Should I Have an Open House?

Should I Have an Open House?

When people sell their house, a lot of Sellers think they have to do an open house for it to sell. Others pause and ask, “should I have an open house?” Well, it depends on who you ask. There is the real estate agent perspective and the Seller perspective. Both say, “yes” and both say, “no.” Here’s why. Real estate agents who say, “YES”: Know the property is in a high-traffic location and could produce a Buyer. However, not necessarily a Buyer for this property. Some real estate agents use open houses to pick up new Buyer leads for their business. When marketed well, a real estate agent can produce many leads from one open house. Want to make sure they are doing everything their client feels is necessary to sell the house even if they know it’s unlikely they will get attendees or find the Buyer from an open house. May just want to catch up on their reading or paperwork for a couple of hours while they wait for visitors. Sellers who say, “YES”: Just assume you must do an open house as part of the marketing plan. Feel that their property has the potential to get a lot of traffic and think they may get an interested prospect walk through. Want their real estate agent to do as much as possible to sell their house and feel that an open house is a good way to do that. Real estate agents that say, “No”: Feel that the property is not in a high traffic area and they won’t get many, if any, prospects, except for, perhaps, “nosey neighbors.” Are concerned to hold an open house due to liability of the Seller’s personal belongings or due to personal safety. Sellers who say, “No”: Don’t want random strangers walking through their home without ample supervision. Feel their agent does outstanding marketing outside of open houses and feel that their house would not be a good candidate for selling during an open house. Some Sellers of unique or high-end properties feel that their property is best marketed via word of mouth, print, and online and then having the prospective Buyer set up a private showing. So, should you have an open house? As you can see, there are good reasons to do open houses and then there are good reasons not to do open houses. It really depends on the Seller and the Real Estate Agent and making sure they are on the same page in their ideas and opinions of...

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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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10 Frequently Asked Questions About Real Estate

10 Frequently Asked Questions About Real Estate

  As a Realtor, I get asked a ton of questions. I compiled a list of the top 10 most frequently asked real estate questions and my answers. (Disclaimer: These answers are my personal answers. Different agents and different areas may require different things.) How do you (the Realtor) get paid? In most cases, Sellers will pay a commission to the Listing Broker. That Listing Broker will offer compensation to a Buyer’s Agent. Therefore, as a Buyer, you do not owe a commission for the work a Realtor does for you. In cases of For Sale by Owner properties, some Sellers choose not to offer a commission to an agent. In those cases, a Buyer would be responsible for the Realtor’s fee. Realtors generally don’t get paid unless a closing takes place so all their expenses are paid by them up front and they only get reimbursed and/or paid if someone buys or sells a property. Some people have thought that I receive a salary and that I am reimbursed for my expenses. Most Realtors do a lot of work before ever getting paid and sometimes we don’t get paid at all. Can I be at the home inspection? If you are a Buyer – absolutely. You might want to give the inspector some time to inspect before you get there so he doesn’t get distracted. Getting there for the last 20-30 minutes of the inspection is a good idea so the inspector can walk you around and let you ask any questions you may have about what he found. If you are a Seller – stay away! You may have legal liability to disclose anything you know the inspector finds. Talk to your agent, but typically you do not want to know more than you need to. If you are concerned about security, ask that the Buyer’s agent be at the inspection and/or make sure the inspector is licensed and insured. Do I need to be at the appraisal? No. Appraisals typically take less than 30 minutes. Your Realtor may decide to be in attendance to let the appraiser in and/or give them some comparables, particularly if the property is unique but it is not necessary for you, as the Buyer or Seller, to attend. If you are the Seller, however, you may be at the property if you so choose. You may give the appraiser a list of improvements of the property to help the appraised value. How long does closing take? If you are the Seller, generally, you have very few documents to sign so your closing is about 30 minutes or less. If you are a Buyer paying cash, your closing will be very short as...

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Are Open Houses Worth Having?

Are Open Houses Worth Having?

  The age-old question of real estate, “Are Open Houses worth having?” Well, it depends on who you ask. There is the real estate agent perspective and the Seller perspective. Both say, “yes” and both say, “no.” Here’s why. Real estate agents who say, “YES”: Know the property is in a high-traffic location and could produce a Buyer. However, not necessarily a Buyer for this property. Some real estate agents use open houses to pick up new Buyer leads for their business. When marketed well, a real estate agent can produce many leads from one open house. Want to make sure they are doing everything their client feels is necessary to sell the house even if they know it’s unlikely they will get attendees or find the Buyer from an open house. May just want to catch up on their reading or paperwork for a couple of hours while they wait for visitors.   Sellers who say, “YES”: Just assume you must do an open house as part of the marketing plan. Feel that their property has the potential to get a lot of traffic and think they may get an interested prospect walk through. Want their real estate agent to do as much as possible to sell their house and feel that an open house is a good way to do that.   Real estate agents that say, “No”: Feel that the property is not in a high traffic area and they won’t get many, if any, prospects, except for, perhaps, “nosey neighbors.” Are concerned to hold an open house due to liability of the Seller’s personal belongings or due to personal safety.   Sellers who say, “No”: Don’t want random strangers walking through their home without ample supervision. Feel their agent does outstanding marketing outside of open houses and feel that their house would not be a good candidate for selling during an open house. Some Sellers of unique or high-end properties feel that their property is best marketed via word of mouth, print, and online and then having the prospective Buyer set up a private showing.   As you can see, there are good reasons to do open houses and then there are good reasons not to do open houses. It really depends on the Seller and the Real Estate Agent and making sure they are on the same page in their ideas and opinions of...

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How the Five Senses Can Help Sell Your House

How the Five Senses Can Help Sell Your House

  Clients are always asking me what needs to be done in order to make their house most appealing for potential buyers. If you follow your nose, and your other senses, the answer is quite easy. Here are some ideas on how the five senses can help you sell your house. Sight The first thing potential buyers will notice is the curb appeal. Make sure the lawn is mowed, weeds are pulled and flowers are not dead. The front door area should be swept and the door and handle clean. When entering, they should immediately notice the house is neat and clean. Don’t have the breakfast dishes in the sink or beds unmade. A dirty or messy house can be very distracting to a potential buyer. It’s a good idea to have the house staged – at least making sure that personal items are down to a minimum, there is a good flow without furniture impeding, and that there are appealing colors throughout the house. Sound I have found that soft jazz or light classical or instrumental music is best for this sense. You will never appeal to everyone but these two are the most widely accepted – even getting lost in the background at times. There are a lot of options in how to play music. Some people have speakers in their house. Others have cable or digital television channels that play music. This is much more welcoming than a quiet, cold house. Touch I like to make a home book for sellers. This book may have photos from another season (when flowers were blooming or when snow was covering the ground), Before/After photos of renovations or home projects, property information, utility information, flyers for buyers to take, business cards or contact information for vendors, HOA documents, etc. This can often keep a potential buyer in the house longer, keeping them engaged, giving their other four senses a chance to work! Smell There is good reason that this is the most powerful of our senses. Just as much as there are good smells that can help, there are definitely some smells that can hurt the sale of your house. Let’s talk about the bad first. If there is a foul smell of any sort, it can be detrimental. A good idea is to have a third party give you an honest answer. You may have pets and you may be used to it. You may cook certain foods regularly that stay in the house for a while. This is one thing that a Realtor can help you with and give an honest opinion. There are solutions for odors and it’s very important to address them. Now, on the...

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Top 10 Real Estate Frequently Asked Questions

Top 10 Real Estate Frequently Asked Questions

  As a Realtor, I get asked a ton of questions. I compiled a list of the top 10 most frequently asked real estate questions and my answers. (Disclaimer: These answers are my personal answers. Different agents and different areas may require different things. The best bet is always to ask your Realtor.) How do you (the Realtor) get paid? In most cases, Sellers will pay a commission to the Listing Broker. That Listing Broker will offer compensation to a Buyer’s Agent. Therefore, as a Buyer, you do not owe a commission for the work a Realtor does for you. In cases of For Sale by Owner properties, some Sellers choose not to offer a commission to an agent. In those cases, a Buyer would be responsible for the Realtor’s fee. Can I be at the home inspection? If you are a Buyer – absolutely. You might want to give the inspector some time to inspect before you get there so he doesn’t get distracted. Getting there for the last 20-30 minutes of the inspection is a good idea so the inspector can walk you around and let you ask any questions you may have about what he found. If you are a Seller – stay away! You may have legal liability to disclose anything you know the inspector finds. Talk to your agent, but typically you do not want to know more than you need to. If you are concerned about security, ask that the Buyer’s agent be at the inspection or make sure the inspector is licensed and insured. Do I need to be at the appraisal? No. Appraisals typically take less than 30 minutes. Your Realtor may decide to be in attendance to let the appraiser in and/or give them some comparables, particularly if the property is unique but it is not necessary for you, as the Buyer or Seller, to attend. If you are the Seller, however, you may be at the property if you so choose. You may give the appraiser a list of improvements of the property to help the appraised value. How long does closing take? If you are the Seller, generally, you have very few documents to sign so your closing is about 30 minutes or less. If you are a Buyer paying cash, your closing will be very short as well. If you are a Buyer who is getting a loan, plan to sign papers for almost an hour. Why do I have to be pre-approved? If you are in a Seller’s market, your offer may not even be considered if you do not send a pre-approval letter with your offer. More than that, however, I have had clients that had...

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