Menu
TwitterRssFacebook
More Links

Are you looking for an experienced agent to help you buy or sell a home? Contact Jim the Realtor!

Carlsbad
(760) 434-5000

Carmel Valley
(858) 560-7700
jim@jimklinge.com


Category Archive: ‘Tips, Advice & Links’

3D Home Tour

3D camera

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

http://www.touritnow.com/3d-model/7249-ocotillo-street/skinned/

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)

http://livestream.com/espn1700/the-lunch-hour

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

Pride-of-Ownership Test

PoH

Anyone who has looked at homes lately can attest to the surprising conditions in which people live.  The lack of maintenance transcends all price points too.

But it’s nothing money won’t fix.

Buyers should surrender early on……and expect to spend at least $25,000 to $50,000 on any house they buy.  It’s easier than trying to find the perfect house that doesn’t need anything.

But looking at houses then turns into a job of making lists of the repairs required. Is there a way to short-cut that process, and just use one simple gauge to know if the house could be a money pit?

When I enter a house, I still walk straight to the backyard first.  It is there that you will find the items that are hard or impossible to fix; yard too small, road noise, neighbors looking in, over-sized pools, etc.

Once we’re past that test, and everyone is getting comfortable with the interior layout, I make my way to the place where you can find the most clues about the seller’s pride of ownership.

The Master Bath – a place where the sellers spend time every day.  The most extreme conditions exist too – high use of hot and cold water, steam and mold conditions, multiple plumbing functions, venting, several appliances in use, laundry processing, etc.  There’s a lot of action going on in the master bath!

With all the action, is somebody keeping up with repairs?

If any room is going to be well-maintained, it is the master bath.  It’s not that big, and the moving parts are simple – a towel rack, a toilet-paper roller, lighting, fan, grout, window, sinks – easy stuff.

Plus, every guy wants to keep his wife happy – so if he is going to fix anything, it will be here.

No need to get into any personal items – just checking the hardware:

  1.  Are the towel racks secure?
  2.  Toilet-paper roller intact?
  3.  Drywall outside the shower or tub wet or damaged?
  4.  Adequate electrical outlets?
  5.  Toilet secured tightly to floor?
  6.  Toilet works properly?
  7.  Sinks drain normally? (two sinks are a must)
  8.  Adequate water pressure at sinks and shower?
  9.  Fan is quiet? Window works well?
  10.  Any sign of biological discoloration?
  11.  Baseboards are dry and tight?
  12.  Mirrors look good?
  13.  Ample lighting?
  14.  Mineral deposits on glass doors?
  15.  Shampoo bottles have a home?
  16.  Solid coat of semi-gloss paint?
  17.  Crisply-applied caulk, especially around the shower faucet?
  18.  Solid and tight grout lines?
  19.  Door that locks easily?
  20.  Is the floor of the sink cabinet dry?

If you are in a hurry or tend to get caught up in the excitement of looking at houses, then just concentrate on what you see in the master bath.

If you check off every item above, then the rest of the house should be in good shape too.  But if the sellers aren’t maintaining this room that has complex features but simple fixes – especially when on the market – then they probably haven’t done much to keep up the rest of the house either.

Posted by on Jan 19, 2016 in Jim's Take on the Market, Repairs/Improvements, Thinking of Buying?, Thinking of Selling?, Tips, Advice & Links | 4 comments

Staging Tips for the Senses

stagng

Good thoughts on appealing to all five senses – I especially agree with keeping the scent and music volume in check:

http://blog.rismedia.com/2015/staging-tips-five-senses/

Staging a home for sale is all about inspiring your buyer, and their senses are the avenue by which you connect with them. French novelist Honoré de Balzac once wrote “love is the poetry of the senses,” and specifically touching on each sense when staging a home creates atmosphere that inspires just that kind of poetic love. No matter the size or style of the home, there are a whole range of small things you can do to make it more appealing to aspiring homeowners (and help you lock in a sale!) Here’s how to get started:

Read full article here:

http://blog.rismedia.com/2015/staging-tips-five-senses/

Posted by on Jan 7, 2016 in Jim's Take on the Market, Staging, Tips, Advice & Links | 0 comments

Buying From the Listing Agent

coffee

Your search has been frustrating because you’ve been pre-approved for a mortgage and you’ve been scouring the real estate portals for homes.  Your agent – who was most likely referred by a friend, according to this article – is attentive and a genuinely nice person.

But you’ve lost out on a couple of homes that would have worked, so you vow to your spouse – we’re buying the next hot one!

Do you think about going direct to the listing agent next time?

It seems logical, because listing agents want you to go direct.  They say so right in the ‘Coming Soon’ ads – how many times have you seen this:

“Contact me for a ‘sneak peak’ before it hits the open market!”

But it doesn’t happen as much as it should. At least not yet.

In my last survey of NSDCC closed sales, only 11% had the listing agent representing the buyers too (which includes buyer agents who were spouses or assistants of the listing agent – a common disguise of dual agency).

The root cause is the loyalty the listing agents have to the seller.  Sure, they would like to pocket both commissions, but most agents don’t represent both sides enough to be comfortable with it – let alone be able to sell it.  For many, it’s easier to just rep the seller, and go back to sleep.

