.

Tactic #5. Consider Compromise

If you think that you might lose and fail the whole deal at one point or another, be ready to give away something during the negotiation.

As they say, compromise means that you agreed in the end, but both of you left with a feeling that you backed off.

Tactic #6. Focus on the Ball

Remember your main goal: to get the house.

If you feel that you are stuck in negotiating some minor details, a good decision will be letting them wait till you agree on the major points.

How to Avoid Mistakes During the Negotiation

Matters not, if you are buying a house of your dreams for the first time, or just got carried away in the rush of the negotiation intensity, no one is protected from making mistakes.

#1. Be Nice

No one likes rude people. If you somehow offended your future seller during a house visit, for example, by discussing all necessary renovations and poor taste of the current owners – they probably will not want to sell their beloved house to you personally.

#2. Be Calm

Never express too much interest!

Most of the specialists agree that when sellers see how desperately you want this house to become yours, they do not believe your first offer and they will definitely counter offer.

To avoid this situation, you should always play it cool, no matter how perfect this property appears to you.

#3. Think Like A Seller

Take a different look at this situation – imagine you have to sell this house in two, five or ten years.

Will it be possible, or does it lack some basic features that, during decreasing market situation, will become essential?

#4. Get Help

Saving money on real estate agents and attorneys may cost you thousands if something goes wrong.

Be cautious with extremely cheap services, if they are significantly lower than the average market price in your area, as the lack of the professionalism may cause significant losses in the future, so pick your team carefully.

Also, do not rely solely on yourself, especially if you are going through the house buying process for the first time.

With so much information available online and information that you have, you have all chances to spend all your time researching and analyzing before you can proceed to close the deal.

#5. Do Not Expect the Price to Get Lower After Inspections

Bid lower than you can pay, and make your final offer with the most comfortable price that you can afford.

Repairs after the inspections most likely will not cost the seller millions, so do not keep your hopes high on this account.

Consider any future revealed issue as a possible subject of renegotiating on some points, although be ready to go through with what you have already signed up for.

#6. Sign Cautiously

Make sure you acknowledge all terms and realize all liabilities before you sign any documents.

Once you sign the contract, there is no way to make amendments without renegotiating and signing a new one, which may fail to happen at all.

#7. Calculate All Future Costs

Budgeting is essential during the purchase, as the amount that you pay is not just the price of the house.

Besides payments to the agent and attorney, there are escrow payments, deposit and down payments, the title search and insurance, and many more.

You definitely need to estimate your abilities and decide for yourself, if you can manage it.

What If There Are Multiple Offers?

In a seller’s market, you probably will not be the only one wishing to buy the same house.

Sellers might be considering several offers at the same time and making decisions basing on the best offer that is available to them.

They may also play with one potential buyer, sending him a counter-offer and say no to all the others.

You, as a buyer, will never know although there are main points on how to stand out in the case of the multiple offers.

The best way to protect yourself from failing is to simply make your offer better than what others have made. Usually, your real estate agent will be able to tell if there is a chance for the existence of multiple offers, and you should act accordingly.

At first, receiving a pre-approval for the mortgage will be a good start to becoming the best potential seller’s choice as the statement is issued based on your credit report, bank statements, etc. and it shows your ability to pay for your possible purchase.

Also, let the seller know the financial options that you have: some mortgage conditions and funding programs are more attractive and may influence seller’s decision.

Bid close to his price — there is no much sense in offering significantly less than he wants on a market that is selling.

By doing this, you will save your time on continuous counter-offering process.

It would be helpful to review the contingencies list because the fewer clauses you have there, the more attractive your offer appears to the seller.

However, it is recommended not to remove home inspection, as the seller will not be liable for any uncovered issues with the house, and you will have to pay for the repairs on your own.

Showing your intentions by making a large good faith deposit and down payment usually convinces the owner of  your commitment and may finally tilt the balance towards your proposal.

Negotiating the price is a very stressful period in a house buying process.

You are not sure what the result would be, and exactly how much money you will spend.

In any case, keep in thought that the owner is interested in selling his home, and you are willing to buy it. With a little time and energy, you will be able to do it!

Mobile SMS Hotline

You check your phone 150 times per day.

At least, that’s according to Salesforce: “The average consumer checks their phone 150 times per day and checks a text within 5 seconds.”  – Salesforce.com

Why should you be really interested in this statistic?

Because if you want to reach more buyers and sell more homes, it’s time for you to really step up your game in the texting world.

Today’s consumer demands instant gratification, not only for fast food, but for anything and everything that could be had as quickly as possible. Hence, over the last quarter of a century, we have seen a booming rise in the 24-hour supermarkets, pharmacies, and fast food locations. Next-day or 2-day shipping is expected, and slow Wi-Fi in a café, hotel, or on the plane can cause tempers to flare.

Companies that don’t have websites are subconsciously deemed to be sub-par, and a customer service line that never answers kills business.

Real estate is not exempt.

When potential buyers browse online or drive through a city looking for a new home, who do you think will earn their business? The agents who can provide them with the most valuable information in the shortest amount of time. How can you become one of these agents?

Text-messaging services are available to enable you to connect more quickly and efficiently with potential buyers.

Here’s how they work.

Ditch the old, bring in the new

While the traditional “for sale” sign lists your name and number, there is a new and better way to show off your listings. By telling the potential buyer to text a specific code to the number provided or to scan the QR code right from the sign, you can give them all of the details about the property that they would want to know. While there on the curb, they can see the house on the outside while viewing more information and pictures of the inside.

Choices, choices

People love options. When buyers have these options laid out in front of them with the opportunity to view the information on their phone by scanning the QR code, to wait for the reply from the text, or to call a toll-free number listed on the sign to hear recorded details, it fills them with confidence in you as a professional and in the quality of product you have to show them.

