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Category Archive: ‘Tips, Advice & Links’

Lowball Strategy

typical agent

Have you seen a home sale close at a surprisingly-low price, and you said,

“Geez, I would have paid that!”

Usually the house has been on the market for months, and everyone else has forgotten about it. The seller doesn’t want to lower the price, but tells his agent, “Just bring me an offer”.

The agent revises the MLS remarks, adding gems like ‘Extremely Motivated’, and ‘All Offers Considered”.  A buyer who saw it earlier with another agent decided to approach the listing agent directly with an offer 20% below list – take it or leave it.

With visions of two commissions twirling around in their head, the agent tells the seller this is the best they could do. The seller really is motivated, so after months of failure at a too-high price, frustration sets in and he signs it.

If any seller is tempted to take a lowball offer – more than 10% below list – they should instruct the listing agent to immediately lower their list price to the midpoint between the offered price and current list price.

Let’s see who else is out there!

Watch how many you see that close at 15% to 20% below list and the listing agent represents both parties.  It isn’t enough to change the market, but a notable strategy.

You shouldn’t burn your old agent though – there are enough listing agents who are wimpy about dual agency and prefer that you have your own agent anyway. It is the same net to the seller, so he won’t care either.

Posted by on Jul 20, 2016 in Ideas/Solutions, Jim's Take on the Market, Thinking of Buying?, Tips, Advice & Links, Why You Should Hire Jim as your Buyer's Agent | 0 comments

Preparing Your House For Sale


When it comes to getting the best price for your house, there might be no higher-profile experts than Drew and Jonathan Scott, the personable hosts of several HGTV series including the long-running “Property Brothers.”

The 38-year-old twins started their real-estate ways while still in college, first leasing out a building to fellow students and then flipping a house for a $50,000 profit a short time later. They’ve put the lessons they’ve gleaned from nearly 20 years of buying, renovating and selling homes into their first book, “Dream Home: The Property Brothers’ Ultimate Guide to Finding & Fixing Your Perfect House.”

“Everybody always thinks that their house is nicer than the one that just sold for more money,” said Drew, a licensed Realtor. (Jonathan is a licensed contractor.) “But the fact of the matter is, most homeowners are blind about the flaws in their home. Which is why you have to value using professionals who will step back and give you an honest opinion.”

Here are the Scotts’ five top tips for getting your home ready to sell:

Read full article here:


Posted by on Jun 24, 2016 in Jim's Take on the Market, Thinking of Selling?, Tips, Advice & Links | 0 comments

Taller Walls

We’ve talked about the importance of staging, but there are other simple things you can do to improve your look.

Rooms with low ceilings can feel smaller and darker than they actually are.  Here are some great ideas to offset that feeling!

taller walls1


taller walls3

Read full article here:

Posted by on Jun 21, 2016 in Jim's Take on the Market, Staging, Tips, Advice & Links | 0 comments

Buyer Tips in a Seller’s Market


Hat tip to bode for sending this in, and noting the importance of #3!

The real estate market fluctuates often, making it tough to predict whether the market will favor buyers or sellers when it’s your turn to buy. If you’re shopping for real estate in a market that currently favors sellers, you need to know some tricks of the trade to help ensure you don’t make any mistakes.

Buyers in a seller’s market can get what they want, but they need to bring their “A” game — buying a house in a hot market isn’t for the indecisive. Here are six common mistakes many buyers make — mistakes that you can learn to avoid — when shopping in a seller’s market.


Posted by on Jun 11, 2016 in Jim's Take on the Market, Market Conditions, Thinking of Buying?, Tips, Advice & Links, Why You Should Hire Jim as your Buyer's Agent | 0 comments

Home Buying Tips

Julie Gurner

Answer by Julie Gurner, doctor of psychology, multiple time home owner, on Quora – the knowledge sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights.

I have invested, done some flipping, and tastefully renovated old homes.  I’ve bought (and sold) a lot of homes (my mother says I buy homes like others buy shoes), and these are tips that have worked for me.

