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Sellers Reports


SELLER'S ARTICLES

 

  • SETTING AN APPROPRIATE PRICE
  • TIPS ON HOW TO SELL YOUR HOME FOR TOP DOLLAR
  • FOR SALE BY OWNER
  • ADVERTISING YOUR HOME
  • THE IMPORTANCE OF A REAL-ESTATE AGENT
  • HOW TO SELL YOUR HOME
  • WHICH IS THE BEST SEASON TO SELL YOUR HOME
  • HOW TO HIRE A REAL ESTATE AGENT
  • LOCATING A REALTOR
  • OPEN HOUSES - DO THEY WORK?
  • NEED A REALTOR?
  • HOW TO SPRUCE UP YOUR HOME

  

THE MOST MONEY FOR YOUR HOME

 When selling a house, we all share the same goal - to sell it quickly and at the highest price possible.

 If you've placed a house on the market, you may have possibly enjoyed the thrill of receiving that first offer. Unfortunately, you may have also experienced the disappointment of a much lower offer, or one that doesn't come for weeks or months.

 Most people buy a house for emotional reasons, most real estate professionals agree. The desire for a comfortable home and lifestyle propels buyers to purchase a specific house.

 The easiest way to understand this is to remember your own experience of purchasing a home. You had some idea of what you were looking for, and you probably clutched a list of desirable features. You may have looked at several houses, but none of them seemed just right. Then one day it happened when you least expected it - there it was. Within minutes you knew this was the one; you were overtaken by a powerful emotion. If two houses are similar, buyers will choose the one that touches them emotionally.

 The same mind-set applies when the roles are reversed, when you are the seller and not the buyer. Only when a buyer "feels" as if your house can be a home will they acknowledge that it could be. The emotion that overpowers the prospective buyer can be compared to love at first sight.

 There are several ways to approach a buyer, but one of the most important ways is to make sure when your house is ready to be placed on the market, it plays to the largest audience. Selling your house should go quickly, smoothly and profitably. Dressing your house to achieve a profitable sale can help you buy your dream home.

 Gerry Bolen, a Realtor with National Realty in Florida, said that the first and most important step to dressing for success is uncluttering.

 

"Clutter makes rooms and the entire house feel smaller. Uncluttering makes every room in your house look and feel more spacious. Your goal is to create a roomy, comfortable feeling that's inviting to prospective buyers,".

 

Uncluttering also means organizing. Show buyers that you have a place for everything and everything in its place. By putting everything away neatly, buyers will feel that by living in your house they, too, could be well organized. Ultimately, less is more.

 Another important step is cleaning - not just everyday cleaning, but a thorough spring-cleaning. According to John Knight with Provincial Real Estate, Inc., "a deeply clean house not only looks great, it feels uplifting, and as new as when you first bought it."

 

Knight also suggests removing any old and stained carpeting and replacing it with light colored tiles to give the impression of a large, clean room. An unclean house will create doubt and apprehension in a prospective buyer.

 If anyone in your household smokes, consider smoking outside, and use a carpet freshening agent each time you vacuum. Singer also suggests burning scented candles or baking a batch of cookies to give your house that homey, lived-in feeling.

 Now that you have done away with the clutter, your house is sparkling clean, and the scent of cookies baking in the oven permeates the entrance to your house, your next step should be to concentrate on repairs.

 A house will not sell for top dollar if any detail, whether large or small, is in need of maintenance. These would include a leaky faucet, a cracked tile, or peeling paint. These may signal a warning to a buyer, creating the fear that larger maintenance problems could be lurking beneath the surface.

 I suggest the seller make a complete list of repairs, small and large. Look at the house through the buyer's eyes. Replace any cracked or broken window panes, repair wood rot, re-caulk where needed, patch all cracks and nail holes, replace missing or loose tiles, replace old carpet, tighten loose doorknobs, and lubricate squeaky hinges. These fix-ups will ultimately help you receive the offer you want.

