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.
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.”
“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:
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.
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.
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:
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!
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:
Any neutral color will work, and anything is better than the used-up, dingy, 12-year old look you have now.
Buyers typically don’t have great vision to see past old carpet and paint.
Many buyers just want – or need – to move in right away, and do improvements over time. New carpet and paint looks move-in ready.
You’ll look better than the competition.
New carpet and paint not only look clean, they smell clean!
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!
I can't say enough about Jim and Donna. Jim got a great price for us and negotiated well. Donna walked us through escrow, handling vendors, and negotiating everything we asked for in the request for repairs. They are know exactly what they are doing and I've already recommended them to two other people.
I followed Jim's blog for several years and decided to contact him (along with several other realtors) when an out-of-state work relocation required me to sell my home in San Marcos, Ca. At our initially meeting, Jim spent a significant amount of time discussing pricing options, strategy, as well...
Honesty. Integrity. Professionalism. Dedication. Commitment. Jim and Donna Klinge hold these attributes in abundance. They have acted as both our buyer agent and our seller agent delivering highly relevant insight into local market conditions, spot-on advice to maximize the home's value, and unparalleled management of the transaction process...
I cannot imagine a better experience! Jim was our broker when my husband and I bought our first house. Jim never pressured us or glossed over anything. He was patient, knowledgeable, and helped us buy our dream home. His office was detail-oriented, always responsive and we closed in 30 days! The excellent service didn't end when we bought our house, either, the Klinges have given us excellent and fast referrals along the way. We feel privileged to have worked with such a consummate professional and appreciate how rare this level of skill is. Jim is simply the best in the field.
Jim and his team are top flight. He knows the market better than anyone, and his team ensures the deal goes through without a hitch. There's always something at the last minute, but you'd never know it with Jim and his crew. I've bought and sold houses with Jim as my agent over the years, and I wouldn't use anyone else. Save yourself the headaches and potential costly mistakes...
Buying a house is one of the most emotional,exciting, and sometimes confusing milestones you'll reach for in your life! Being a buyer in this market can make it even more interesting! My husband and I have been looking to buy for a year, and when the time came we wanted a realtor team that would be on our team! Being that I'm a business woman and was 7 months pregnant, I wanted, NEEDED, communication, dependability, and consistency! The Klinges went so far above and beyond ...
Jim was recommended to me when I bought my first house here in the US five years ago. He and Donna explained the whole process and it was a great experience to work with them. Not surprisingly, when my company asked me to relocate my first choice was to work with them again...
I have followed Jim's real estate blog for years and by the time I got ready to sell my townhouse I felt I knew him both personally and professionally. At our first meeting he was prepared with recent comps and listings for the area...
"Jim is an absolute pleasure to work with. He tells it like it is and won't let you buy a clunker. He's very knowledgable about the market and you can get a sense of that by following his blog. We couldn't have been happier with our representation during our purchase - which included navigating a ... more "
"Jim and his team are the best! I bought and sold my house with Klinge Realty and if I ever move back to San Diego County, I will definitely be asking ... more "
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