If they didn’t have choices, they would not have any experience to help keep that house at the front of their minds.

Speedy delivery

If you use a text-messaging service like Smart Lead Capture, you can not only provide the QR code, texting option, or toll-free number to call, but you can even meet the potential buyers in person in a matter of minutes.

How?

When more information is requested via text, you as the realtor will get a text alert with the number of the potential buyer. You can then call and offer to meet the client at that time or schedule a future appointment.

The sooner you show the home, the sooner you can make the sale.

More people use mobile sites to access information than ever before. Doesn’t it just make sense to meet them where they’re at – on their phones? According to Pew Research Center, nine out of ten people in the United States own a cell phone. That’s almost everyone, and definitely almost everyone with real buying power. Do you see the beauty in this?

Traditionally, potential buyers have had to call the number listed on the sign and speak to a live person. Some people might not have time for this or might just want to avoid speaking to a live agent altogether until they have received enough information to further their interest. You know how it is.

You walk into a store to buy a new suit or a pair of shoes, and suddenly you’re surrounded by employees asking how they can help. It’s a bit overwhelming if you haven’t yet had the opportunity to see what they have to offer.

However, salespeople who give you a couple of minutes to browse before approaching you are more likely to connect with you because you’ve had the chance to warm up.

Why would it be different with a home you are selling? Once potential buyers have expressed interest in receiving more information, they can receive it digitally and have time to warm up by reading it over.

It’s a better overall way of delivering information right to their fingertips. Even if you were to use the option to call them within minutes, they’re still on the receiving end and the pressure of proactively calling a live agent has been removed.

You might say that it’s unnecessary to use a text-messaging service because your CRM has a feature to handle this side of things. That’s great.

Are you using it?

If your CRM provides the option for you to send automated information in response to text messages in addition to keeping all other records, this is a great bonus that you cannot miss out on. Get started now.

Imagine a world where technology didn’t know what a text message was. Imagine a time in which realtors had to spend countless hours and dollars placing ads in every paper and local listings pamphlet in the area, then wait for the phone to ring. Some of you don’t have to imagine, because you were there.

Look at how far we’ve come as an industry. With the ability to list your clients’ homes online via your website or other social media accounts, you can reach a much broader market than a quarter of a century ago. You can attract buyers from out of the area. You can provide details and pictures. You can let buyers schedule appointments through your online calendar. You can even provide them with instant access to information right from their mobile phones which they carry around in their pockets.

Yes, we’ve come very far, but it’s up to you to take advantage of this great opportunity of text-messaging services as the next best way to stay ahead of the crowd.At least, that’s according to Salesforce: “The average consumer checks their phone 150 times per day and checks a text within 5 seconds.”  – Salesforce.com

Why should you be really interested in this statistic?

Because if you want to reach more buyers and sell more homes, it’s time for you to really step up your game in the texting world.

Today’s consumer demands instant gratification, not only for fast food, but for anything and everything that could be had as quickly as possible. Hence, over the last quarter of a century, we have seen a booming rise in the 24-hour supermarkets, pharmacies, and fast food locations. Next-day or 2-day shipping is expected, and slow Wi-Fi in a café, hotel, or on the plane can cause tempers to flare.

Companies that don’t have websites are subconsciously deemed to be sub-par, and a customer service line that never answers kills business.

Real estate is not exempt.

When potential buyers browse online or drive through a city looking for a new home, who do you think will earn their business? The agents who can provide them with the most valuable information in the shortest amount of time. How can you become one of these agents?

Text-messaging services are available to enable you to connect more quickly and efficiently with potential buyers.

Here’s how they work.

Ditch the old, bring in the new

While the traditional “for sale” sign lists your name and number, there is a new and better way to show off your listings. By telling the potential buyer to text a specific code to the number provided or to scan the QR code right from the sign, you can give them all of the details about the property that they would want to know. While there on the curb, they can see the house on the outside while viewing more information and pictures of the inside.

Choices, choices

People love options. When buyers have these options laid out in front of them with the opportunity to view the information on their phone by scanning the QR code, to wait for the reply from the text, or to call a toll-free number listed on the sign to hear recorded details, it fills them with confidence in you as a professional and in the quality of product you have to show them.

If they didn’t have choices, they would not have any experience to help keep that house at the front of their minds.

Speedy delivery

If you use a text-messaging service like Smart Lead Capture, you can not only provide the QR code, texting option, or toll-free number to call, but you can even meet the potential buyers in person in a matter of minutes.

How?

When more information is requested via text, you as the realtor will get a text alert with the number of the potential buyer. You can then call and offer to meet the client at that time or schedule a future appointment.

The sooner you show the home, the sooner you can make the sale.

More people use mobile sites to access information than ever before. Doesn’t it just make sense to meet them where they’re at – on their phones? According to Pew Research Center, nine out of ten people in the United States own a cell phone. That’s almost everyone, and definitely almost everyone with real buying power. Do you see the beauty in this?

Traditionally, potential buyers have had to call the number listed on the sign and speak to a live person. Some people might not have time for this or might just want to avoid speaking to a live agent altogether until they have received enough information to further their interest. You know how it is.

You walk into a store to buy a new suit or a pair of shoes, and suddenly you’re surrounded by employees asking how they can help. It’s a bit overwhelming if you haven’t yet had the opportunity to see what they have to offer.

However, salespeople who give you a couple of minutes to browse before approaching you are more likely to connect with you because you’ve had the chance to warm up.

Why would it be different with a home you are selling? Once potential buyers have expressed interest in receiving more information, they can receive it digitally and have time to warm up by reading it over.

It’s a better overall way of delivering information right to their fingertips. Even if you were to use the option to call them within minutes, they’re still on the receiving end and the pressure of proactively calling a live agent has been removed.

