Posts tagged Sellers

Photos and Floorplans – A Buyer’s Response to my Monthly Note

4949 Lake Tree Ln First Floor Plan

If the “open rate” for my monthly note is only 2% yet it generates this kind of response, I’ll be happy. I’ll lead with “thank you” to the reader who took a great deal of time to email me this response, and for the three stories her response has generated.

Part 1 of 3 …

This month I asked what you (consumers) would change about the real estate process.

A reader responded – (bolding mine)

I wish house listings included a floor plan, even if it were a rough, not-to-scale, sketch. We’d be able to understand better if a house would or would not work for us if we knew the relationships of the rooms to each other. If the agent/photographer is good, we can sometimes get this from the photos — if they are presented in a rational, spatial sequence, and include the transitions from one space to the next — but the quality of the photos is many times misleading (if they look good) or downright awful.

(It amazes me that owners allow their agents to post pictures that are dark, out of focus, include inadvertent selfies in mirrors, or show clutter and junk that could have been picked up and moved out of the field of the photo for 30 seconds.)

Look – providing floor plans isn’t a difficult task; it’s not inexpensive, but neither are houses.

I noted the advent of affordable floor plan technology in 2010. I hand sketch floor plans all the time – just Saturday I drew for a client a house I’d seen a few days’ prior. From memory on a piece of scrap paper, and it worked (maps are useful when combined with verbal descriptions). I don’t know my older daughter’s phone number (which she’s had for 5 years) but can typically recall the layout of a property I saw five years ago.

I’ve written many, many times (and so have my clients!) – since at least 2007 – about real estate photos. The only thing that will change poor photos being used is for consumers to demand more. I send the photos to my seller clients before using them on anything – I want to make sure they both approve and feel good about how we’re marketing their homes.

I’d love to be able to provide recent examples from the Charlottesville MLS of head-smashingly bad photos – photos so bad I wish I could call the seller and ask them what they’re thinking. In one example, I know the agent consistently takes bad photos, and the seller would have known that if they’d spent 30 seconds researching. That the seller permits these photos to be used is confounding, but there you go.

Floorplans – yes, they cost money. So do professional photographers. So do professional Realtors’ services.

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Sell Now or Wait Until Spring?

flowers have the funniest names

Should I try to sell now or wait until spring?

Therein lies the question as we enter the autumn and winter seasons in Charlottesville. This is the time of year when sellers planning to put their homes on the market in the spring start the process of getting their homes ready for the spring market.

Jonathan Miller pointed out a great article in a New York publication that neatly aggregates some very good responses to this question – “should I sell now or wait?” – all of which are summarized essentially by my default answer of “It Depends.”

Whether you sell now or wait depends on your goals, your flexibility, your timelines, your lives …

A few things to consider:

The market is seasonally slowing right now – fewer homes are coming on the market and fewer homes are going under contract. As a buyer this means less selection, as a seller this means less competition.

– If you decorate your home for the holidays, be prepared to re-take photos after the holidays … few things date a home’s time on market like Christmas photos.

– What’s the market like for your home right now? What’s it likely to be in January-March? What is your competition likely to be? Existing homes? New construction?

– Will the market for your home be stronger in the spring?

A few questions to ask yourself when debating whether to put your home on the market now or in the spring:

– If you sell now, where will you go?

– Where do you want to live?

– What happens if you can’t sell but find a place you want to purchase?

– What do you have to do to get your home ready for the market? Is it a short list or a long one?

– The holidays are by definition disruptive; are you willing to add “trying to sell a home” to the disruptions?

– Are you already looking for homes? Here’s a few tips to search smarter for homes in Charlottesville.

My thoughts

– Talk to a lender now, if you need one.

– Talk to a good real estate broker now to help you get a firm understanding of what your marketing strategy and price should look like

Above all, do what’s going to be most advantageous to you, while still maintaining a semblance of sanity. After all, we’re taking about your home; marketing and selling a home is by definition disruptive. Do what you can to minimize the stress and disruption.

Questions? Ask me . I’m doing quite a bit of consulting right now with sellers who are looking to put their homes on the market in Spring 2014.

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Sellers – Don’t Have Stinky Houses, Take 2

After counting 12 of these in a vacant house I was showing last weekend, I thought re-visiting an old topic was timely.

If you’re selling your house, don’t do this.

Here are five reasons to avoid using air fresheners.

– Smelly things – plug-ins, air fresheners, etc are not good when you’re trying to sell your home.
– They don’t smell good.
– They make buyers question what you’re hiding.
– They detract from our ability to focus on the house because the smell is so overwhelming.
– They’re bad (from a “I’m trying to have my house present as well as possible perspective).

I wrote “Sellers don’t have Stinky Houses” several years ago, and if you’re curious to see how bad video was even a couple years ago, have a look.

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How to Sell a House in 21 Days

Sold by Jim Duncan

I started to write this post in early November, soon after my clients and I ratified the contract on their house and right about when the story was published on the Newsplex. I almost didn’t do the Newsplex story.* (see the end of this post for the rationale)

A few of my rules for real estate:

“Under Contract” ≠ “Sold”:

– “Under Contract” means: “we need to get through the loan application, loan commitment (including appraisal), home inspection and any other contingencies.

Most importantly – What did we do to get a contract on this house in three weeks? Put simply:

1: My clients worked hard. For a long time; we met last year and discussed strategies for getting their home ready to put on the market, the value of pricing the home right, what they needed to do and what I needed to do to prepare for the marketing of their home.

2: We priced it right; tracking the real estate market, the sold competition and most importantly, the active and under contract competition.

3: We worked the first offer we got. One of the real estate truisms is that the first offer is usually the best offer; you might not get another offer.

4: We got lucky with the buyer’s agent; she’s one of the best in the area and that was one of the factors we evaluated when evaluating the offer. I’m probably going to touch on this aspect in a later, separate post, but the quality and competence of the opposing real estate agent matters. If I can advise my clients that there is a reasonable expectation that the transaction will go relatively smoothly in part because the other agent agent is competent, that’s a serious component we evaluate. (as a contrast, if I don’t know or trust the other agent, that’s a factor as well)

5: My clients worked really, really hard and were realistic about the market and their expectations. I can’t emphasize this one enough. Selling a house is hard work – for the sellers and their representation. Being willing and able to work, be realistic and reasonable is invaluable.

6: Lastly – price absolutely matters, but it’s not always the most important factor. (as an aside, my feelings from the linked post regarding other agents’ competencies have shifted quite dramatically as I have gained much more experience; when I wrote that I had been in the business just over three years; now I’m entering my 11th year)

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