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What Young Homebuyers Are Looking For

 

These days, if you want to sell your home, you’re probably going to sell to a Millennial, or even scarier, a Generation Yer. It’s not all bad though. A lot of these younger people have solid financial backing, either from their parents or well-paying jobs, giving them the money to buy your home at a price you’ll like. But in order for them to spend their hard-earned money on your home, you’ve got to pique their interests. If only there were a way to figure out what young home buyers want. What if there was a content writer in that same age group with a lot of insight into what people his age are looking for in homes? Wouldn’t that be something? All right, fine, I’ll tell you. But we young people are pretty simple to figure out.

What young home buyers want is a home that requires little to no additional work. At this point in our lives, we’re young professionals who are more concerned with the financial benefits of homeownership and having space for our dogs to run around than fixing up a home and making it uniquely ours. Now, of course, every now and then you’ll run into that charming young couple that wants to invest their sweat equity and personal touch into a property. But the majority of us just want a nice house that we can move into without worrying about a leaky ceiling or doors that don’t shut all the way.

I don’t love pigeonholing young people like this, but it’s the truth. If I wanted to provide a nuanced account of what every type of Millennial/Gen Yer wants in a home, I’d write a book. But I’m a Millennial so this blog post will do just fine. Here’s what young home buyers want in their homes.

1. UPDATED KITCHEN AND BATHROOMS

If there’s one thing that young people don’t want, it’s a home that looks and feels old. We love a modern, upscale, and classy look, but we’re also more budget-conscious than previous generations. When you walk through a home, there are two places that are dead giveaways as to whether the house feels modern or outdated. The kitchen and the bathroom. Nothing turns off young people like old looking bathrooms and kitchens. Why? Well for one, they don’t look like how we envision our dream home looking. They aren’t sleek and modern—they remind you of your grandmother’s house. And who wants to live in their grandma’s house at age 26?

Secondly, when a bathroom or kitchen looks old and outdated, that just means we’re going to have to pay to get them renovated eventually, which is a big red flag for a group of people who want to do as little work and save as much money as possible while moving into a new home. The best way to make a home more appealing to young home buyers is to have bathrooms and kitchens that give off that modern, upscale vibe—and don’t scare them off with thoughts of pricey remodels.

2. SMART HOMES

This is an era of new and exciting technology, and what young home buyers want is a home that reflects that. We already talked about modern-style homes, but what’s more modern than a home with smart technology? Smart home features have impacted the real estate industry significantly over the past few years, and they’ve become a must-have when targeting young home buyers. Some of the more popular smart home features for young home buyers include automated or voice devices that control lighting, appliances, heating systems, garage doors, etc. For a generation that lives on their phones just as much as we do in our homes, it’s important to us to have the ability to retain control of what’s going on in our homes while we’re away.

3. ENERGY EFFICIENCY

You may not be able to tell from the first two points, but we young people aren’t shallow. We have principles. We care about things other than ourselves. One of the main things we look for when we’re buying a home is energy efficiency because we’re trying our hardest to save money— the environment! Seriously though, for whatever reason, energy-efficient windows and appliances can go a long way in making your home more attractive to young home buyers. Being conscious about saving money and the environment is part of the versatility and efficiency that makes our generation so special.

4. LAUNDRY ROOMS

This may come as a surprise, but one of the biggest features we Millennials can’t do without is a laundry room. It sounds silly, but we truly value having a space to wash, dry, and fold clothes without messing up our living spaces. Not to mention, nobody—and I mean nobody—likes the laundromat. If you don’t have a laundry room and would like to add one, a basement is usually the easiest and cheapest place to put it coming in at about $1,000. If you don’t have a basement, a laundry room or laundry closet (just fits a washer and dryer) can cost from $5,000 to $10,000 to install. Don’t have a basement or a laundry room? Don’t sweat it. There are plenty of other ways for you to tailor your home to what young home buyers want.

5. LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION

When a young person buys a home, they’re not just buying the house itself, they’re buying into the community around it as well. This is where we’re going to be doing our living, shopping, running, and potentially raising families. When you think about it like that, a good location goes a long way. That being said, there’s not much you can do if you’re selling your home and your community doesn’t have much going for it. That just means you may have to switch your target. If you’re out in a rural area, you may not want to target younger buyers because we like being closer to cities. If your home is in a good neighborhood with cool bars and nice restaurants within walking distance, be sure to include that in your home listing. Selling your home is about playing to your strengths! Do that and you’ll be golden no matter whom you’re targeting.

6. HARDWOOD FLOORS

Aside from their aesthetic appeal, hardwood floors are just really convenient when it comes to maintenance. Not only is hardwood flooring easy to clean and maintain, but it also lasts longer than carpeting. When you add in the fact that a lot of young homeowners have pets, hardwood floors are the perfect counter to the messes that our furry friends love to make. Installing hardwood floors isn’t the cheapest home improvement project but it may be worth the investment as it can bring in young home buyers in droves.

7. OUTDOOR SPACE

Speaking of pets, we’re dying to have outdoor space for our pets to stretch their legs and run around. After years of apartment living, those guys deserve the chance to have their own domain. Even if we don’t have pets, Millennials are social beings. We want space to barbecue with friends or simply kick back and relax by ourselves. If you’re looking to draw young home buyers to your home, creating an outdoor haven should be near the top of your list. The vast majority of Millennials will pay more for a home with a nice outdoor space than one without.

8. HOME OFFICE

One of the best inventions of my lifetime (up there with legendary technology like the iPhone, the internet, and sliced bread) is working from home. Did you know that more than 8 million Americans work from home? And all signs point to that trend continuing its upward trajectory. That means a home office is high on the list for a lot of young home buyers who have put their days of sitting in rush hour traffic behind them.

9. LOW MAINTENANCE

A majority of what young home buyers want really boils down to making things as simple as possible for them. Convenience is the name of the game for young home buyers. We want homes that look fancy and upscale, but without having to put too much effort into keeping it up. We’d rather spend our weekends relaxing than repairing a roof or replacing old windows. Call it lazy if you want, but I call it smart. We’re willing to pay more for a home that’s ready to move into without having to go through the stress and effort of repairs and replacements. So if you’re looking to sell your home to a young buyer, it’s important that you stress a low cost of maintenance.

10. OPEN FLOOR PLAN

Gone are the days of formal dining rooms and rooms with defined purposes. Open floor plans have been all the rage for a while now, and the Millennial generation has caught on. An open floor plan gives us the versatility to convert different spaces based on our needs. We’re looking for large open spaces in kitchens, living rooms, and family rooms that we can use for multiple purposes. We also love to entertain, so we want a home where guests can flow freely through the house during gatherings rather than being sectioned off in different rooms.

11. STORAGE SPACE

This just in: Millennials have a lot of stuff. Do we need all of it? No, but we’d like to keep all of it anyway. That’s why storage space is so high on so many of our lists. Be it walk-in closets, a spacious garage, or a pantry, we really just need a place to keep all our stuff nice and neat. We’re used to tiny apartments and the backs of chairs doubling as clothes hangers. Give us the space we need!

Original post written by Khari Pressley

 

3 Ways For Homebuyers to Qualify a Realtor Online

If you’re looking to buy or sell a home, you’re likely researching potential real estate agents online. With all of the different review sites out there, the hunt can be an overwhelming one. Do you know what to look for? Here are just a few of our expert tips.

Google Reviews

We should start this section off by saying – take all online reviews with a grain of salt. Don’t toss a possible Realtor to the side just because they have a couple of negative reviews or if they don’t have any online reviews at all. Not all stellar real estate agents will have a slew of online referrals. Likewise, don’t base your choice 100 percent off of these online reviews.