You might say that it’s unnecessary to use a text-messaging service because your CRM has a feature to handle this side of things. That’s great.

Are you using it?

If your CRM provides the option for you to send automated information in response to text messages in addition to keeping all other records, this is a great bonus that you cannot miss out on. Get started now.

Imagine a world where technology didn’t know what a text message was. Imagine a time in which realtors had to spend countless hours and dollars placing ads in every paper and local listings pamphlet in the area, then wait for the phone to ring. Some of you don’t have to imagine, because you were there.

Look at how far we’ve come as an industry. With the ability to list your clients’ homes online via your website or other social media accounts, you can reach a much broader market than a quarter of a century ago. You can attract buyers from out of the area. You can provide details and pictures. You can let buyers schedule appointments through your online calendar. You can even provide them with instant access to information right from their mobile phones which they carry around in their pockets.

Yes, we’ve come very far, but it’s up to you to take advantage of this great opportunity of text-messaging services as the next best way to stay ahead of the crowd.

The Preparation and Steps To Negotiating Your Home (Screening Buyers)

If your house is currently on the market, you will have to do a lot of preparation to sell your home.

When it comes to negotiation, however, this is when you really need to get down to business.

This part is extremely important; negotiating with prospective buyers is the time where you will be weeding out those who aren’t serious so that you can make your final decision on a specific buyer.

This is the time where you need to sit down and figure out how serious a buyer is. You will have to ask a ton of questions to determine how serious they are, and whether or not them purchasing your home will benefit you in the end.

Pre-Qualifying the Buyers

During this time, negotiations must be made, and asking the following questions will ensure that you get the information that you will need to select the proper buyer:

Are you currently working with a real estate agent?

If the buyer is working with an agent, this will let you know that legwork and paperwork can be done for you, or at least some of it, and that you might be expected to pay for a commission for said agent.

How long have you been looking at homes?

If the buyer has just started looking for a home, move on. This means that they are probably just “window shopping” and will continue to look at other homes besides yours. However, if they have been looking for quite some time, they will typically make a commitment right away, whereas buyers who have just started looking will not.

It’s always better to go with a buyer who has been looking for quite some time. They have already seen what’s out there and, chances are, they have already looked at their options.

Have you already been pre-qualified by a lender?

This part could be a question or a statement.

Try stating, “If you are interested in purchasing my home, I would like for you to become pre-qualified before you make an offer.” Asking or stating this will show you just how serious this buyer is. You will also be able to determine whether or not they will be qualified to purchase the home from you.

If not, tread carefully, as you will need to mark that down within the contract.

If the buyer is not qualified, it’s best to scratch them out of the equation completely. You do not want to get involved with a legal process that ties your home up. This will prevent you from showing any other potential buyers if this specific buyer is not qualified.

Ultimately, they may not even be able to purchase the home from you, which is why it’s best to stay away from these people entirely as soon as you know.

Have you already sold your home, or do you still need to do so?

This is an extremely important question because it will give you a general timeframe for how long you have to move into a new home. If they are currently in the middle of selling their home, ask them if their home is under contract, as well.

Once you find the right house for you, when are you planning on moving in?

Don’t be surprised if they cannot give you a straight answer right away. However, if they blow this question off completely, you may want to look at other buyers.

If this particular buyer says “Within the next couple of months,” or “Within a year at the very least,” they are motivated to purchase a new home. If they simply say, “I’m/we’re not sure,” then you’re better off looking at a different buyer.

This is also the same for if they say, “Maybe seven months or so,” or something along those lines.

Starting the Negotiation Process

During the negotiation process, you will have a lot to do. You will need to have certain things prepared, numbers to go over, and a lot more to deal with.

The Initial Preparation

The first step during the negotiation process is one of the most important ones; get your home as clean as possible and in first class condition. If you have to hire professional cleaners because you do not have the time or the energy to do it yourself, even better. This also includes making any repairs that need to be completed, just so the buyer cannot raise any significant objections to you.

Remember: the warranty of the home will go a long way when it comes to overcoming any objections.

When it comes to your asking price, research some facts on local and recent sales for support and have them on hand during this process. Some buyers may question whether your asking price is fair or not. You will be able to back your price up by showing them the facts. This should be done during the process when you first start selling your home, but it makes no difference if you do it now.

If you have had your house appraised before you put it on the market, get the documents with the appraisal ready. Do not feel ashamed if you have your asking price above the appraisal you received if you are in a strong market. If you are in a weak market, keep your asking price at the appraisal that you received. If applicable, prepare all the items that the appraiser missed (if you feel that they have missed any) and use your appraisal to sell the benefits and features of your home.

Speak with the buyer about their pressures and motivations, but whatever you do, do not speak to them about your own. Instead, say something along the lines of, “We’re looking to buy a smaller/larger property once our property has been sold.”

It’s always a good idea to practice the presentation you plan on giving, as well as getting yourself ready to handle the buyer’s tactics, considering they’re always inevitable.

In most cases, you are going to be a lot more prepared than the buyer’s agent, who probably has not done any research on your property. Therefore, he or she will try to go with weak generalities, while you have the specifics.

Always remember that you need to be prepared to walk away. You are the boss in this case because you are selling your home. If the offer is unacceptable and they refuse to budge, it’s their loss, not yours. You can always find another buyer.

Buyer’s Negotiation Tactics – Be Ready for Them!