  • Buy a home you can easily afford. A lot of people buy homes at the top of their range, and that’s a huge mistake for most…never be a paycheck away from foreclosure or struggling.
  • Find a house with bad aesthetics and fantastic “bones.” Buy the house that looks decent on the outside but has internal superficial ugliness – gross paint, carpets, etc.. As long as the major systems are fantastic (plumbing, electrical, roofing, etc..), superficial things can be fixed and will add instant value.
  • Buy the crappiest house in the nicest neighborhood you can. It will always sell for more than what you paid for it, if you put in some elbow grease.
  • Get an amazing home inspector, and follow him/her around with a clipboard asking questions and writing down every little problem. Use it for negotiations, and later as a personal checklist of things to take care of.
  • Be sure to get a “fixed” interest rate with your mortgage…and have great credit. No matter what happens in the market, you’ll be grateful.
  • Know your market. Go to Zillow and see what houses have sold for in your area, before making an offer…know how competitive the market is, so you know how competitively to bid – how long do homes stay on the market? I’ve offered prices $100K less than ask and gotten homes, but also gotten homes by offering the asking price.
  • Look at the crime map for your area. There are beautiful cheap homes out there in neighborhoods you’d never want to live in. Don’t be suckered in.
  • Don’t ever buy anything with an HOA. (additional fee for living there) – you can never get rid of it, it can go up, and you can never truly pay off your property.
  • Think of additional income streams. Does it have an in-law apartment or space you could rent out or use for Air BnB? Could you rent out a room or two if you were in a jam?
  • Have enough money down that you will not be paying PMI (mortgage insurance)…this can be hundreds a month that doesn’t even go toward your balance. Your payment per month will be far lower.
  • Renovate…this is not HGTV. If you buy something completely finished, you are likely wasting a ton of money, and overpaying. You can usually have everything you want for a price you can afford if you’re willing to do the back end of it.
  • Have a list of things that are “must-haves,” things “that would be a +1 but wouldn’t be dealbreakers.” Know that going in.
  • Don’t be “wowed” or turned off by the appearance going in. They hire professional staging companies for a reason…to make the house more appealing. They also have trouble sometimes selling great homes because hoarders or messy people live there. Look beyond the grit, or beyond the flash.
  • Think about maintenance. A place with a huge backyard might *seem* awesome…until you are mowing all day every Saturday just to keep up. Things to consider – long driveways (plowing in winter), big back yards (mowing/trimming), etc…

These are just a few tips for a newbie, but a lot of things come from experience also. If you have a friend in real estate, or know an experienced investor – take them with you when looking for homes – they’ll often point out things you wouldn’t have seen otherwise.

Posted by on Jun 4, 2016 in Jim's Take on the Market, Tips, Advice & Links | 5 comments

Fog Security

When we think of home security systems, we usually think of alarms that make a lot of noise, but do they really deter the intruder before they steal anything?

Check out the fog cannon. It’s a security device that fills the room with dense fog in seconds, making it very difficult for the intruder to see anything.

A fog cannon is mounted in plain sight, and looks similar to an air conditioner.  Connect it to your traditional alarm, and when the alarm is triggered, fog will fill the room in less than five seconds.

The fog is harmless to humans and pets, fixtures and furniture, and computer equipment. Once the fog has filled a room, it takes about 20 minutes to clear out by opening windows and using fans.

Watch the 35-second video below to see a fog cannon in action:

Posted by on Mar 4, 2016 in Tips, Advice & Links | 5 comments

3D Home Tour

3D camera

Carlos Hernandez from did a 3D home tour of my new listing, using his Matterport camera.  Here’s how it turned out:

This technology will be the next step in selling houses from afar – do busy people really need to visit in person after seeing these video presentations? It helps to screen out the actual showings too, because there is no hiding anything – if a viewer sees something they don’t like, they can save themselves a trip.

Big picture?  Eventually, the Matterport company will have a library of every house in America….but wait, it’s my listing, and I paid for the tour!

Here is Carlos describing what he does:

Posted by on Jan 28, 2016 in Bubbleinfo TV, Jim's Take on the Market, Listing Agent Practices, The Future, Thinking of Buying?, Thinking of Selling?, Tips, Advice & Links, Why You Should List With Jim | 6 comments

Why Improve to Sell?

why paint

During the radio show I mentioned that in my latest survey of NSDCC sales, 42% of the home sellers had owned their home for 12 years or more.

These long-time owners grapple with improvements to sell – where do you start, and where do you stop?

I suggested beefing up the curb appeal, and new carpet and paint.

Improving the curb appeal is understandable; 1) the first impression is critical, and 2) landscaping and power-washing are quick, easy, and cheap.

But carpet and paint?  Why bother?

A common response is that sellers would rather have the buyers select their own favorites – especially with flooring, because there are so many choices.

Here’s why sellers should consider spending the money:

  1.  Any neutral color will work, and anything is better than the used-up, dingy, 12-year old look you have now.
  2.  Buyers typically don’t have great vision to see past old carpet and paint.
  3.  Many buyers just want – or need – to move in right away, and do improvements over time.  New carpet and paint looks move-in ready.
  4.  You’ll look better than the competition.
  5.  New carpet and paint not only look clean, they smell clean!
  6.  You will sell faster, and for more money!

If you don’t install new carpet and paint, the house will be labeled a ‘fixer’ in the minds of most buyers.  You will lose the buyers who can’t, or won’t, afford the necessary improvements (real and imagined), and those still standing will expect a discount off the sales price.

Because buyers aren’t that familiar with the cost of improvements, their idea of a discount will be larger than yours!

(Here is a link to the whole radio show)

Posted by on Jan 23, 2016 in Jim's Take on the Market, Listing Agent Practices, Remodel Projects, Thinking of Selling?, Tips, Advice & Links, Why You Should List With Jim | 2 comments