Instead, use Google Reviews as a starting point in your research and then follow-up with over-the-phone or in-person questions. You should also learn how to spot fake online reviews. In Google Reviews, check the profile of the reviewer to confirm that they’re active on the platform. Read through some of the other reviews that they’ve left to ensure that they’re not just using templated cut-and-paste feedback.

Zillow

The first thing you’ll see when you land on a Realtor’s Zillow page is their star-rating and the number of sales they’ve finalized in the last 12 months. While these metrics are important in qualifying a Realtor online, they only scratch the surface. Dive a little deeper and read their professional bio.

Take a look at their Listing & Sales map. Where are the majority of their “sold” dots located? Do they cover the area you’re considering? Moving down to the “Recent Reviews” section, note just how “recent” the latest entry is. If there is a good mix of dates in those client reviews, then it’s likely the agent is active and fast-moving.

The Realtor’s Website & Social Media Channels

This may seem like an obvious way to qualify realtors online, but there are a few things you should look for that you may not have considered yet. Number one, is it obvious that the real estate agent is an expert in your desired neighborhood or the neighborhood in which you’re selling?

Do they have a track record of selling the style of home that matches yours? And, do they have an active community on social media that is engaging with their content or asking questions about the homes that they’re listing? You can also learn a lot about a potential Realtor by reading any industry-related articles they’re featured in or blog posts that they’ve published.

Before we wrap up this blog post, we just want to reiterate one more time: Just because a Realtor has stellar online reviews, doesn’t mean they’re the best match for you. We recommend using your online search to narrow down a list of 3 to 5 real estate agents and then scheduling a call to see if one is a match. And, of course, your loan advisor is always a great resource for referring top Realtors in your area!

What kind of questions do you have about finding and working with a real estate agent? Ask them in the comments below and we may just turn your questions into a future Realtor Q&A!

How To Stage Your Master Bedroom For A Faster Sell

Having a properly staged master bedroom can make your house extra attractive to potential buyers. It should feel like a sanctuary – a relaxing refuge from the workday. Let’s quickly cover the basic steps to a well-staged master bedroom.

Cleanup & Streamline: It should go without saying, but here’s a friendly reminder to cleanup all messes before any homebuyers stop by for a viewing. Get rid of scattered items like purses or laundry and make sure the space smells fresh. Declutter surfaces like nightstands, organize random electronic devices and consider storing your large exercise equipment. You want potential buyers to be able to picture their life in the space, not be overwhelmed by yours.

Give It A Cosmetic Refresh: Go over the walls with a fresh coat of paint (stick to neutrals or earthy tones). Because the bed is typically a focal point, approach the styling of it like a work of art. Make sure all coverings are coordinated or matching. Choose pillows and throw blankets wisely. They should add an eye-catching design element to the bed’s overall look, but not completely takeover the space. Also, hanging a large mirror in your room will create the illusion of a larger space. Keep all design gender neutral.

Aim For Upscale: When staging a master bedroom to sell your home, go for the gold. Meaning, make the space look plush and luxurious. Add a few pieces of tasteful art on the wall – even if they’re rented or borrowed. It’ll project an air of refinement. Avoid kitsch or eccentric art. Your goal is to make it look upscale but not over-the-top.

Check The Ambiance: Pay particular attention to how windows and lighting affect the vibe of your master bedroom. Natural light is very appealing, so definitely show off any related features (like a skylight!) to emphasize the element. Hang simple drapes that match carpeting and bedding. Keep them open when potential buyers come for a walk-through. Overly bright or too-dark master bedrooms are off-putting. If your master bedroom looks out onto a nice view, you’ll want to show that off, too.

Add Some Greenery: Place a live, potted plant somewhere in the master bedroom – like a flower on the dresser or a small tree in a corner. Fresh floral arrangements add a nice touch, especially if colors are coordinated to the rest of the room. Popular plants like mother-in-law’s tongue or bamboo palm can add a soothing, spa-like quality that emphasizes the room’s true purpose, which is to act as a retreat from everyday life.