If you go direct to the listing agent, these might happen:

  1.  A good listing agent will ask you if you have an agent already.  If you respond ‘Yes’, then they will tell you to stick with that agent.  No decent listing agent wants the reputation of stealing other agents’ buyers.
  2.  If you don’t have an agent, the listing agent (or assistant) will process your order.  Their loyalty to the seller will be evident, so you’ll pay retail and not get many, if any, repairs.
  3.  If it is shady listing agent, you will see the sleaze oozing out right away.

The best-case scenario is that you will pay retail and not get many repairs – which is all you get anyway when buying a superior property.

If you have had a buyer’s agent work on your behalf for weeks or months, stick with them and at least get their objective advice.

Posted by on Jan 3, 2016 in Jim's Take on the Market, Listing Agent Practices, Tips, Advice & Links | 0 comments

Real Estate Tips for 2016

moving tips

Happy New Year!

Are you thinking of selling and/or buying this year?

Here are some ideas to hopefully give you an edge in conquering what usually ends up being the 1% to 2% difference between the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat!

Home Sellers

  1.  The new listing agreement suggests getting a home inspection prior to hitting the market. It’s a good idea; fix what’s wrong in advance, and then give buyers a copy to demonstrate your pride of ownership.
  2.  Know where you are going to move, and only hit the open market when you are 100% committed to selling. You might get an offer the first day.
  3.  Showing the house is inconvenient but necessary – the more you do it, the better your chances.  Be ready to show the house on the day it hits the open market – and expect dozens of lookers to visit in the first 7-10 days.
  4.  Do two things to make a great first impression; spruce up the curb appeal and insist on top-quality photos.
  5.  Be smart about price.
  6.  Ask agents about bidding war strategies, and recent experiences.  Spreading out the offers on your coffee table and picking one isn’t a strategy.
  7.  Avoid gimmicks like range pricing or ‘coming soon’.  A clean, straight-forward approach is attractive to buyers.
  8.  Determine if a company brand name is a benefit or a crutch.
  9.  Real estate ‘teams’ means you get passed around. Make sure to identify who handles the buyer inquiries, and that they are top-notch sales people.
  10. The buyers you want to attract – the ones that pay too much – are represented by lousy agents who don’t know the difference.  Get Good Help – hire a listing agent who can carry any agent to the finish line.

Home Buyers

  1. See more houses in person.  You have to keep your chops up, because low inventory causes complacency.  If all you do is shop online, you’ll look for any reason NOT to buy, and stay home. But there are no perfect houses.
  2.  Start looking at least six months before your lease is up.
  3. There aren’t many rules, and every listing agent is different.  Work with an agent who has a track record getting buyers to the finish line.
  4.  Don’t expect much from sellers regarding repairs.
  5.  Be open to fixers. To get more comfortable, line up contractors in advance and ask for a sample quote so you know what to expect.
  6.  Expand the target zone, but buy in a great school district.
  7.  If affordability is an issue, compromise on size before location. You can always add on later.
  8.  Properly evaluate the negatives, and the appropriate discounts.
  9.  Know what to do in a bidding war.
  10.  Your agent should suggest an offer price, and a strategy behind it.

These are some basic, general tips, but the best thing you can do is to get an experienced agent on your side – someone who is closing at least a sale per month (check at zillow).  I am available, and would love to assist you!

Posted by on Jan 1, 2016 in Bidding Wars, Jim's Take on the Market, Listing Agent Practices, Thinking of Buying?, Thinking of Selling?, Tips, Advice & Links | 4 comments

Preparing Your Home to Sell

2015-08-13 13.31.13

Here’s the best reason to fix and clean your house before selling.

It is irresistible for buyers to add up what they think needs to be fixed, and subtract it from your price.  I-R-R-E-S-I-S-T-I-B-L-E.

Some make a sport of it, with both husband and wife scurrying around to see who can find the biggest flaws – and then attach an approximate cost to fix.

But their number is usually double the actual cost, because they aren’t that familiar with the costs, plus they add extra for the hassle factor too.

If a seller is going to get dinged for the damages anyway, they might as well fix them in advance to help the chances of selling for top dollar.

“Can’t we lower the price instead?”

Buyers don’t want to give sellers any credit for pricing in the condition of the home.  If it needs work, they want a break on the price.  They want to deduct their cost expectations from whatever the list price is, and then double-ding you again once they complete their home inspection.

This didn’t matter as much during the frenzy.  But from here on out, we will be experiencing less-than-frenzy conditions.

P.S. I was serious about removing half of the contents.  Most houses are full of the sellers’ valued possessions, but they look like junk to everyone else.

My specific tips here: Tips on Preparing Home for Sale

Get Good Help!

Posted by on Aug 15, 2015 in Jim's Take on the Market, Listing Agent Practices, Thinking of Selling?, Tips, Advice & Links, Why You Should List With Jim | 0 comments

Constant Evolution

Rob Dawg said, quoting this latines.com article:

“Regular marketing doesn’t work anymore.”

Seems the RE industry is at a crossroads.  Marketing or facilitating.  One need only read the quote and see which way the wind has shifted.

Houses are worth different prices to different people on different days.  Employing a marketing strategy that exploits the initial urgency will produce the max value.

P. S. If all agents offered all the same services, it would force consumers to examine the agent’s expertise and track record.

Posted by on Jul 12, 2015 in Auctions, Commission War, Jim's Take on the Market, Listing Agent Practices, The Future, Thinking of Selling?, Tips, Advice & Links, Why You Should List With Jim | 4 comments