Summertime is the season for real estate, so if you’re looking to put your home on the market, make sure it’s ready to sell. Host of HGTV’s “Rehab Addict” Nicole Curtis is dishing on four inexpensive insider tricks to help market your home and get the best price.
Category Archive: ‘Tips, Advice & Links’
Hat tip to Susie for sending this in from CNNMoney:
Tim Trampedach, a 36-year-old business owner who lives in San Francisco, has seen his home’s value soar from $1.2 million to $1.6 million in the past three years. He and his wife want to move into a bigger place, but there are simply no homes within their price range in their Portrero Hill neighborhood.
“My wife and I are effectively locked into the house,” he said. “We can’t sell because we can’t afford anything else nearby.”
They would probably struggle to buy their existing home at its current value of $1.6 million, let alone buy a more-expensive home that would make it worth it to move. If you just bought at $1.2M, jumping up to $2,000,000 or more is a big stretch.
But if you can make the jump financially, then how do you pull it off?
Here are more excerpts from the article:
In fact, demand is so high that real estate agents are actively seeking people who are willing to sell. “You get letters in the mail asking if you’re interested in selling,” said Jackson. “People knock on your doors.”
In mid-April she got an enticing, unsolicited offer on the house, which Zillow estimates to be worth $420,000.
“My husband and I talked it over,” she said. “We hemmed and hawed. It was too good to be true, but we worried: Would we find a house we wanted?”
The buyer agreed to give the couple until October to find a new place, so they took the offer.
One way sellers can protect themselves is to make the sale of their home contingent upon their ability to find another one to move into.
Patrick Matson and his fiance, Margarita Munoz, insisted on such a clause when they put their Anaheim, Calif. home up for sale. Up until last Friday they had an offer on their home, but their own search did not go well.
The couple had made offers on two homes in La Mirada, where they liked the school district for their four-year-old son. But both offers were rejected.
The homes they looked at were between $430,000 and $480,000, but were no bigger or better than their current place, which they listed for $415,000.
Discouraged, the couple decided to reject the offer and take their home off the market.
“It was not an easy decision to make, provided that we knew the folks who had an offer in on our home were going to be disappointed and it wasn’t what we wanted either,” said Matson.
The couple plans to make some upgrades to their current place and will try again in a year or two, he said. “Hopefully the market won’t be so competitive by then.”
You have to be able to buy high enough to make it worth it – my rule of thumb is 50% higher than the old house - AND be able to convince the seller that you aren’t submitting an offer contingent upon finding a buyer for your old house. Having your buyers do their inspection and appraisal and then release their contingencies would go a long way to making your offer look non-contingent.
You may have to help your buyer with some costs to get to that stage, but to pull it off the move-up, you have to make bold and decisive moves, work with a great agent, and hope for some luck!
This article ranks the Top 10 cities in America by median list price, with the highest eight cities all located in California (San Diego is #7):
The data is from realtor.com, which not only tracks the median list prices, but they also log the inventory counts for each city. The MLS coverage may not match up exactly to the metro areas, but let’s compare inventory-to-census populations to gauge the potential competitiveness:
|New York City|
Seattle and Denver don’t get mentioned on the highest-priced lists, but the difficulty of buying a home there is duly noted. The actual San Diego residential inventory today is 6,709, or a 473:1 ratio, which would push us up into the same group, and we’d have the highest median LP of those five areas.
Interestingly, the Orange County inventory is 64% higher now than it was a year ago, while the San Diego inventory is only 15% higher Y-O-Y.
Below is a Q&A with Jim Klinge, the head of San Diego-based Klinge Realty and the creator of BubbleInfo.com, a realty blog.
BUSINESS INSIDER: What is the most underreported story in housing?
JIM KLINGE: The health of the real estate market. We’re back to peak pricing – and higher – around coastal San Diego during the toughest mortgage underwriting in the history of the world.
BI: What is the biggest change you’ve seen since the bust in terms of the typical buyers’ profile?
