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Category Archive: ‘Tips, Advice & Links’

Smart Selling Tips

selling

When you’ve decided to sell your home, the last thing you want to do is spend money to spruce the place up. After all, whoever buys it is going to replace those outdated kitchen cabinets and grungy bathroom tiles anyway, right?

“We’re often asked why any money should be spent freshening,” said Mickey Conlon, an associate broker with Douglas Elliman Real Estate. “The answer has to do with the psychological effect of assessing a renovation on a prospective purchase. Buyers assign dollar values to repairs that typically exceed the actual cost of remediation.”

To get the best return on your investment — and avoid turning off potential buyers — you need to ensure your home looks its best when it hits the market. At the same time, you don’t want to waste effort or money on improvements that won’t pay off.

Read full article here – good tips:

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/18/realestate/preparing-your-home-for-sale.html

Posted by on Sep 18, 2016 in Jim's Take on the Market, Thinking of Selling?, Tips, Advice & Links | 3 comments

Real Estate ADD

iP

The iPhone 7 is out!  Smart phones and other mobile devices now dominate the landscape, and are practically part of the family.  Thankfully, they don’t need their own bedroom and bath!

Most people scroll so quickly that they only take split-seconds to decide which homes to consider.  Having limited inventory might be a good thing!

The first impression of the home needs to be incredible just to capture their attention for a few seconds.

Home Selling in the Mobile-Device Era

  1.  Staging – The photos are already small enough on these phones – they become much more appealing with the right decor.  Once the buyers arrive for their minutes-long tour, it’s easier for them to visualize too.
  2.  Pro Photos Only – Buyers are frustrated enough, and they won’t tolerate poor-quality photos. It’s too easy for them to keep swiping.
  3.  Colors need to be current.  In the minds of fast-moving buyers, out-of-style colors = fixer.
  4.  Powerful Remarks – Listings with the usual mumbo-jumbo in the remarks won’t get read.
  5.  Responding to Inquires – Zillow recommends that agents respond to inquiries within five minutes – otherwise, consumers will forget the property!
  6.  Comps – Buyers are moving (too) fast, and there aren’t as many sales so it’s tougher to track the values easily.  Give them a hand – list the comps in the remarks!
  7.  Sell with Less – Don’t include 25 photos of beddings and local attractions.
  8.  Old Listings are Toast – Buyers ignore old listings – they want new meat.

This is the era of sensory overload.  There are so many advertising images coming at us every second that our go-to is to ignore first.  But those clear, clean, sleek, easy-to-read listings with great photos and an attractive price still have a good chance of selling!

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Posted by on Sep 17, 2016 in Jim's Take on the Market, Listing Agent Practices, Tips, Advice & Links, Why You Should List With Jim | 0 comments

Feng Shui Tips for Selling

feng

A compilation of the best ideas:

Make the Front Door Welcoming

Energy enters your home at the front door, so invite it in! Make your door stand out by painting it a color that contrasts with your home, adding a new welcome mat and flanking the door with plants. Choose plants with rounded leaves as sharp leaves can appear aggressive to buyers.

Remove the Clutter

An orderly space with no clutter is the best feng shui foundation for your home. And don’t drag your clutter from your old home to your new home – deal with it before moving into the new home.

Create a “Room of First Impression”

Buyers generally decide whether they will buy a home in the first eight seconds they spend there, so you want them to see the best room first. Create a clear path to this room with a runner rug or with eye-catching art and accessories.

Don’t Let Energy Go Down the Drain

If the first thing buyers see when they enter your home is a bathroom, keep the bathroom door closed. Toilets and drains take energy from a room, so keep the toilet lid down and cover drains while not in use.  You can also place a small tabletop water fountain either at the entrance or in the back left corner of the home, which is the wealth corner.  Moving water circulates prosperity energy throughout the home.

Rearrange Furniture to Improve Chi

A furniture arrangement can make or break the flow of energy in the room. If the back of a sofa faces the room’s entrance, energy bounces right out. Facing a comfortable sofa or love seat toward the entrance of the room will improve energy flow and make buyers feel welcome.

Invigorate the Senses

Stimulate your home’s energy with sound by adding a wind chime to the front right corner of your house. This is the buyer’s area of the home, so this accessory might call in your home’s future owner.

Pack Up the Family Photos and Religious Items

You want to make your home as welcoming as possible to potential buyers … don’t distract them with personal effects.  Nature scenes are soothing and will relax the buyers.

Have you let go of the house?

  • Walk room by room through the house and mentally say “thank you” for the good — and bad — times you had there.
  • Picture yourself holding the house, presenting it as a gift to the next owner.
  • Start packing. “It starts getting the energy moving” and releases “your hold on the house,” Kennedy says. Plus, packing away your personal items is a good way to lose the “It’s my house, not yours” vibe.
  • Your basic sense of security is facing one of the biggest challenges in life – you are moving everything about you down the road. Don’t take it lightly.

Making Way for Auspicious Feng Shui Chi

Now, it is time to ensure the new incoming chi is auspicious. Open the windows, turn on the fans, and let the sunlight in. You want fresh air and positivity coming into your home. Be in good spirits.

Go for Good Energy

Most importantly, be aware of the very important feng shui energy triangle when getting ready to sell your house. The energy in the kitchen, the bathroom, and the bedroom is either making or breaking the house sale. Buyers need to know they will sleep well, eat well, and well, unwind well if they choose to buy your home.