This part is always inevitable, and it will drive you up the wall. Therefore, you’re going to need to be ready to deal with it and be as ready as you can. Smile, speak slowly, and have a sense of humor; you’re going to need it. Look out for the following tactics, and make sure you’re ready for them:

  • The Higher Authority Negotiator – This tactic includes bringing in a third party to review the contract or see the home and put their two cents in.
  • Nibblers (Non-Stop Negotiators) – The best way to avoid this type is to clearly document and spell out every fine detail, hold your ground, and never fold on anything.
  • Bad/Good Guy – The best way to avoid this situation is to set one appointment for both sides, and don’t negotiate anything until all parties are present so you’re not hit from both sides at opposite times.
  • The Trial Balloon – This type will assess your position without any clues or reason, so combat them with questions, such as, “If I were to finance the house myself, what offer would you make me?” Only take a response from the buyer.
  • Would You Take…” – Avoiding this type is easy. All you have to do is ask for all offers in writing, and they will more often than not back off.
  • The Guilt Trip – If a buyer decides to back you into a corner and guilt trip you (some will try and tell you about how hard it’s been for them financially and that they’d really appreciate it if you could lower your asking price), stand your ground.
    There are many different buyer’s tactics that buyers will try and use to manipulate you or back you into a corner.

While most buyers will work with you and generally won’t put up much of a fight, there are some who will try and take you down. Do not let a buyer run you into the dirt and ask you to lower your selling price to an absurd amount.

There are plenty of other buyers out there who will make you an offer that’s within a reasonable limit, or take your asking price without a fight.

Don’t be afraid to tell a buyer who is stressing you to the point of tearing your hair out to hit the road. You don’t need them – they need you.

Handling Counteroffers and Multiple Offers

If you receive a counteroffer, don’t let it sit; deal with it as soon as you can.

Keep in mind that if you take too long, such as more than two or three days, the buyer will most likely withdraw it and go elsewhere.

If you receive a counteroffer, follow the steps listed below:

  • Always reply in writing, so it’s documented, and take the time you need to go over it fully.
  • Find out the buyer’s financial situation when it comes to their approval with a financial institution, and the amount. Finding out whether or not they have an ongoing loan is also a good idea, as well.
  • If the buyer is using an agent, contact them to find out whether or not they know about the counteroffer.
    If you are receiving multiple offers on your home, remember to breathe and take time to go through them, especially if you have received more than one.

Compare each offer and remove the ones from the pile that you are not fond of or are unacceptable.

Remember, you are the boss in this situation, and you have total control over who you turn down and how.

Always take the time to clear your head, and get every offer in documented, written form.

Preparing for, and Surviving, the Negotiation Process

There is absolutely no shame in being slow and steady when it comes to the negotiation process. After all, this is the biggest step when selling your home, so you absolutely must be sure that you are doing everything right.

Don’t be afraid to ask the buyer all the tough questions that pop into your head, stand your ground when it comes to your appraisal and asking price, don’t let buyers negotiate you to the point of you pulling your hair out and caving, and always keep everything in written form and document it all.

You are the boss when it comes to the negotiations over your home. If a buyer tries to guilt trip you into lowering your asking price to an absurd amount because of their financial problems, for example, stand your ground and keep your head level as much as possible.

If you find that you are struggling to the point of being too stressed out, or are backed into a corner by a buyer, there is no shame in telling them to hit the road, or asking for help from a real estate agent. They can give you advice on what to do, and can even take over the negotiation process for you completely. Standing your ground is the most important part, and sometimes bringing in help from a second party will be necessary.

Best Ways To Organize Your Move

We all dream of buying our own place. But investing in a property and owning a beautiful house is just the first step in making it the home of your dreams.

Because, no matter how beautiful, a house remains just a house without people giving it a warm and lively atmosphere. Buying a home is the first step that one requires to take so as realize a lifelong ambition.

Now it’s time to consider the next step, to make it truly yours by moving in and giving it your personal touch.

Moving into your new, amazing home can be one of the happiest and exciting moments of your life. It is the end of a chapter and the start of a whole new amazing part of your life that you will experience.

However, if not done properly, moving houses can also be an endless source of stress and frustration.

That is why we are going to focus, below, on all the best, most efficient and clever ways to organize a perfect move, the move that you will later want to remember and refer to.

#1. Best Tips and Tricks for an Easy Move

Packing all your belongings in boxes and moving them around can be tough. We’ve all been there. Chances are we all have had unforgettable moves as well as dreadful moments.

In order to help you avoid that, we’ve made a comprehensive list containing some of the most important things you should consider when moving. We have also included some of the best tips and tricks to help you build a great moving strategy.

First, make a list. Before starting the moving process, stop and give yourself time to imagine how your new home will look like.

That is also a great moment to make a list of all the unnecessary objects. Your cozy home might be hiding quite a number of items that you’ve been waiting to get rid of.

There might also be some that are simply not worth the trouble of being packed, transported and unpacked at the new location. Use this moment to think about this and make a list of everything that needs to go.

Remember, some charities are willing to come and collect, free of charge, all the things that you are willing to donate.

If your list might end up including things that you may not want to move with, but are too valuable to just give away, start selling them on eBay a few weeks before the moving happens.

This might go so well that you might even be able to fund part of your moving costs out of it!

Second, make a plan. A smart and well thought of strategy might save you time, effort, frustration or even a future meltdown, as well as all the misery that comes with it.

In order to do that, use smart ways to take some of the weight off your shoulders. Try backing up all the data that you have on your computer in an external hard drive, or, even better, in a cloud service program.

Knowing that your computer information is securely backed up can be pretty relieving.

Third, pack like a pro. There is no limit as to how good you can pack because there is no such thing as an overly good packing; especially if you are faced with an interstate move.

Here are the inner tips and tricks that can make our lives easier when moving comes knocking at our doors:

  • Use press and seal.
    It’s also a brilliant idea to buy a roll of stretch wrap. It protects your valuables from being scratched and battered during transportation.
  • Vacuum seal out-of-season clothing. You might also want to pack them in boxes and suitcases.
  • Wheeled suitcases are a perfect choice for the transportation of heavy stuff like books.
  • Defrost your refrigerator 24 hours before the move.
  • Hire a sitter for your kids/pets, so that you don’t have to worry about them.
  • Consider buying insurance to cover any accidents that might occur during the move.

