HELP! My House Isn’t Selling

HELP! My House Isn’t Selling

  Every once in a while I get a panicked call from a Seller asking what we can do because their house isn’t selling. I take a lot of things into consideration. Of course, location, price, and condition are the three major reasons why a house isn’t selling. If those three are good, I ask deeper questions. If it’s my listing, I have the answers to most of these. If it’s not my listing, I want to know these things. Is the house listed in the local MLS and all the major online “real estate” websites? In the rare case that a Seller is trying to be on the “DL”, this can have a major effect on how many people see the property. Also, some real estate offices do not allow their company listings to automatically be uploaded to Zillow and its affiliates. Like it or not, the more sites that the property is on, the more chance it will be seen and sold. Is the information accurate? I had a past client call me recently. Her parent’s house was listed with a family friend but it was not getting any showings. She wanted to see if I would take a look at the listing and give my feedback. Right away I knew why there hadn’t been any showings recently. There had been a price “reduction” a few weeks prior but what should have been a reduction to $1,200,000.00 was typed in as $12,000,000.00. The house didn’t warrant twelve million dollars and there certainly are a lot less buyers in the market for that price home. Be a second set of eyes for your agent. We all make mistakes. I send the listing to my clients and ask them to look it over. You know the property better than your agent. They may have not included a quality or feature that you feel is very important. I’m not saying do their job for them, but it is a team effort to get a house sold so don’t be shy about making suggestions or asking them to make changes. Are the photographs of professional quality? I have seen hundreds, possibly thousands, of house photos that are taken with a poor quality camera. They often have people or animals in them, or the agent’s image in the mirror. The angles are bad. The color is terrible. And a lot of times, they showcase things that should not be highlighted. Make sure the photos are great quality. As a Seller, make sure the house is as “picture perfect” as possible. Are you allowing showings? If there are too many restrictions or the showing requests are consistently being denied, you have a lot...

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Should I Buy an Opendoor Listing?

Should I Buy an Opendoor Listing?

  You have likely heard of the phrase, “Buyer Beware.” Well, this applies as the answer to the question, “Should I buy an Opendoor listing?” I have shown Opendoor listings. I have read their website. I have read hundreds of reviews and testimonials from buyers and I have talked to other agents regarding this question. The consensus is this in a nutshell: You will not save money You MUST get a home inspection You need to be willing to walk away if they don’t repair agreed-to items prior to closing Many people think that Opendoor is a way to save money. In my research and experience, that is simply not true. Opendoor has a history of buying homes at a discount, charging the Seller extra fees in some cases. They, then, sell the house for market price. They do have a section on their website that indicates they will give $1000 credit to you if you use their preferred lender. You need to weigh the risk of using a lender that they are affiliated with. Everything could go very smoothly – it also could be another way for them to make money and the customer service may not be great. You could have delayed closings and other issues (however, this can happen with non-affiliated lenders as well which is a great reason to use a reputable, local lender that you are referred to by someone you trust. I recommend every buyer get a home inspection. If someone did not want to get a home inspection on an Opendoor listing, I would make them sign a waiver form so I had no liability. All you have to do is read the complaints on the Better Business Bureau website and you will see the common issue buyers have had with Opendoor is the fact that it seems they have a tendency to put “lipstick on a pig.” Continuing with that topic, there are so many reports of the lack of response or timely response when it comes to repairs being completed for buyers. Buyers have complained that their home inspection revealed a plethora of issues and even in negotiating those repairs with Opendoor, they were not repaired properly or not handled at all. With anything, there will be good experiences and bad. Also, most people who have good experiences will not take the time to type up a review but a disgruntled person will make it their mission to sling mud. What you need to decide is, do you want to take the risk to buy an Opendoor listing when there are so many bad reviews. At very least, I would advise you to use a Buyer’s agent to represent you....

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When Selling: Is Opendoor Good or Too Good to Be True?

When Selling: Is Opendoor Good or Too Good to Be True?

When something sounds good, we want to know more. That’s what happened when I heard about Opendoor. I have seen the same advertisements that you have. They will buy your house for cash, you save yourself so much time and you can close almost immediately. My team motto is that we take the stress out of the home sale and home purchase process. So naturally, I was curious. I did some more research and I asked a few people who had personal experiences. So what did I find? Is Opendoor good or too good to be true? Let’s take the good first: Simply put your address into their website and Opendoor will send you an offer on your home within about 24 hours. Their offer is cash. You don’t have clean your house for showings. You don’t have to do any repairs. You do it yourself – no Realtors involved. You can close typically within 10-60 days. Sounds good, right? Let’s see if it’s too good to be true. The rest of the story: Their offer is most often below market value. They do their own inspection of the property and take the cost of any necessary repairs out of your proceeds. They charge 6-13% of purchase price for fees. You don’t have anyone looking out for your best interest. What do you think? When I read these facts, along with personal experiences of known individuals and online reviews, I think there are some real positives if you fit into a specific category: If you need a guaranteed FAST sale/closing. If you are willing to take less than market value. If you DO NOT want to show your house to perspective Buyers. If you DO NOT want competitive offers. If you DO NOT want to have to do any repairs. If you DO NOT see the value of a Realtor. You may fall into one of these categories and that’s OK. Opendoor may be a perfect solution for you. Let’s look at the other side. With a traditional sale, using a Realtor, you are likely get offers for a much higher price than an Opendoor offer and possibly even higher than market value in some markets. This can offset any Realtor fees (and remember, Opendoor charges 6-13%). The offers could be cash. If the Buyer is getting financing, part of the Realtor’s job is to manage the process and make sure the financing is going through smoothly. In certain markets, it only takes one day of showings to sell your house. If you live in this kind of market, you will probably get a higher sale price and shouldn’t sell yourself short, in my opinion. As a listing agent,...