JK: No change – almost all are owner-occupants. Surprisingly, having direct access to recent sales via the internet hasn’t made buyers more critical about price. Over the last 12 months, it’s been the opposite – people are paying prices that are 5% to 10% higher than recent sales. Because they are so familiar with the values, you’d think they would be more discerning, but the fear of loss supersedes all – they just want to buy a house, and are tired of losing.
BI: What is the biggest mistake buyers are making these days?
JK: Not researching realtors. They think we are all the same, so they just grab one.
BI: What is the biggest mistake sellers are making these days?
JK: Not researching realtors. Many just grab the one who mails them the most propaganda.
BI: How much higher can the Sun Belt markets climb?
JK: The prime markets could easily rise another 10% to 20%, price-wise, in the next 2-3 years. But it will be on very thin trading, which makes you question how legit it is, and whether it will sustain.
How/where do you research realtors?
Check the agent’s online presence - specifically, how do they present their other listings? Are there vivid photos and actual video tours?
Search under ‘Find A Pro’ on Zillow, and check their number of sales, and client testimonials.
See if they are a Zillow Premier Agent – if they aren’t, then Zillow will advertise other agents on your house’s listing.
Does the agent use open houses to maximize the exposure?
If they have sold a few listings this year, then they have had multiple offers. What are their specific bidding-war strategies to ensure top dollar?
Does your office expose and sell listings at the office meetings? (trick question here because most will answer yes, when ethically the answer should be no).
- Who answers the phone? Excellent phone service is still preferred.
One question to ask: Can you tell me about your last bidding-war experience?
How many buyers have they represented in the last 12 months? Getting buyers to the finish line in this hotly-competitive environment takes real skill, and the number of buyer sales demonstrates their ability.
Are there other agents involved – do you get passed around? If they answer yes, it isn’t a bad thing – you’d just like to know who the others are and what their skill set is.
Are they available 7 days a week? The market is cooking 24/7.
- How do they position their buyers to win a bidding war?
One question to ask: “Based on my wants and needs, do you know of a couple of listings that would match?” Not imperative, but if they can talk about actual homes for sale off the top of their head, you know you are dealing with somebody who is very active in your marketplace.
In the previous video, Brandi mentioned that sellers enjoy a real urgency early in their listing period. Today’s market is a good example – because every decent buy gets snapped up right away, all new listings get immediate attention.
The North SD County coastal region has been hot up to around $1,400,000 - homes priced above that have a much different supply-and-demand curve.
Here are the current active and pending listings of NSDCC detached homes:
On the lower end, literally half of the pendings found a buyer in the first 15 days on the market.
This dynamic can be used by both sellers and buyers. Sellers who price sharply from the beginning can help create a fever pitch, and have a bidding war push the sales price higher. Buyers who see homes on the market for more than 15 days know that something might be missing.
Are you getting ready to sell your home?
Curb Appeal Tips
- Take a photo of your house and show it to other people for suggestions. When you are driving around and see a great-looking front yard, you can whip it out your photo and visualize how your home would look.
- Add medium-to-large pots with colorful plants near the front door.
- Paint the front door and install new handle.
- New light fixtures, especially outside the front door.
- Fertilize your lawn 2-3 weeks prior to listing.
- Repair or replace any brown spots in your lawn.
- Trim the trees.
- Power-wash the driveway and sidewalks.
- Don’t over-water the lawns.
Once buyers are out of the car and up the steps, the excitement, and expectations, begin rising. Buyers have usually seen so many average-looking houses that they’re hoping it will be different this time! Capitalize on other sellers’ failure to prepare their home properly!
To sell for top dollar, the interior needs to impress a buyer, but you don’t have to spend crazy money. Here is my list accumulatated over the years – do as many as you can!
- Rent a storage locker and remove everything not in use.
- Paint the main rooms with neutral color (light gray or crisp khaki).
- Install new high-grade neutral carpet – it smells ‘clean’.
- Paint wood surfaces with glossy paint (baseboards and doors).
- Clean all glass – windows inside and out, plus shower doors.
- Remove pets (get sitter for a couple of weeks) and all pet odors.
- Clutter patrol – remove distracting smaller items in particular.
- Replace burned-out light bulbs.
- If you have an older kiychen, at least install a new sink faucet.
