A combination of mine and Leonard’s lists of sweeteners:
In an increasingly competitive environment – especially on the high end – it may be wise to sweeten the package you are selling by including some value or time-savings item.
Some mega-homes include expensive fancy cars or artwork and other gimmicks, but of course those items are factored into the purchase price and often appear as somewhat desperate. Some may want to increase the commission incentive for the buyer’s agent.
It may be wiser to include certain items that are more focused on time-savings…..and something that may have practical value to make a buyer feel there is less to be spent after closing. Here are 10 ideas:
1. A buydown of the mortgage rate probably has the best financial impact – it can last for 30 years!
2. Pre-paid real estate taxes for the first year could be appealing, or paying HOA/Mello-Roos fees.
3. How about $5-10,000 worth of new landscaping, or window coverings?
4. One year’s worth of weekly yard maintenance would be appreciated.
5. $1,000 worth of Home Depot, Amazon, or UBER dollars could be appealing.
6. If a home has gorgeous views and big windows, include a year’s worth of window cleaning.
7. Offer to have the interior painted to colors of the buyer’s choice at closing.
8. Pay for a maid service to come weekly for a year.
9. If the house is staged, offer a price list of all the furnishings that could be bought. The buyer may see great time-savings value in not having to furnish themselves.
10. Lower the price!
These are just some simple ideas that may make your listing more memorable and more appealing to some buyers…..and possibly sweeten the deal enough to make them choose your listing over another one!
Earlier this week the grays were on their way out, but it may take a while. Can you believe that 34% are removing the bathtub? From Houzz:
Anticipating Aging Needs: The majority of baby boomers (ages 55 or older) are addressing current or future needs of aging household members during master bathroom renovations (56%). One-third of boomers are addressing current aging needs (35%), while nearly a quarter are planning ahead for future needs (21%).
Curbless Enthusiasm: Nearly half of boomers change the bathroom layout and one-third remove the bathtub (47% and 34%, respectively). Other upgrades include installing accessibility features such as seats, low curbs, grab bars and nonslip floors in upgraded showers and bathtubs.
The Suite Life: Homeowners are focusing on the master suite as a whole, with nearly half of master bathroom projects accompanied by master bedroom renovations (46%). Master bathrooms command the second-highest median spend ($7,000) in home remodels, behind kitchens ($11,000), while master bedroom spend rivals that of living rooms ($2,000 versus $3,000, respectively).
Premium Features Galore: A surprising one in 10 master bathrooms is the same size or larger than the master bedroom (11%). Beyond size, premium features in master bathrooms are on the rise, with dual showers, one-piece toilets, vessel sinks and built-in vanities showing significant increases in demand in the last three years.
Bathed in Gray: Gray palettes continue to lead in walls and flooring and are increasingly popular in cabinets. Newcomer styles continue to overtake contemporary style, with farmhouse more than doubling in popularity, from 3% in 2016 to 7% in 2018. Matte nickel and polished chrome are the most common metal finishes.
Kayla returned from Manhattan for the long Thanksgiving weekend, and we were talking about the sluggishness in New York City market, which has been going on for 2+ years. By now agents have learned that there’s no use fighting it – you have to learn to adapt.
It was in the year of her birth, 1991, when I experienced my first market slowdown. All I knew was that there wasn’t a buyer for miles, and with a newborn child, I need to hurry up and figure this out!
This is my third time around the block, so I offered her a few ideas.
First let’s acknowledge how it works in a seller’s market. Buyers find a house that is a good fit, and they buy it. Agents might offer up a strategy to get a discount, but for the most part, buyers pay the sellers’ price. It’s binary – it is yes or no, is this the right house? If it is, then pay the price.
Now it’s different, and if you can get a buyer to look at homes, their answer will be the same everywhere – ‘no’. Because they are looking for any reason not to buy – and every house has one – once they find it then it’s game over. But rather than just saying no to every house and never buying anything, let’s take it a step further.
At what price would you be a buyer?
Price will fix anything, and the price itself is usually the problem – it’s too high.
If the buyer would be interested at a lower price, then all you have to do is present a powerful case to the seller and listing agent to see if there is enough motivation to at least listen, and hopefully make a deal.