 And, finally, a word about a beloved member of your family: your pet. Pets that live in your house will make a strong, possibly negative statement. Research shows that half of all potential buyers are either allergic to, dislike, or are afraid of pets. While your house is on the market, keep Fido outside as much as possible. If that's not possible, be sure to clean, vacuum and neutralize odors daily to keep your house smelling fresh. Consider asking a neighbor to watch your pet in their home while you're showing your house to prospective buyers.

 There is no magic to getting the most for your home. Every house will sell;, eventually - it's just a matter of when and for how much. It only takes one buyer, but which one? You decide.

 

 SETTING AN APPROPRIATE PRICE

 At any given time, three general factors affect the sale of your house: the current real estate market, the location of your property, and the competition - other houses like yours competing for the same buyers. These three factors are always in flux. For example, interest rates rise and fall; neighborhoods lose or gain cachet; similar houses suddenly arrive on the market; and the pool of active buyers changes. No one can control these factors, and you cannot wait until all the conditions are absolutely perfect to sell your home. Smart sellers don't put themselves at the mercy of these factors - they maximize conditions to their advantage.

 Let's review the three factors mentioned above: market, location and competition.

 Market

Packaging will make your property stand out from the competition whether the market is booming or not. In a buyer's market (where there are more houses than buyers), preparing your home is the best way to make it memorable and easy for buyers to recall at the end of a long day of house-hunting.

 Location

We've all heard it before, "location, location, location" is important. If your house is in a less-than-ideal location, you can't move it. If that's the case, try to make the most of it. Turn your house into the most appealing house in that location. Remember that if your house doesn't stand out, another will, and it will get top dollar.

 Competition

When a number of houses with similar features are on the market, yours needs to shine. If two houses are similar in structure or layout, buyers will choose the one that feels as if it could be their home.

 Now that you have considered the above factors, how do you decide how to price your house?

 Well, there isn't an exact formula to arrive to a magic number, only a price range. Why? Because houses are a commodity subject to the laws of supply and demand, and market conditions keep changing. Prices rise when there are more buyers than sellers; they decline when there are more houses for sale than buyers. The availability of mortgage money also affects sales, but ultimately what the buyer feels about a house is what determines the price he'll pay. While the buyer determines the selling price, you establish the listing price of your home.

 When you put a house up for sale, there is a high probability that the asking price will be lowered. The key is knowing when to lower and how much to lower. Keep in mind that timing is everything. If you have had your house on the market for some time and as a last minute effort decide to lower the price, it may not do you much good.

 

It is during the first two weeks when your home will get the most traffic. This is when the home is fresh on the market and in its peak sale time. If you wait too long to bring down the price, the current buyers will have already seen the house and won't necessarily show new interest.

 

That doesn't mean that another group of buyers won't come along, but buyers are bunched in price ranges. Therefore, in order to grab the attention of the next price range of buyers, you would probably have to make a significant reduction.

 

To arrive at a realistic listing price, research your competitor's pricing. Find out what similar houses have sold for recently as well as what "comparables" haven't sold to give you a good idea of the price buyers are and are not willing to pay for houses similar to yours. Remember, a buyer will be looking at a number of houses with similar features and amenities.

 Usually the specific features in your house will determine its price range. For example, a three-bedroom, one-bath house in a certain neighborhood will sell for less than a three-bedroom, two-bath house in the same neighborhood because buyers are willing to pay more for a second bathroom.

 Pricing your home can be very emotional for the entire family. How do you put a dollar amount on memories? Many sellers are offended if the market value of their house does not reflect their emotional attachment. However, you need to consider that buyers won't pay for your memories - they don't qualify as a feature.

 Don't overprice your house - that usually backfires. As mentioned above, the first two weeks a house is on the market is when the most serious pool of buyers arrive ready to buy. They've done their homework. They won't buy a house that's overpriced. If a buyer is interested in your home, they still have to secure a mortgage. In order to obtain that mortgage, your home has to come back appraised at the asking price. An example would be if you were selling your home for $100,000 but the appraisal came back at $95,000. In this case, the deal would fall through or you would have to lower the asking price to match the appraisal.