If you really want feng shui on your side when selling your home, read this:

http://www.knowfengshui.com/feng-shui-cure-sell-your-house-faster/

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Posted by on Sep 16, 2016 in Jim's Take on the Market, Tips, Advice & Links | 0 comments

Home Maintenance

leaky

Another rule-of-thumb on how much to spend on your house:

Maintaining a home, especially an older one, can be expensive—in fact, experts say homeowners should be prepared to spend roughly 1 percent of their home’s value every year on maintenance.

The good news is, you can save on maintenance by completing simple tasks yourself. According to the experts at Underwriters, Inc. these include:

  • Cleaning the Gutters – To prevent costly damage to your home’s foundation, landscaping and siding, remove debris and leaves from the gutters at least twice a year. Don’t forget gloves and eye protection!
  • Open Garage Doors Manually – Don’t call a garage technician the next time your power’s out—simply locate the (usually red) cord, suspended from the ceiling-mounted operator, in your garage, and pull it to disconnect the cord from the motor.
  • Removing Stripped Screws – Avoid causing more damage when screws slip from a screwdriver. Place a rubber band or piece of steel wool over the screw and then try to remove it—if that method fails, use a screw extractor.
  • Repairing a Leaky Faucet – Leaks can cost hundreds in wasted water. Before you call a plumber, try DIY-ing by shutting off the main water supply, removing the faucet’s knobs, and checking the washers, stems and O-rings for signs of damage. Take these pieces to the hardware store to find exact replacements.
  • Stop a Running Toilet – Another plumber job you can do yourself! Remove the lid to the tank behind the toilet, and check the flush lever, rubber flapper, lift chain, float ball, pump and overflow tube. A running toilet usually requires just a simple adjustment or replacement to fix.

If you can master these essential homeowner skills, you’ll not only save money on maintenance, but also the expense of more costly fixes in the future.

http://blog.rismedia.com/2016/5-maintenance-skills-every-homeowner-know/

Posted by on Sep 14, 2016 in Jim's Take on the Market, Repairs/Improvements, Tips, Advice & Links | 1 comment

Home Maintenance Costs

repairs

Back in 2009, we ran the first post entitled, Home Maintenance Costs:

http://www.bubbleinfo.com/2009/09/17/home-maintenance-costs/

After discussing the need for home maintenance with several clients  recently, I thought it would be a great time to review.

Every condo association in California is required to complete a Reserve Study so they are socking away enough money every month to repair and replace every item needed over time.  Homeowners should do the same!

Examples of things that need regular repair/replacement:  Air conditioning, appliances, BBQ, ducting, faucets, flooring, furnace, lighting, painting, roof, siding, sinks, toilets, windows, etc.

These are pure home repairs and replacements – they don’t include exterior maintenance or home improvements/upgrades/updating, which all matter too.

I came up with my own formula to estimate how much money homeowners should spend each year just on maintenance – try it out:

Age of home X square footage/15 = Annual spend

The 15 was derived from a reasonable number of years it will take to catch up on everything if you start today.  You may want to re-start again in year 16!

My formula is unscientific, but it is close enough.  Spend something!

Doing regular repairs will help you avoid multiple major expenses, and save you from needing a complete redo when it comes time to sell.

The joys of homeownership!

Posted by on Aug 9, 2016 in Jim's Take on the Market, Remodel Projects, Repairs/Improvements, Thinking of Buying?, Tips, Advice & Links | 0 comments

Avoiding the BOM

When thinking about selling your home, do you have concerns that a sale could blow out and leave you hanging?  Have you heard stories from others like that?

It is a real concern.  If a deal blows out, the sellers have to go through the hassle of showing the house again, and the listing agent has to find a way to re-ignite the urgency.

What are reasons for a cancellation?

  1. Buyer didn’t like being worked over by the seller and listing agent during the negotiations, and is looking for any reason to cancel.
  2.  The house is in worse condition than expected.
  3.  Sellers won’t do enough to satisfy the buyers’ request for repairs.
  4.  HOA docs reveal conditions that are overly-restrictive.
  5.  The buyers’ family squashes the deal.

Our contracts create a legally-binding agreement, and the sellers are locked in – you can’t cancel.  Wouldn’t you want to do as much as possible to lock in the buyer before signing?

There are two easy things for sellers and listing agents to do to drastically cut down the chances of a sale cancelling:

  1. Have buyers also qualify with your lender of choice.  Deals can cancel later from lending factors that were unknown in the beginning, but typically those were unknown because the lender was inexperienced and didn’t see them coming.
  2. I love the new practice of sellers providing a pre-listing home inspection report.  Include the HOA docs, termite, and title report too – up front!

About the only thing left is the appraisal, but because you had an attractive price from the beginning, the value shouldn’t be too hard to substantiate.

I just had one where the inspector drove up in a $500 car, spent seven hours doing his inspection, and finally produced his written report a week later!  Of course, he says the house is falling down!

This sale hasn’t cancelled yet – we are busy on supplying our own reports and demonstrations to offset the inspector’s findings.  I should have gotten my own report in the beginning!

We’ve been doing it backwards all these years – supplying the due-diligence materilas from the start is a great way to avoid cancellations!

Posted by on Aug 3, 2016 in Jim's Take on the Market, Listing Agent Practices, Tips, Advice & Links, Why You Should List With Jim | 3 comments

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

scotts

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:

http://www.latimes.com/home/la-hm-property-brothers-20160613-snap-story.html

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