If you just make a lower offer without justification, I can already tell you what the answer will be: “No, and get off my lawn”.
To get something, you have to give a little. Here are ideas:
Make an clean offer with quick close date. These work best on vacant properties where sellers might be eating an extra payment.
Make an offer using older comps, and point out that the Case-Shiller pricing (or other) has retreated back where it was X months ago.
Make an offer based on the cost of the needed improvements, and include contractor quotes when possible.
In all cases, include a photo of the family and pets, and an introduction that explains the offer. Usually the listing agent will just forward the explanation right to the sellers, so it’s a way to have influence over the outcome. Without an introduction and explanation, the listing agent has to justify the low price himself, and he won’t try too hard and risk looking bad.
We need price discovery!
The only way to find out what the seller might take is to put an offer on the table. It may seem risky to be among the first to take the plunge, but by April/May we should see more people finding a way to make a deal. Those will probably be with the sellers who have been trying to sell for 90+ days, and are tired of the process. Let’s give it a shot!
Punky asked what’s in that “awesome I got everything going for me” house.
These thoughts are culled mostly from conversations with our buyers, personal observations, multiple bidding wars, with an emphasis on investment value and some anticipation of future trends:
1. Location – Because buyers are looking long-term, the flight to quality has never been so active. Buying the best location you can afford will never go out of style. Being in a great school district is smart, even if you don’t have kids.
2. Light and Bright – South-facing homes with ample windows that allow full sun are much preferred. You may have to provide shade in the summertime, but you’ll save on heating bills in winter and overall have a sunnier disposition than those who live in a cave. There will be more push towards solar panels at home, and they prefer a south-facing roof.
Sellers should do more to their properties today to get them sold.
Even those who were nicely updated with the golden Tuscan look or cherrywood floors and cabinets just a few years ago look dated today. Modern photography doesn’t hide it, and in some cases can make it look worse.
Do you remodel the whole joint?
Nobody wants to go too far, but there are modest improvements you can make to help the cause:
New flooring and paint.
New pulls and handles on cabinets.
New towels and towel racks.
New lighting – especially the LEDs.
New sod and landscaping.
Here are a couple of extreme examples but for anyone selling a house that is more than ten years old, your trees are probably overgrown and more of a distraction. The clean, crisp neutral look goes for the exteriors too:
It’s happening everywhere – hackers are stealing funds thought to be wired to escrow companies. It’s a real threat – be careful! Hat tip GW:
James and Candace Butcher were ready to finalize the purchase of their dream retirement home, and at closing time wired $272,000 from their bank following instructions they received by email.
Within hours, the money had vanished.
Unbeknownst to the Colorado couple, the email account for the real estate settlement company had been hacked, and fraudsters had altered the wiring instruction to make off with the hefty sum representing a big chunk of the Butchers’ life savings, according to a lawsuit filed in state court.
A report by the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center said the number of victims of email fraud involving real estate transactions rose 1,110 percent between 2015 to 2017 and losses rose nearly 2,200 percent.
Nearly 10,000 people reported being victims of this kind of fraud in 2017 with losses over $56 million, the FBI report said.
The Butchers, forced to move into their son’s basement instead of their dream home, eventually reached a confidential settlement in a lawsuit against their real estate agent, bank and settlement company, according to their lawyer Ian Hicks.
The problem is growing as hackers take advantage of lax security in the chain of businesses involved in real estate and a potential for a large payoff.
“In these cases, the fraudster knows all of the particulars of the transaction, things that are completely confidential, things they should not know,” said Hicks, who is involved in more than a dozen similar cases across the United States.
Numerous cases have been filed in courts around the country seeking restitution from various parties. One couple in the US capital Washington claimed to have lost $1.5 million in a similar fraud scheme.
Real estate is just one segment of what the FBI calls “business email compromise” fraud which has resulted in some $12 billion in losses over the past five years. But for home buyers, the fraud can be particularly catastrophic.
“In these cases, the loss can be devastating and life-altering,” Hicks said.
Real estate transactions have become a lucrative target for hackers “because they handle a lot of money and because they have employees who are not the most technically savvy,” said Sherrod DeGrippo, director of threat research for the security firm Proofpoint.
Additionally, hackers often do their homework and “sometimes they know more about the business than the employees do,” she said.
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