 If this happens where the deal falls through and your home has come out of escrow or, it stays for sale on the market longer, the chance of it taking longer to sell has greatly increased. So, if you are the seller of a house, make sure you either get an appraisal first, or work with a qualified real estate agent who can guide you into an appropriate asking price.

 Finally, it's your responsibility to price your house so that it will sell quickly and profitability.

 

 ADVERTISING YOUR HOME

 OK, so you've decided it's time to sell your home. There are many reasons for wanting to sell a home. Maybe the company your spouse works for is relocating, or your spouse got that well-deserved promotion, but in order to get the promotion, he needs to move to another part of the state or the country. Perhaps your kids have grown and moved away, and you find that the house you bought ten or fifteen years ago when your kids were young is now too big for just you and your spouse. Or, maybe you're a young couple who needs to sell your smaller home and buy a larger one to accommodate your growing family's needs. The reasons for selling a home are endless.

 So what now? Do you try to advertise the home yourself or should you go through a realtor? The most common reason people give for selling their home themselves is because they are either unwilling or unable to pay a real estate agent a commission for selling their home for them. Whatever your reasons for selling your home alone, you first need to understand a few things.

 You are about to do something that a good many people think they can do, but give up trying after just a few weeks. Most people give up because they don't realize from the beginning the extent and complexity of the task ahead.

 Here are several sobering statistics of which you should be aware:

 The vast majority of For-Sale-By-Owners (over 87%) will list with a real estate broker within the first 6-8 weeks.

 Over 22% of For-Sale-By-Owners will never sell at all.

Less than 8% of all For-Sale-By-Owners will sell their houses without outside help; in most cases this means a real estate agent's help.

Whether you are selling your home yourself or are teaming up with a real estate professional, a home-selling experience should go quickly, smoothly and profitability. If you think you might want to try selling your house yourself, take a moment to look realistically at what's involved. Ask yourself the following questions:

 1. Can I afford the time it could take to sell my house with only a sign in the yard and an ad in the local paper? Consider that most buyers learn about a house through an agent, not the newspaper.

 2. Am I able to stay home to take calls and conduct tours? This is very important and a sure way to lose possible buyers if you're not at home when they call.

 3. Do I know how to screen inquiries so as not to waste precious time showing my house to unqualified buyers? Most agents pre-qualify a buyer before showing a home.

 4. Do I know what to do before putting a house on the market?

 5. Am I familiar with disclosure laws or local inspection regulations?

 6. Am I familiar with the necessary legal and financial knowledge to answer buyer's questions, negotiate a contract and close a sale? The reason a listing agent is brought into the picture for someone selling their home is to be assured that their home is being marketed correctly in magazine ads, newspapers, and real estate listings.

 Although these listings will help to sell your home, they do more than that. This type of advertising creates phone calls, which in turn becomes clients. This cycle helps build a pool of homebuyers looking for property, all represented by a selling agent. As you start to multiply this by all the agents and all the companies who advertise homes, you will find a large pool of homebuyers at any given time, all represented by selling agents.

 Because your home is listed in the Multiple Listing Service, or MLS, these agents are aware that your home is for sale.

 Agents then match up clients with homes on the market, one of which might be yours. This is when agents start showing homes to buyers, and before you know it, you get a contract.

 So remember that ads create buyers - they don't sell homes.

 You can pretty much be guaranteed that the person who ends up buying your home has seen it advertised in a flyer, newspaper listing, or the MLS. Even though you know there are pools of buyers out there, it is still important that your agent list your home to keep that building.

 Because listings are often created to make an agent look more impressive, don't make the mistake of basing your choice for an agent on the number of listings they have, but what you can determine if how hard they work and the level of their buyer pool.