Are you you in the process of selling your house and looking for a new home? Let RedStone Mortgage assist you in finding loan options that meet your individual needs. Call us at 480-759-1500.

Selling Your Home? Here Are 4 Secrets To Total Curb Appeal

When it comes to selling a home, curb appeal can make or break your prospects. Having a beautiful home inside and out sets you up for a more successful sale – it can do wonders for your list price and decrease the amount of time your home sits on the market. Before listing your home, make sure it features the following:

A Welcoming Walkway

Think of it as the ambassador to your home. The pathway, landing and front door of your walkway should all blend together in a single, cohesive aesthetic. Have a straight path for your walkway? Jazz it up with flower pots.

If it’s winding, draw people in with curious boulders and interesting trees or plants in bright colors. Wooden walkways offer a unique touch – cedar, redwood, cypress and teak are particularly durable and weather-resistant. Word to the wise: Whatever you do, keep the overall design simple and organized.

A Front Door That Stands Out

For a major dose of curb appeal, consider painting your front door in a vibrant hue. A bit of contrast goes a long way. For example, homes that are white or gray pop with red doors because the tone adds a bit of mystery to its overall look.

Besides donning a fresh coat of paint, you’ll want to make sure the door is spruced up with polished knobs and fixtures, and that any parts that need replacing are swapped out before you begin showing the home. Small touches like this can go a long way when it comes to curb appeal.

A Manicured Lawn

Trust us when we say, a home’s landscaping makes all the difference! If your lawn is withering with dead grass or overgrown shrubs, it’s likely buyers will skip your listing altogether in their initial search. Make sure your lawn is a beautiful complement to the rest of your home. On a related note, you don’t want the lawn to seem too high-maintenance. Go for something that is appealing, but efficient and easy to maintain.

We also recommend adding a simple garden around the perimeter of your home or somewhere in the backyard. Flowers really brighten up a space and make people feel happy when touring your home – and an emotional connection to the property is huge with buyers. Finally, stay away from lawn ornaments. It’s a very subjective, personal-style thing and when showing your home, it’s best to have it look like a clean slate.

A Well-Maintained Roof

Before listing your home, it’s a good idea to hire a professional who can inspect your roof and recommend any needed cosmetic or structural repairs. Check for holes, leaks, damages or any shingles or tiles that need to be replaced. Savvy buyers know to have a home inspected before closing, so it’s best you get this step out of the way at the beginning. It will save you a headache in the long run.

Are you you in the process of selling your house and looking for a new home? Let RedStone Mortgage assist you in finding loan options that meet your individual needs. Call us at 480-759-1500.

Staging Furniture

Let’s talk about furniture. Since the purpose of staging your house is to create a neutral and comfortable place that any buyer would want to call home, it is much easier to stage a home that you will not be living in.

Whether you’re staying or moving out, hiring a pro or doing it yourself, here are some helpful guidelines to help you create the best impression on buyers:

  • Take it all into account. Step back and look at your furniture with the eye of a stranger who doesn’t attach any value to it.

Grab a notepad and pen, and then step outside to clear your mind.

Then, entering through the front door, slowly walk through the house like an inspector and take note of any piece of furniture that you think would do better elsewhere in the house or completely out of the house.

Take action and remove all of the furniture that you think needs to go.

A professional stager could do all of this for you, but even if you are not doing the staging yourself and hiring a pro instead, it’s good to get a head start on clearing the house.

  • Find the focal points. Visit each room with the intention of finding the strong points.
  • Is it the large closet, the extra space near the bedroom window, the impressive master bath and Jacuzzi, the built-in shelves in the basement, the lighting on the staircase?

Take note of all of these with ideas of how to make them stand out.

Even go out to the patio or deck to add that to your list.

A pro will be able to spot many strong points, but will also want your advice on what you consider to be the focal points, so doing this is never a waste of time.

  • Prepare the props. You have taken note of all of the furniture that you are willing to keep, and have sent unwanted furniture on its merry way.

Now, if you’re leaving it up to a staging pro, this is where he or she will really take over.

However, if doing it yourself, follow your notes. What remaining furniture do you have that you can use in each of the separate focal areas?

Will you need to purchase or rent any more to create the effect that you’re working towards?

You can purchase cardboard furniture to dress up like real furniture, or you can rent the pieces that you need.

Whichever way you go, make sure that your list covers the entire house, even the deck and garage. You don’t want any rooms to be empty.

  • Set the scene. Stage actors have an important rule that they must put into practice during every performance: never turn your back to the crowd.

This is the same for staging a home, particularly for the furniture that you put into place to draw attention to a focal point.

If you don’t concentrate on drawing the potential buyer’s’ eyes towards the strong points that you have mapped out, their experience will be like watching a stage production with a blindfold, or even worse, with a row of super tall audience members blocking your view when you know you could be seeing so much more.

If your focal point is the extra-large window with a view, maybe place a colorful plant on either side or put a small table underneath it with a splash of color from a plant or decorative object to quickly move the eyes there.

Avoid blocking the view at all costs, and even make sure to use minimal, if any, window coverings so as to truly impress.

What about that cozy extra nook in the dining room or living room?

Create a warm impression with two comfortable arm chairs and a small table, or even an inviting window seat with an ottoman.

Do you have any chairs on your patio or deck?

Create a casual and relaxing look with a few patio chairs and even a small fire pit.

  • Don’t forget the color! When talking about furniture, the importance of color cannot be emphasized enough.
  • Research has proven that certain colors and light release endorphins, and if this means that your potential buyers will get a mood boost in your home, it’s a plus for you and your sale.

Of course, you want to avoid the extremes of coupling a bright red chair with a hot pink pillow, but you want to make sure that you have a few items of color in every staged scene.

Whether this is the furniture itself or complementary accessories such as pillows, lamps, vases, fruit, rugs, plants, or flowers, the color or lack thereof could make or break the scene.

  • Show time. You have your props in order and have set the stage, now it’s time to open the curtain to show off your production.

If you have been careful to pay attention to the details and have everything in its place, your show will be a hit.

The potential buyers will walk through the house or look at your pictures online with a sense of enjoyment and leave with a great impression, even if they decide that the house is not for them.

It’s like going to a show and telling others it was great while it lasted but you don’t feel the need to see it again.

This should not be a disappointment.

The most important thing is to sell out every ticket to the show, to make a positive impression, and ultimately, to make money.

When potential buyers walk through your house with you or your realtor, or view the pictures online, they will be drawn to each strength that you have played up in you staging process.

They’ll feel comfortable in the bedroom, relaxed on the deck, excited about the Jacuzzi, and impressed with the view.

Best of all, one will make the choice to call your house home, and all will know that there aren’t any more seats because your sign in the yard is marked with a big, bold, “SOLD” sign.

Grabbing A Buyer’s Attention

You want them informed, interested, and in the house.

Since 1 out of every 2 homebuyers spends time visiting open houses, you want to throw the best open house party that you can. How do you do this?

Making sure that the home is staged and in pristine condition is a must. You can’t have potential buyers walking into a petting zoo or discovering Pandora ’s Box when opening the coat closet.

Make sure to have the homeowners spend time cleaning up the entire house as though their lives depended on it. Be meticulous. Remember that the outside of the house needs to be clean and welcoming if you want anyone to come inside.

What kind of experience do you want to create?

A pleasant, memorable one that will make the potential buyers feel right at home. Besides the glistening floors and streak-free windows, there’s a special addition that very few think of: the neighbors.

Think about it. Who doesn’t want to know about the people who will be living by them?

Inviting the neighbors to be a part of the open house adds another layer of interest because it provides the opportunity for the potential buyers to test the waters a bit.