Review and plow the market for the best options for relocation coverage through insurance. Remember that the services of some professional moving companies come with insurance.

The truth is, many accidents can happen when moving from one home to another. And that is why you would want your objects to be insured. Online insurance can be bought as fast as in 10 minutes if you are already decided on what you need.

Consider buying insurance and offer yourself a worry-free move. You deserve it!

Start with the Easiest and the Most Important, Sensitive Stuff

Make sure you start packing by arranging together the most sensitive and important stuff.

These aspects include identification documents, property documents or sensitive financial information as well as jewelry, electronics, and your personal computer.

All of these objects need to be specially packed and cared for. All important documents should be stored in a fire-proof box, under lock and key. That box should always be under your care and placed in your personal car during the move.

Try a deposit box for your nice and neatly packed jewelry. There is always the option of pressing and sealing the jewelry drawer/board as it is and placing it in your personal car.

If your computer is a laptop, take it with you in your overnight bag! If not, label its cords carefully and store it separately in a safe corner.

It might be the last thing to pack and the first to unpack at the new home.

Easy labeling systems make success stories – in this case, a good labeling system is more helpful than a personal assistant.

The best way to go in order to organize the boxes in the best way during a move is to employ a hybrid system between a color label system (assign each room a color) and a list comprising of all the objects that go into each colored, numbered box.

This way, when you want something you don’t need to search for it forever, but go straight to the point, with a little help from your genius master list.

Stay organized with the help of a colorful, multi-purpose binder.

The binder should include: your master list, the information from the moving company, your checkbook, and all your current bills, stamps, and memory sticks.

It should also have computer data backup devices, as well as some medical information if you are suffering from any chronic health issue. For long distances, the binder might also include information about your pets and their vaccinations.

This binder should stay safely with you throughout the move. Make sure you don’t lose it from your sight.

Always pack a box of essentials. There is nothing more frustrating than getting to your new home and then starting to search through tens of boxes in order to scrape up the essentials that you may need right away.

So, in order to avoid this little set-back, plan in advance and fully pack a smart box with the most basic but essential stuff.

This box will safely and happily get you through your first day/night in your new home. The most appropriate choice for the essentials box is a clear plastic bean with a lid.

That will also make it stand out and help you easily differentiate it from all the rest of the boxes lying around everywhere.

A few of the things that you might include in the essentials box are: a few dishes, towels, sheets, kettle, coffee press, phone charger, hair drier, toilet paper, light bulbs, one or two rolls of trash bags, paper towels and the much-needed tools and box cutters.

You might also want to prepare a movie to watch as well as some snacks to enjoy at the end of a busy but rewarding day.

Don’t forget to complete the box of essentials with an overnight bag, clothes for changing, your laptop and some sealed (it’s very important that they are sealed!) small bottles of shampoo and shower gel.

The essentials box and the overnight bag will get you through the first day and night without any problems, even if you feel too exhausted to unpack anything straight after the move.

#2. Moving Out of the State or Changing the City of Residence

Moving to a different part of the town that you live in is something, but having to move to a different city or a different state even is a whole new ball game.

Moving over long distances can bring along a whole new set of challenges for one.

Make sure you that get the best transportation/moving day – The thing with our off town and out-of-state moves is that it is expensive and will require a detailed, extensive planning.

With intrastate moves costing an average of $2000 – $3000, and interstate moves averaging $7000 – $8000, you definitely need to consider all your moving options carefully (including whether or not you might want to drive or ship off your car in advance).

We recommend that you get at least 3 to 4 bids from different moving companies before you decide with whom to work with. That will ensure that you get a fair price and maybe even a good deal out of it.

The first thing to consider while analyzing these bids is verifying that the movers you want to work with are legit and up to date with all the required insurance and approvals.

The primary thing that you want to validate is the unique number that your mover got from the US Department of Transportation as well as the registration, which should not be older than 2 years.

Other things to have in mind and inquire about are the motor-vehicle and liability insurances, as well as the workers’ compensation plan in case of an accident. Most of the moving companies that are serious have this information already listed on their websites.

If not, don’t shy away from giving them a call. It is important to settle all these details and get them out of the way before the big day arrives. Don’t forget to book well in advance!

Consider the right transportation option for you.

The truck size matters. It is imperative that you pick out the right transportation for your impending change of houses. While the objects from a one-bedroom apartment might just fit a 16′ cubic meter truck, the content of a fully furnished 3-bedroom house might require up to 2 or 3 trips of a 26′ truck.

Make sure that you spare yourself a lot of grief and get the right size for your moving truck, especially if you are faced with a long distance move.

Movers usually give you a delivery spread of 1 to 14 days – that means that it might take literally up to two weeks for them to deliver your stuffs.

And the same time-track usually applies to your shipped car. In order to successfully make it during the period, make sure that you prepare in advance as to how to make your car arrive before you do. You might also want to check if your moving company is sub-leasing your contracts with movers from a different state.

If so, that puts your objects and boxes in that much of a risk. Make sure insurance covers everything.

On the day of the move, double check that you have all the contact information regarding the mover in a handy place.

Make sure that all is up and running and ready for your arrival at your new home -we know it is highly improbable that you can travel across the state to verify that all is ready for your arrival.

However, there are some things you can do remotely to make sure that your move in the new house will go smoothly.

One example is moving your utilities and home services.

The importance of a checklist. The checklist is one of the most important things. A good checklist is like a user-friendly, clear map of the road ahead. It can tell you what to do and when to do it.