 Even with all the advertisement media, word of mouth is still the best type of advertisement there is. Friends, family, and neighbors will always be your best bet for getting word out about your house.

 Another tool your agent should use is hosting an open house. In this situation, your house is advertised as having an open house, usually on a Saturday or Sunday, when most people are available to look at homes. Your agent will be at your home all day greeting visitors who have come to walk through to see if they are interested in your home. There might be cookies and coffee served, and the agent will provide a guest book to keep track of names as another method of networking and building the buyer's pool.

 If someone does visit your home during an open house, even if they aren't interested, they may know of someone else who would be - again, another way for word of mouth advertising to work for you.

 Finally, open houses can be used at the beginning of your home going on the market as way of introduction and then again after your home has been listed for awhile to hopefully start movement if showings have been slow.

 No matter what type of advertisement is used, make sure your agent keeps it fresh and noticeable. The more your home is advertised, the more people will know it's for sale, which increases the chance of it being sold quickly.

 

 THE IMPORTANCE OF A REAL-ESTATE AGENT

 When looking to buy or sell a house, many people try to go without a real-estate agent. This decision may seem like a "money saving" step, but it could actually end up costing you thousands of dollars in the end, even though you feel like you're saving money. An agent could also save you from making severe mistakes or stressful situations caused by contract negotiations, contingencies, and other situations that you are not prepared to deal with. A real-estate agent will handle the following issues when you are buying or selling your home, as well as handle many other duties, that should make your buying or selling of a home, easier on you.

 

 Selling a Home

 Your agent will:

-advertise your property to other agents and possible buyers searching the MLS (multiple listing services)

 -provide peace of mind as you continue to do the many other things that your life involves. Whether it be looking for a new home to buy, pack, or continue in your daily line of work, your agent will take care of all the critical parts that involve selling your home.

 -schedule times for showings, open houses, walk throughs, appraisals, etc.

 -provide you with information regarding the market, proper pricing, financing, and what other properties that are similar, are for sale as well. (This is good to be aware of for your negotiating purposes. This will either make your property more valuable, or force you to change your "market price". Your agent may also provide a time frame in which your house will be sold.

 -answer questions that arrive during the selling and closing process. Each potential buyer may have things that they would like inspected, repaired, or adjusted (including the price). Your agent will best be able to answer each question and work with you in reaching a reasonable agreement for each question or issue.

 -market or advertise your house to the best of their ability using their marketing strategies. Real-estate agents are trained with knowledge in marketing tactics. They also should have a good client base already established, therefore, much of your possible buyers may come your way by word of mouth. Your agent will most likely have a website established as well, which means that your listing is probably going to be posted on his/her site.

 -evaluate each potential buyer on whether they are qualified or not. When a buyer comes forward with a bid that meets your requirement, your agent will begin the process of selling your home. This is not a simple 1-2-3 process, so be aware that it may take longer than you expected.

 -draw up a contract for the prospective buyer, as well as negotiate, making offers and counteroffers.

 -assist you with contingencies based on the contract that was drawn up. This may include repairs, inspections, installation, clean up, etc.

 

Buying a Home

 Your agent will:

 - help you in finding your range that you, as a buyer, will be comfortable in purchasing. They will look at the amount you are able to borrow, what your income provides, and what you have saved already. From this point, they can also direct you to a lender who is best suited to help you.

 - investigate the market using different search methods in order to come up with the best homes that fit your desired descriptions. That may include school location, job location, house size, house style, features, and location.

 -negotiate on your behalf. Negotiating is more than just talking numbers. There are many factors involved, which your agent is used to dealing with. Because your agent is familiar with this process, his/her tactics will be better suited in getting the house down to the best price, according to your range that was established using your income, down payment, and lending resources available to you. They will make offers and counteroffers in order to keep the home in your price range.

 -be responsible in providing services for your home (future) inspection of such things as; structure, septic, etc. This does not mean that they pay for these important tests. It simply means that they will look out for your best interests in arranging or helping to arrange these tests.