This is a great opportunity with a small caveat: make sure that the neighbors are indeed people that you think will make buyers feel comfortable.
So how do we attract buyers in the first place?

The world continues to move forward at a rapid pace. As realtors, we run the risk of losing out on what is now the majority of home buyers if we do not keep up with the trends.

Here are some ways to make sure that you are in control of your selling destiny:

 Make use of texting

This is where we are today. Almost every person in the country with any real buying power has a mobile phone of some sort. Having a system in place to send out mass texts to all buyers on your list will bring greater results than you normally project.

Are you signed up for text alerts from your favourite restaurant or clothing store?

You might not take advantage of every single offer, but you most likely do visit these establishments more often than you would without these regular reminders of their existence to keep you engaged. Same thing here.

Potential buyers on your list are not going to buy every home that you tell them about, but when the one comes up that appeals to them, they’re ready to see it in person.

Use a Mobile customer database

Keeping track of your potential buyers and their needs will lead you to success. A customer relationship management tool (CRM) enables realtors to keep records of every interaction with buyers, set up reminders about phone calls and appointments, and send emails or texts automatically or manually to particular buyers.

In a mobile world where you and everyone else is on the go, why wouldn’t you take advantage of a mobile CRM? Like almost everything else, if you can manage it from your phone, do it.

While others are playing solitaire, you are closing deals.

Provide easy and quick access to information

How often do you hand out your business card? Do you have your web address listed? Even better, do you have a QR code on the card?

With a QR code, you can have people perusing your website within seconds of receiving the card.

Also, you can decide which page to lead people to so that they don’t have to navigate from your home page. Of course, people are capable of punching in the web address on their own, but with the ability to scan a code quickly once you hand them your card, they’re more likely to take action right away rather than storing it for later.

Once on your site, they are also more likely to sign up for your text or email alerts because they still have a personal connection with you in their minds.

Work to attract out-of-town buyers

This is big. As a realtor, you want your sales funnel to be filled with as many qualified potential buyers as possible.

Why limit yourself to your hometown or cities within a certain radius? People are relocating every day in our country, and that means that you can potentially have a new client every day.

When Mrs. Violin or Mr. Encyclopaedia receives an irresistible job offer, what do you think she or he would do?

Relocate of course! If it happens to be to a nearby city or from a nearby city, you’re in luck because you have set yourself up on your website as the go-to expert in the area backed by powerful content to draw traffic to your site.

By creating pages with relevant information for the industry, you can attract buyers using broad terms like “Florida real estate.”

You can also provide complementary information such as a relocation package which includes tips on finding a good realtor to sell the home left behind, information about local events and fun town secrets, or general demographic information.

If you need to hire an online marketing expert to help your online performance, it’s worth the extra investment. If you do everything you can to set yourself apart from the other realtors by building confidence in your brand as the best realtor in the area, you will reap the rewards.

Now that you’ve figured out how to get a buyer to come to the open house or to a private appointment, you want to make the sale.

This means that you are successful in selling one of your listed homes to this buyer. To do this, you’ll need cooperation from the homeowners.

As stated in the beginning of this chapter, make sure to have the homeowners spend time cleaning up the entire house as though their lives depended on it. This is huge.

You can spend your time, money, and effort on attracting buyers, promising to deliver fabulous results and building their confidence in you, but without the cooperation of the homeowners, the buyers will be turned off and you will fail.

What turns off potential buyers? It could seem like a small thing, but mean a lot to the buyer.

Here are a few:

A neglected yard.  Messy, overgrown, unkempt. This is what the potential buyers will think of your client’s property, inside and out. We are told not to judge a book by its cover, but it’s really hard to say the same thing about a house.

The inside could be immaculate without a spot of dust in site, but if the outside looks like a natural abode for snakes and massive spiders, potential buyers will most likely keep on driving by.