- Add new towels and pillows, flowers, plus fruit in the kitchen.
- Tune up your mailbox.
- Improve storage capacity in garage.
- Make closets look large and inviting – mostly by removing stuff.
- Create computer stations.
- Plant trees to block neighboring homes.
- De-personalize. Buyers can get nosy about sellers.
- Secure the office – don’t leave out any bills or real estate contracts.
- The master bath will make or break a deal – go all out.
- Hire the professional cleaners the week of hitting the open market.
- Hire a great realtor!
Most good realtors are willing to stop by and give free advice on what they think you need specifically. Get good help!
Sellers have remorse too.
With all parties focused on that ideal fantasy sale, there is a natural letdown once the deal is done - and more attention put on the reasons not to move. Here is how wiki sees it:
My thoughts on buyers’ and sellers’ remorse:
- Once there is a signed purchase agreement, sellers cannot rescind – there is no cooling-off period. Be 100% certain about moving before you list your home for sale.
- Have a sound strategy to conduct a successful bidding war. Uncertainty breeds anxiety.
Be prepared for Round 2 – the buyer will likely want another piece of you once the home inspection is completed.
Complete repairs prior to selling to minimize stress in Round 2. The buyers will make a much bigger deal about repair items, and could cancel over what seems to be minor issues.
Know where you are moving, who is moving you, and when/how much. Uncertainty about your move creates undue anxiety about other issues.
Move out before the closing date, just in case you need more time.
Avoid the “evacuation move”. If you do the panic-move, it could take weeks or months to re-organize your new home.
Expect to think that you sold too cheap, too early, too late, etc., and when you do, laugh that you read it here first.
Happy buyers close escrow.
There are no perfect houses – or sellers.
- Having doubts is a good thing – it means you are examining the choice carefully. Work through them one by one.
Regardless of market conditions, it will always be a challenge to find a quality house in good location – just due to the competition among buyers.
Have a teflon memory – don’t get remorseful about the ones you lose.
Don’t fall in love with anything.
Most houses need repairs/improvements – $25,000 to $50,000 worth. Develop a comfort level with repairs and improvements.
Have a bidding-war strategy.
Plan the moving/improving in advance.
Happy sellers select their favorites.
Remorse affects people in different ways. Many people can move on quickly, while others can really get bugged by it. Having second thoughts is healthy, just keep them in proper perspective.
Get good help!
Are you accustomed to using the internet for all your shopping needs? Those who prefer to research and buy products and services on-line will find it natural to do the same for agents.
Here are four ways to use the internet when selecting a realtor:
1. Google their name. Any realtor worth considering should have a decent web presence, and hopefully some evidence of their past performance. Check the dates of their latest blog posts or featured listings.
2. Check their license number. Every piece of advertising has the realtor’s license number on it, including websites and business cards.
There are some new agents who are really good, and there are older agents that should be put out to pasture, so it’s not a perfect guide. But at least you can easily tell how long an agent has been in the business with a simple glance at their license number.
The real estate licenses are issued with sequential numbers. I just use my company’s broker number as a guide. If they have a lower number than Klinge Realty, they’ve been around for more than ten years, and if they are a new or newer agent, then I need to check how many sales they have closed on the MLS. Here are the months that these licenses were issued:
|License Number||Month Issued|
|01388871 (Klinge Realty)||June, 2003|
3. Check their profile on Zillow. The industry’s leader now includes both reviews of agents, and how many sales they have closed in the last twelve months.
An agent who has something to offer should have double-digit reviews and sales (good agents should sell at least one home per month on average). Any agent who has more than 75-100 sales has a big team of agents who are all reporting under the leader’s name, which is somewhat deceiving.
4. Look for videos. Every agent worth considering should be using video in some fashion – at least a video of themselves on Zillow or their website, and/or real video tours of their listings with commentary.
Yelp used to be a reliable source, but they have been under fire lately. They have deleted positive reviews from my actual clients, and here a Carlsbad dentist gets on TV with his experience:
Yelp hides additional reviews – check at the bottom of each Yelp page where you see this link: other reviews that are not currently recommended
Get good help!
This got fouled up last night but it’s fixed now: