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...

Read More

Puppy Prozac

Puppy Prozac

  Anyone who knows me, knows my love for animals – especially my two dogs. They have been constantly by my side through many things in my life, one for the last 14 years, the other for 9. The youngest one has always been full of energy. She would chase a ball or a Frisbee for hours. At some point, the energy turned a bit negative and she and her “sister” would get into fights. Something would set her off and they would just go at it. Many tears were shed and quite a bit of money was spent on vet visits and trainers. As her behavior worsened, I finally started putting puzzle pieces together.  She had anxiety, and lots of it. I found a trainer that specialized in these behaviors and we discussed medications since behavioral training alone hadn’t seemed to help much. I took her to the vet and they prescribed her what I call “Puppy Prozac”. I felt bad. For a lot of reasons. I felt bad having to put her on a daily medication. I felt bad that I couldn’t help her any other way. But most of all, I felt bad that I hadn’t done it earlier. It took some time for it to take affect but she is much calmer now. It didn’t change her personality as I had feared and it didn’t take away all her OCD and anxious behavior, but I can leave without her tearing things up and there have been no more vet visits because of sibling rivalry. I realized that I was making excuses. I was brushing it under the rug. I didn’t want to admit there was something wrong. I just thought it was her personality and that I would just have to live with it. What I didn’t consider was how much happier she would be once she took a little pill every day. I see this with homeowners. What? Puppy Prozac? Well, not exactly. What I mean is, I see houses that clearly have some issues. Anyone walking in the door would recognize it immediately but the homeowner doesn’t want to admit it. They don’t want to take responsibility, do the work, or spend the money. So, they let it go. And the result is, it doesn’t go away, it gets worse. That hairline crack that showed up a few years ago that has gotten bigger. The door that was sticking that now won’t even close. The wood that was wet that you can now stick a finger through. The gutters that have been clogged and have turned into water running down the wall in the living room. Most of these things would be fairly...

Read More

It’s Fall Y’all!

It’s Fall Y’all!

  You can feel it, finally. The crisp air in the morning and the cooler temperatures at night. Pumpkins on porches, pumpkin desserts, and pumpkin spice in your coffee. Fake spiderwebs that I think are just an excuse to not clean the real ones. Ghosts and skeletons hanging in trees, haunted houses, hayrides and corn mazes. It’s Fall Y’all! With the change of season comes a change of market. Some people would never dream of selling their house anytime but Spring, but let me give you some reasons why you may decide now is the time, and what you need to do if you pull the trigger. 1. It isn’t so hot. I must say, it isn’t such a pleasant experience to show Buyers houses in the heat of summer in the South. You get in a hot car, burn yourself on the seatbelt and leave sweat marks on the seat. You turn on the A/C and get hot air blowing around the cabin. It cools down about the time you are at your next stop and then you step out into the humid heat. You want to look at the outside but you are already sweating profusely. The lock sticks and you struggle to get the door open to get into the cool house. There is a sense of relief once you step inside but the only thing you can think is, “Do you think they’d notice if I took a shower?” Looking in the attic and the crawl space is not something you will want to spend much time doing because of heat and possible critters. So, heat can put a negative feeling in a Buyer’s head about a house that they normally would have given a second look. 2. The kids are back in school. If Buyers have children, it is not necessarily “fun” to take them to see houses. For one thing, they can be emotional over not wanting to move. Secondly, they get bored. They get into things. They want a snack. They need to pee. They want your attention. They want to go outside. Or, they love every house they see and they don’t want to leave any of them. Either way, it can detract the parents from really getting a good look at the house and seeing what they need to. You might not be able to make the best decision or you may miss some things because the kids are around. 3. Colors are beautiful. If the leaves are changing colors, nature has done decorating for you. Oranges, reds, and yellows can add a warm, welcoming feel to a home. Feel free to use pumpkins and fall flowers to decorate but make...

Read More

When to Call it Quits

When to Call it Quits

  Being in the real estate business since 2004 and being the Managing Broker of firm, I have seen, heard, and experienced quite a bit. I never say, “I’ve seen it all,” because just when I think I have, something new happens. But I digress. I would say the main thing I have learned is that not all real estate agents or clients are created equal and sometimes you need to know when to call it quits. One of my agents had a listing that a non-resident buyer had under contract. The Buyer’s agent had a full-time job and couldn’t answer the phone, email, or text about real estate until after 5:00. The lender for the Buyer was not communicating and the agent couldn’t, and the buyer didn’t speak English. The Buyer was jumping through all sorts of hoops to get the loan, doing everything necessary and yet the closing date kept being pushed back – 5 times to be exact. To complicate matters more, the Seller was buying a house whose owner had to sell before they could buy the house they had under contract and that family had to sell to them before they could close on the house they were buying. 4 families were being effected, all sleeping on the floor because they thought they were going to close weeks ago. My agent communicated everything she knew but was not sure she was ever getting the whole story, nonetheless, the truth. She went to the Buyer’s lender’s office (which happened to be his house) and banged on the door, demanding answers, only to be faced with more half-truths and more delays. While she fought for the Buyer that wasn’t even her client, the Buyer’s agent was nonchalant and did very little to help, nor did he feel any responsibility toward the 4 families whose lives were in limbo for weeks. When he was asked to help so his client could close and the others could move forward as well, he refused. My agent stepped in, yet again, and got the deal done for everyone. Most agents would have given up well before it got to that point. This is why it is so important to find a real estate agent that you trust and one that will not only fight for you but fight to get the deal done if that is what everyone wants. If she hadn’t taken the reigns and exhausted herself, 4 families would have had to move back into their homes or continue sleeping on their floors while they put their homes back on the market. On the other side, agents, you need to understand that not all clients are created equal....

Read More

Hurry Up and Wait

Hurry Up and Wait

  I’m in a band. We do a lot of hurry up and wait. If we are playing a private event, a lot of times we will have to have everything set up on stage in the middle of the day and we won’t play until 7:30 or 8:00. We may have to sit and wait for several hours to actually play the show. We often rush to get set up and sound check and deal with malfunctioning equipment and a deadline to make ourselves scarce prior to us playing. Then we wait and wait until finally we get the call that they are ready for us to start. Then the adrenaline starts to kick in and we play sometimes for hours. That is very much how it can be when you are selling your house. You scramble to do paperwork, get repairs done, de-clutter, organize and clean, get the photographs and video, we enter it online and then we wait. We wait for showings. We wait for feedback. We wait for a phone call saying someone is interested and then we wait for their offer. We respond to their offer and then we wait. Once all parties agree, we wait for the inspections and appraisal – holding our breath the whole time. You pack your things and wait for all contingencies to be cleared. Then we wait for the closing date. There could be any number of reasons for a closing to be delayed so you could wait for that. Then you wait to get the call that the coast is clear and you can go to closing. You sign the papers and wait to get your money. If you have an escrow account attached to your mortgage, you will wait for a refund. Hurry up and wait is one of the hardest things to do. I like to set expectations for my clients up front. I want them to know what to expect so that when it happens, they are not surprised or unnecessarily worried. It’s just part of the hurry up and wait of real estate. If you are ready to sell your house, be prepared to be rushed and then be prepared to wait. If you understand that and have patience, you will get through the process a lot easier. You probably have a whole list of other things that need to be happening anyway, so get some of those done while you are waiting. What are you waiting for? Hurry up! Let’s get your house...

Read More

New Kid in Town

New Kid in Town

  What if someone would buy a house for you? With cash. Let you move into it, and then you could buy it from them at the same price and terms as they bought it? Too good to be true? Actually, it’s not. There’s a new kid in town and their name is Ribbon. Ribbon is backed by venture capitalists who wanted in the real estate game. Ribbon saw a gap in needs that were not being met and created a solution. There are plenty of iBuyer-type programs. Those are the programs that will give you an offer on your current home. Typically, the offer is quite a bit less than market value and they charge you fees of, up to around 12% in order to not sell the traditional way. That is certainly one way to go about selling your current home but what if you know it will sell, you just need a bit more time? What if you need to do some painting or some improvements to the house that will be so much easier if you don’t live there? What if you really want to go ahead and move into that new house now so the kids can get settled into school? But wait – you need the money you are going to make from the sale of your current house in order to buy that house. Darn it. You could get a bridge loan, but that takes time and you really don’t want to deal with all the paperwork. Moving into an apartment until you sell the house is an option but that means you are moving twice and that’s not ideal. Staying with friends or family is not really a great solution since you would be inconveniencing them and most of your stuff would be in storage. You could take that lowball offer from Zillow or Opendoor but you need more than what you would net from that for the down payment on your new house. In walks Ribbon. Ribbon will buy the new house for you – with cash! The only contingency in the contract will be inspection. This not only makes your offer better, but they can close within a couple of weeks and you can move in. You will pay rent – just to cover their costs – and you will have 6 months to sell your house and buy the new house back from them at the same terms. Unlike the steep fees that some of the other companies charge, Ribbon charges 1.95% of the purchase price of the new house. Just like the other companies, not all houses will qualify, but it is another great option to explore....

Read More