It will help you organize all the aspects of the move before it starts and keep it organized during the move itself. The importance of following a checklist lies in the fact that it puts thoughts in order, and it enables people to put any unnecessary worry aside.

Take pictures to ensure you recover your deposit.

Take clear, good quality pictures of your old empty and cleaned house right before you leave. Do the same thing in the new home that you are moving into, right after you arrive. These pictures might help you to ensure that you are recovering your deposits.

The deposit is usually an important sum money during the period of a big move. Considering how expensive your move might get, the deposit might help you round up your savings and pay for everything.

#3. Movers or Friends? Should We Hire a Mover or Not?

One of the questions that we all ask ourselves when moving is, should we hire movers or should we call our friends and try to do it ourselves?

Moving with friends is fun, and cheap, there is no question about it. You get to have food, drinks and laughs together while doing all the hard work. However, they are not professionals.

If something breaks, it will come out of your own pocket. In that aspect, if you have numerous high-value, fragile objects, you might want to hire professionals to do the job, as they often also come with insurance attached to their services. Making sure your valuables stay in one place might actually mean that the movers pay for themselves.

If you do decide to hire movers, be very careful as to the fine print and conditions of the contract that you are signing.

Many movers might not want to be responsible for precious electronic devices like wide, flat screen TVs if they are not properly packed and sealed in their original boxes (the separate packing of these items might cost you extra money).

Some companies might also have it stipulated in the conditions that they only move boxes and not bags, so be careful what you sign and how you prepare for it!

It is true however, that nothing saves you time and frustration the way a full-service moving company can, which means that hiring movers ought to be based on how much of your time, patience, and effort that you are willing to put into the move, as well as to the number of valuables to be packed and transported.

Moving can either be something fun, exciting and amazing or the bane of your existence.

Learn from others’ experiences and put the above tips to good use. Enjoy making your new house into the best home for you and your family by organizing the best move ever. After all, there is nothing that compares to home, and even more so, the first, loving days that are spent there.

Marketing Your Home With An Open House

Marketing Your Home with an Open House
POSTED 27 JUNE 2016

Using an open house in order to further market your home on the market as a marketing tool will ensure that you engage potential buyers, even if no one makes an offer during the viewing.

Oddly enough, there are certain practitioners who believe that open houses are an outdated custom used to placate home sellers.

Promoting Your Open House

The first step to holding an open house, is to properly and effectively promote it well before the date that it’s to be held. Buyers are constantly lurking on the internet for listings, so starting there is a great way to get as many potential buyers to show up as possible.

Using local listings websites for your area, as well as real estate websites, such as REALTOR.com, which you can usually use through your agent, are the best places to start at.

Because the internet is such a powerful marketing tool for just about anything, promoting your open house through it will ensure that you reach buyers through every platform possible, and should be done well.

Take clear, full pictures of both the exterior and interior of your home, write a thorough, honest description, and have your real estate agent check over the entire listing before you post it anywhere. If they recommend any changes or additions, ensure that you do them.

Using Signs Across Town

For the day of the open house, go out for a few hours before its scheduled to start, and plant signs all over town. Depending on your neighborhood, you’re going to need to create your signs to a design that reflects where you live, the home itself, and the type of buyer you are trying to draw in.

For example, if you’re home is located in a high-end neighborhood, and you’re looking to attract high-end buyers, not bargain hunters, then creating and placing signs that are both specialty and company-branded through your real estate agent will be the perfect attraction.

However, should you be looking for bargain hunters, or buyers of middle class, handwritten open house signs will do the trick nicely.

When it comes to gate communities and homeowner associations, you will need to speak with your real estate agent about putting up signs on the day of your open house, as there may be some restrictions for signs that you may not know about.

Even though signs aren’t a newly modern way of promoting your open house, they are still effective if you create them the right way and have proper placement.

Using Facebook to Market Your Open House

Social media is great for listing your home, especially when it comes to Facebook. For example, you could set up a specific Facebook page that is completely catered to your open house.

Add pictures of the exterior, such as the front of the house, the back, your backyard, and your garden, should you have one. For the interior, take full pictures of each room, staircases, front hall, etc. Create a photo album using only the best photos.

Hiring a photographer for this portion of your listing is ideal as well, considering they have everything necessary for great pictures that are clear and beautiful.

For the description portion, make sure that it’s easy to read by separating paragraphs and using clear, concise words with no errors, that you’re perfectly spelling every detail of the house out, and that you go over the description with your real estate agent before you post it, just so he or she can make any necessary changes before it goes live on your Facebook page.

You will also need to add directions, what your home is located near, any interesting buildings or points, etc.

If you have a video camera, or know someone that does if you do not, creating a short teaser video that takes the viewer on a quick tour of your home is also ideal, as well.

This creates somewhat of a virtual open house, but should only be long enough to catch a potential buyer’s eye. If done right, this will attract more attention and curiosity towards your home, so potential buyers will want to come to your open house to see everything else.

For the cover and profile photos, use ones from the shots of the front of your home, but make sure that they are ones you have not posted yet.

Make sure the shots are crystal clear, has the proper lighting, and are both catching and pleasing to the eye, as they will be the first two photos that potential buyers will see when they click on the Facebook page.

Adding Your Open House Listing on REALTOR.com

As previously mentioned earlier, REALTOR.com is a great way to market the selling of your home, as potential buyers are constantly cruising this website for their dream home.

Only your real estate agent has access to the website in regards to creating and posting a home that has gone up for sale, but you, as the seller, can add an open house yourself.

Listed below are bullet points on how to edit your listing and add your open house on REALTOR.com;

In the main menu, click Manage Listings, and click on the address for your listing, then click Edit Listing once the menu appears.

From there, click on Open Houses underneath Showcase Listing Enhancements and enter the information for your open house in the provided fields.