A pet to greet them.  Absolutely not allowed. Homeowners need to be informed about the dangers of having pets around when showing the house. No matter how clean and trimmed their pets might be, potential buyers don’t know the homeowners nor their pets.

Instead of seeing how well-groomed the animals may be, potential buyers are seeing animals. This means they are thinking of animal things such as hair everywhere, accidents on the floors, germs on the kitchen counters, and worst of all – fleas!

Yes, fleas come to mind almost right away, especially if doggy beds and dirty toys are in plain sight. If for no other reason, having a potential buyer trip over a pet or get bitten is a definite turnoff.

Yesterday’s dinner spending the night. Disgusting. How could you show off your client’s kitchen if the lasagna dishes are piled up in the sink? With this kind of disrespect exhibited by your client, the potential buyer’s reaction would be to wonder about the overall cleanliness and quality of the house’s upkeep over the years.

At the very least, your clients could have loaded the dishwasher and even have it running. But you’re not asking for the very least. You must demand the very best of your clients because ultimately, their home is a reflection of your brand as a realtor because it is an exhibit of the quality of clients you attract.

Bugs in the windows. It’s bad enough to have water-stained windows in need of a good polishing, but having cobwebs and dead flies or a heavy collection of dust is a sign of neglect. Windows are important structural components of every home.

Good quality windows are expensive to replace, so buyers want to be confident that they won’t be making this kind of investment any time soon. Clean windows are a must.

A bedroom that is…not a bedroom.  A home office or mini Chuck E. Cheese’s might be part of the American dream, but not necessarily every potential buyer’s dream. Turning a bedroom into a working office is very common as more and more people are working in their own private businesses or remotely for a company.

The problem arises when renovations are made that destroy the integrity of the room and requiring renovation again to revert the room into a bedroom. The same goes for children’s bedrooms with permanent structural changes such as a built-in bed in the shape of a pirate ship or Cinderella’s coach.

A potential buyer may not have children or even grandchildren young enough to enjoy these customized designs. Before you take on a client with similar particularities, make sure to offer your suggestion to have renovations made before putting the house on the market.

Taking the garage away.  If potential buyers want a home with a garage, they want a garage. They want to have a secure place to park their cars or to store their lawn-mower and other necessities.

If they find out that behind those doors lies something other than a garage, they will continue one to look elsewhere. It’s okay to use the space for whatever you want to be – a family room, a gym, a workshop – but if you make permanent structural changes such as laying down permanent carpeting and adding extra walls or counters, it’s no longer a garage.

A deep-sea experience.  There are those who love sea creatures and those who don’t, yet most people will agree that a large clean tank full of colorful fish and plants is very pleasant and relaxing to be around – for a limited amount of time. Customizing walls to house built-in aquariums could pose a threat to the sale of your client’s home.

The amount of work and money required to keep up the tanks could be a turnoff.  Besides that, even newer “silent” tanks put off a consistent hum in the background which some potential buyers will see as a source of annoyance in the future.

A swimming pool.  Whether in-ground or above-ground, not all buyers are looking to invest in pool maintenance.

You will be more successful in selling your client’s home with a pool in Phoenix than one in Minneapolis. In Phoenix, a pool is more of an actual necessity than in Minneapolis.

Nonetheless, the water bill, constant cleaning, and potential safety hazards that come with a pool could encourage buyers to move along. It is true that an above-ground pool can be dismantled, but it is better for your clients to do this before putting the home on the market in case there is any issue with the ground underneath it that needs to be corrected.

As a realtor, you need to pay attention to details if you want to be successful, but most of all you need to use your greatest weapon – common sense.

So much of what it takes to attract clients and then effectively sell their homes isn’t a miracle of thought. Take the time to look at your client’s home with the eyes of a buyer, and then give tips on what buyers are looking for.

Keeping in mind that the home with its yard, its windows, its kitchen – everything about it – reflects on you and the quality of your service, you can proceed to attract the best clients and the best buyers for them.

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.

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.