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Tell It Like It Is

Tell It Like It Is

  “I may not tell you what you want to hear, but I am going to tell you the truth.” As a Realtor, this is what I say to clients. I have to say it. I’m obligated. First of all, ethically, I need to. Secondly, I just couldn’t run my business any other way. So why do so many people get lied to during a real estate transaction? Why don’t people just tell it like it is? I think there are several reasons. Some people just want to be liked. Others don’t like confrontation. Still others want to get the business no matter what. I don’t understand any of those. I am hired for my experience, for my market knowledge, marketing, and my negotiation skills. If I don’t tell a client the truth just to get the business, to be liked, or to not have a confrontation, what does that do? A lot, actually. It says a lot about my character. It says that I am not strong enough to take the heat of telling someone something they may not like. It says that when it comes to negotiating and fighting for that client, I won’t do a very good job if I just say what people want to hear. The most common time that people don’t like what I have to say is when it comes to the value of their property. We all think our house is the BEST, right? Of course. And, it may well be. However, just because you spent $75,000 putting in extra insulation and imported tile from Italy, doesn’t mean your house is worth that much more. And, I’m the one that gets to tell you the harsh reality. I like it best, when, on the rare occasion, I get to tell a homeowner that their house is actually worth a lot more than they thought because values have risen more than they realized. I have kept people from selling. I have kept people from buying. I have also lost business because I told people the truth. I would do it all again. At the end of the day, do you want someone who will agree with you and have your house sit on the market? Or you don’t win a competitive offer situation because that agent didn’t tell you that you needed to be able to offer more than list price if you really wanted that house? Some people won’t like it, and that’s OK. If you want to sell, or you want to buy, find yourself a Realtor who will tell it like it is. Don’t go for the “yes” man or woman. A good one can get things done and...

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Refinancing – When and How to Do It

Refinancing – When and How to Do It

  Have you been thinking about refinancing? Are you confused about if you should refinance? Or do you just need to know how to refinance and what’s involved? Well, I’m a Realtor, not a mortgage professional, however, I can give you an overview and things to expect when refinancing. Typically, you want to refinance when the current interest rate you qualify for is lower than the one you currently have. Notice what I just said. Just because you had some low interest rates pop up in an ad on your Google feed does not mean that is the rate you would be getting or that there won’t be other charges to inflate the rate or overall cost. This is where talking to a trusted, local professional can be very helpful. I am not slamming online companies. I have actually had some good experiences with them. I have also had some bad experiences with them – but I have had bad experiences with local banks as well. Anyway, I digress. However you go about checking a rate, make sure to ask all the questions: What interest rate do I qualify for? What type of loan is that based on? Does that loan and rate assume I am paying points? What are the other fees associated? How much will I need to bring to closing? If you remember the loan process when you purchased your house, that is the same thing to expect with a refinance. The only thing I have experienced that is slightly different is that you do not have a hard closing date to shoot for so you will only have a general timeframe of when you will close. The only true date to consider is that your interest rate is only locked for a certain period of time. There are typically several people you will communicate with through the process. A loan officer, processor, an underwriter, a title company, and perhaps even an assistant and someone from the corporate office. In a perfect world, all of the necessary paperwork and documentation would be requested of you immediately upon applying for the loan. The reality is, that is rarely or never the case. As the processor and underwriter go through the process of gathering and approving, there will likely be other documentation they will need to make the final decision and approval. When any of these people ask you for any kind of document, feel free to ask questions, however, chances are, if you want the loan, you will have to provide the information they request. You will have an appraisal done on the property so be prepared to be available to allow access to the appraiser when...

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Here Comes the Sun

Here Comes the Sun

  While it may not seem like the sun will ever shine again and the temperatures will rise, it is happening. The days are already longer. Soon we will see buds popping up out of last year’s mulch, lightning bugs will appear and I will be scratching mosquito bites. Here comes the sun, and with it, home buyers! What can you do to make sure your house looks the best for potential buyers? I have written a lot about how to make your home look great and if you are in the market to sell, you have probably read everything about big projects and must-do’s. So, here are some quick tips for when you getting ready and once you are on the market. Exterior A potential buyer will park and walk up to your house. Take that same route and take a broom with you. Clean up driveways, sidewalks and porches. Some people may not think this is a big deal but it may be one of the first things a buyer sees. Afterall, they will be looking for the address and if your mailbox is in the front, they will see it. Clean it off and, if necessary, apply a fresh coat of paint. Clean up any landscaping around it to make sure it is neat. Above all, just make it neat and clean. You don’t have to plant new things in the ground and wait until everything is blooming. A few nicely placed pots with colorful annuals can dress up an otherwise dull exterior, both in the front and the back of the house.   Interior Pack closets. You’re moving. Start to pack. People need to see space in closets One of the most common requests from Buyers is STORAGE! Don’t make it look like nobody lives there, just make it look like there is plenty of room for everything the Buyer would need to store. De-clutter kitchen. Kitchens have a way of accumulating things we think we need or use on a regular basis. Coffee makers, blenders, toasters, spices, candy jars, fruit and vegetable holders, all seem to make their way onto the counter and never leave. This makes it look like there is not enough counter space or cabinets. If you truly do not use it every day, get it off the counter. If you don’t use it much at all, you may be able to pack it away, otherwise, put it in a cabinet but make sure to be thoughtful in the things you keep handy. Buyers will look in every drawer and cabinet and you want to make sure things are clean, organized, and spacious feeling. Floor space. Toys, shoes, bags, etc. tend...

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