The Additional Comments box allows you to add any other information that you may deem necessary to include, such as directions to your property from the closest major intersection, for example.

Once you are satisfied with everything, click Save, and you will then see your open house date within the Open House section, where you can edit or delete it if you wish to do so.

Always remember to let your real estate agent know whenever you make any changes to any of your listings, which goes the same for your open house listing on your REALTOR.com listing.

Adding Your Open House Listing to Zillow.com

Like REALTOR.com, Zillow.com is another real estate tool that is perfect for adding an open house listing. Once your real estate agent has created a listing for your home on the market, and an open house date has been decided and confirmed, you can then create the listing for it, by following the bullet point instructions listed below;

First, look for Edit Listing Info, which will be located at the top of the home page.

Select the button that reads Update for Sale by Agent/Owner, which you will find at the bottom of the page.

Carefully go over and fill in all of the fields given, click Save, and you’re done!

Once again, ensure that your real estate agent goes over the listing for your open house once you have completed it.

Why You Should Never Ignore Craigslist

Even though the majority of real estate agents do not recommend using Craigslist for real estate listings in general, don’t ignore it’s use. Craigslist is one of the oldest websites used for every category of listings under the sun, but make no mistake, it’s still one of the best marketing tools that you can use to your advantage when it comes to marketing your home with an open house.

Craigslist allows its users to create their own headlines for listings, which then allows their real estate agents to pitch homes and properties to all prospective buyers, instead of just listing them.

The headlines that go into listings are extremely important on Craigslist, so ensure that you create one that will immediately catch a potential buyer’s eye, such as, “Open house for a 5 bedroom with ZERO DOWN!”.

Craigslist has also changed the usage of embed clickable links within any listing posted, as well.

Now, when a visitor of the listing wants to click a link provided in a listing, they must copy and paste it into their browser, which engages potential buyers a lot more.

When you go to post a listing on Craigslist, all you have to do is create a catchy headline, input all of the location details, add a couple of pictures, and write a full, clear description within the text box about your open house, and you’re done!

As like before, have your real estate agent check everything over as soon as you’re finished, so you can add or change something right away after it’s been live, so there’s no confusion from potential buyers.

Using Direct Mail for a Successful Open House

While almost everything done in real estate is done online these days in terms of marketing, direct mail is also a great offline way to get the word out about listings and their open houses. Potential buyers surfing the web won’t always see your open house listing, but if you have direct mail sent directly to them, you’ll no doubt have a great turnout for your showing!

While using every online marketing tool in existence has been proven to be effective, incorporating direct mail into your marketing scheme, which has also proven to be highly effective, will give you an edge against the competition.

Creating the perfect direct mail “invitation” to both your listing and your open house is incredibly easy to do, and can be done by taking the following tips within the bullet points listed below into account;

Have a phone number listed, considering some potential buyers prefer personal contact, instead of just speaking to an owner or their real estate agent through emails.

Have a QR code, a Quick Response Code that is scanned via smartphones for quick information, readily available within your direct mail, for potential buyers who like to be able to do everything, or as much as possible, using their smartphones.

Your personal URL, whether it be for your website where your listings are located or anywhere else they can be found, so they do not have to search too hard to find anything.

Your or your real estate agent’s email address, for the potential buyers who like to speak to owners or real estate agents through email, or keep things in writing in general.

To do this, creating real estate postcards are definitely your best bet, and are the best way to grab the attention of potential buyers.

Instead of using mass emails, real estate postcards are physical, get the message and invitation across, and can be crafted with a beautiful design to really reel them in.

Because pieces of mail are typically delivered in an online format to email inboxes, creating real estate postcards for your open house listing ensures that each potential buyer will see them and take your open house into serious account.

The following bullet points listed below describe ways to ensure that your real estate postcards that are to be used for your open house listen will be both clear and effective;

Go with a larger postcard, from the dimensions of 5.5″ x 8.5″ in size, just so it will easily catch potential buyer’s eyes straight away, purely from the size.

Use a bright color that is also easy on the eyes, such as a hot pink or even a baby blue.

Use text that is bolded, large, and easy to read.

Go over the text with your real estate agent in order to have messages that are designed and written to appeal to the specific crowd of potential buyers that you are looking for.

Include some graphics that will really grab the potential buyer’s attention.

Additionally, you are going to want to have your postcards sent out a couple of days before you open house is set to be held.

Check with your local mail carrier to see how long bulk mail will take to be delivered to each address once it has been delivered to the post office, so you and your real estate agent will know exactly how long you will have until you need to send out your open house postcards.

When it comes to keeping the cost down, considering using direct mail can get pretty expensive if you don’t know how to do it properly, there are many things that you can do to ensure that your costs will be reduced, but your open house postcards won’t suffer for it.

Go with a company who specializes in print marketing for real estate, and create your own, unique design with your real estate agent before you upload them to the company to have them crafted and printed for you.

If you have plenty of time before your open house is set, use a bulk mail campaign instead of first class mailing to help keep the overall cost of postage down.

Buy in large, bulk quantities, somewhere between 2500 to approximately 3000, as the majority of print marketing companies will give you a significant discount.

If you have months before your planned open house, then send out around 100 post cards each week to all of the planned addresses.

Do not be afraid to repeat the mailing process to each address, either.

Make Your Open House an Event, Not Just a Selling Point

Your real estate agent should do additional research before you have both decided on the perfect day to hold the open house, just so you both know there will be nothing going on within your local community that could create a conflict with overall attendance.

For example, if there is a festival scheduled for a certain weekend, then you should definitely hold off until it’s over, or wait until there is a weekend with very little going on locally.

Ask your real estate agent if they could send an announcement within an email to every real estate broker and agent within the area, which will include their own private mailing list, to ensure that your open house event is publicized within all open house websites that will maximize overall attendance.

If possible, their influence can be moved to all existing social media platforms, as well.

If there is room in the budget, you could also purchase a targeted advertisement on Facebook a couple of days prior to your open house event for maximum exposure.

After all, social media is extremely important when it comes to real estate in general, and the majority of potential buyers will always look at a listing, even if it’s for an open house, online before they physically go and see the home or the property.

As previously stated, hiring a professional photographer is also a great idea and will make your open house more of an event. They can help you with creating a short, videotaped virtual tour to tease potential buyers into wanting to see more, and will take and edit the perfect photographs of both the interior and the exterior of your home.

Should your real estate agent deem it necessary, they will also help you to stage your home by removing your furniture and bringing in certain pieces, or will help you to move around yours in positions that they feel will open up the space more and look better.

They will help you to set up proper lighting, present the highlights and focal points of each room, make suggestions on the arrangement of existing furniture, should they choose to not bring in any stage furniture, and will overall help you in showing your property at its best.

When it comes to landscaping a few days before your open house event, mow the lawn the day before, freshen up your garden, flowerbeds, and other cosmetic aspects, and ensure that you have a new doormat put in place.

Once the day of the open house event finally arrives, your real estate agent will post directional signs around your neighborhood and at the entry point where your street, circle, block, etc. begins, to ensure that potential buyers will easily find your home.

They will also place a sign out on your front lawn that will be adorned in a way, using brightly colored balloons, for example.

Should the weather call for rain, or if it rained prior to your open house event, ensure that you have a clear sign leading to the front door, or beside the front door, letting all potential buyers know that they must remove their shoes.

Place “footies”, a wrap made out of non-slip material that covers socked feet, underneath the sign for them to put on, instead.

To get a good smell going within the home an hour or two before the event is to begin, boil some lemon slices on the stove, or bake a spoonful of vanilla extract in the oven for about half an hour, while all of the vents in your home remain open. This will help the smell to go throughout the house entirely, making the whole property smell wonderful.

At the same time, you are making sure the house smells wonderful, or just smells clean, ensure that it is clean.

Potential buyers are going to either laugh or be disgusted if they walk into an open house that is a completely messy disaster, and they will most definitely walk out. During the cleaning process, remember to remove all personal items either out of the house, or just completely out of view.

This includes children’s drawings and paintings, family portraits, wedding photographs, etc. You should also remove pets and any litter boxes or pee pads, too.

Open House Safety and Precautions

As a major precaution, do not be alone in the home during your open house. Have your real estate agent, a family member, or a friend with you, even if it’s more than one person.

Always trust your gut instinct, as well. If you hear the little voice in your head saying that something is not right, then get out as fast as you can and alert the authorities of your concern.

To avoid any robbery situations, walk through your home prior to the start of your open house, and put away all prescription drugs, mail, jewelry, any extra sets of keys, financial statements, etc.

Overall, any valuables must be out of sight and out of mind completely, which includes your purse, as well.

As each potential buyer arrives, introduce yourself straight away and direct them to a previously created sign-in sheet, which will give you time to assess their appearance and figure out whether or not they may be a threat to you and not here as a legitimate potential buyer.

Ask your neighbors to come over, or invite any buyers that they know of. Not only is this a safety precaution, but it’s an added marketing trick in disguise. Tell your neighbors that there will be food and drinks, and you’ll definitely have some company.

Because there have been incidents where sellers and real estate agents have been harmed during open house events in the past, it is extremely important that all safety precautions are taken seriously and conducted throughout the entire event. Safety should be your number one priority, and not the sale of your home.

Marketing Your Home With an Open House

By taking all of the above steps listed, you will have no trouble holding a successful open house that will no doubt attract a crowd of potential buyers. Open houses are hard work that takes a lot of preparation, but in the end, they are definitely worth it.

Welcome to 2016!

It’s a New Year full of new resolutions here at RedStone Mortgage! With 2015 being our most successful year to date, we would be remiss if we didn’t take a moment to personally thank all of our clients, partners, family and friends who made it all possible. Along with our incredible growth, 2015 also brought about a lot of change for RedStone Mortgage; from our new location, to our growing staff, to record production — we could not be more thankful for the new partnerships, new friendships and new opportunities.

Moving into first quarter 2016, we could not be more excited. As a team we spent a lot of time planning what we hope to accomplish over the next year, both personally and professionally. What this means for RedStone is a lot of great ideas coming to fruition.

Here is a quick highlight of some of our goals:

Featured Blogger: In addition to our weekly blog posts we are excited to implement a monthly Featured Blogger. This guest blogger will be an industry expert and discuss industry news and or hot topics.

Networking Happy Hour: Last year we continued our tradition of a monthly Networking Happy Hour. 2015 brought us a brand new location at The Living Room in Chandler, Arizona. This location gives us the space and ambiance we were previously missing. In addition we hope to grow our Happy Hours in 2016 by adding local business owners from around the valley. By making our event more inclusive we can give attendees the opportunity to network beyond their industry. This fun and casual event is the perfect place to make new connections.

Video Room- Now Open! Our video recording room is now available for reservation, which includes camera, lighting and green screen equipment. It can be utilized for listing videos, video profiles, or other video needs. For more information email Olivia@RedStoneMTG.com.

Lunch & Learn: Throughout 2016, we are excited to host several ‘For Realtor Lunch & Learns.’ These events will include valuable information and training on industry specific hot topics, business development, marketing, personal growth, leadership and more. What’s more, have a few guest speakers on the calendar who are sure to add incredible value to your day-to-day business objectives.

We guarantee 2016 will bring a lot more exciting content and events, and encourage you to stay tuned for more details.

For the most up-to-date information be sure to connect with our online community. You can find us on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+ by searching RedStone Mortgage.