 -walk you through the final piece, which is known as the "closing" and make sure that everything is taken care of before your purchase is finalized. This would include the tests that were done to your house-which should include written or printed reports for your ease of mind as documentation that they were done.

 

 HOW TO SELL YOUR HOME

 "No matter what I do, I just can't sell my home," you exclaim!

 Actually, most homes can be sold in today’s market in a reasonable amount of time, generally within two or three months, and most sellers are getting close to their asking prices.

 There are eight steps in selling a home. If you’re having a problem selling your home, review the following to try and determine where the problem lies:

 

 * STEP 1 - ANALYSIS: The critical element is to correctly predict the price your home will bring in current market conditions. When you get the expected value of your home wrong, you're in for trouble from the start. The typical problem is that a home is priced too high for the market. This is the case for the majority of homes currently for sale. It is either the fault of the agent, the seller or both. You decide.

 

 * STEP 2 - MULTIPLE LISTING SERVICE WORDS AND PRICE: The data entered into the Multiple Listing Service computer will affect the number of times your home's information appears in other agents' computer searches of properties to consider. It will also determine whether your home will be shown to a prospective buyer. Carefully review the words and the price.

 

 * STEP 3 - TRAFFIC: A home needs at least three or four showings weekly in order to confirm that it is "in tune" with the market. If few agents call to show your home, the problem is certainly in steps 1 or 2 above.

 

* STEP 4 - REMEMBERING: It is important that the buyer is able to remember your home. The brochure he or she has picked up in your home will help. It is critical at this stage for the buyer to rank your home among the best of the 30, 40 or 50 he or she has seen and to keep it under active consideration. Be sure your home's brochure is well prepared.

 

 *STEP 5 - RETURN FOR A SECOND VISIT: If the buyer decides to return for a second visit, either he or she has forgotten some detail or, more likely, your home is on his or her "short list." It is most important to alert your agent promptly and to put your home's best foot forward at such a critical time.

 

 * STEP 6 - THE OFFER: When you receive a written offer, your home is almost sold: At this point most buyers have decided your home is the one. But be careful: Many will have a second choice, and a good buyer-broker will not forget to mention this when the contract is presented.

 

 * STEP 7 - AGREEMENT: Assuming you have a serious buyer and you have avoided an emotional conflagration, you will come to an agreement. What is said during negotiations is often less important than how it is said. What is not said can be critical.

 

 * STEP 8 - REMOVAL OF CONTINGENCIES: Although you can hit a bump or two at this stage, they normally are not fatal. Possible problems that can surface very late in the game are a low appraisal or lack of loan approval and the home inspection. While these are serious problems indeed, they can usually be resolved with the help of experienced agents.

 So there you have it. There's no excuse for not selling your home. You and your agent should be able to pinpoint and resolve any problem. Save time and fix the problem today.

  

WHICH IS THE BEST SEASON TO SELL YOUR HOME?

Realizing the time has come to sell your home can create mass confusion. Timing is everything in real estate; however, some also believe one season is better than another to sell your home.

 If you ask a real estate professional when you should sell your home, most will say, "Now is the best time to sell your home".

 Real estate today is a year-round business, and most agents will agree that they do nearly as much business in December as in June.

 If that is the case, then how do you decide which is the best time of year to list your home? Each season has its own characteristic. Let's review each one.

 According to most real estate professionals, spring is the busiest time of the year for buyers and sellers -- spring offers the opportunity to showcase their home at its best. There's always something nice about listing your home when it's not too hot or too cold out and the air is fresh.

 If you have a green thumb, summer might prove to be the best time to show off your garden. Potential buyers come through houses looking for such amenities as a well-cared-for garden. Also, if your kids are away for the summer, you might be able to keep their rooms clean from one showing to another. If you have central air, this season is also a great time to show it off. This is also a great time to boast about any access to summer recreational activities such as a beach, a lake, or community tennis courts or swimming pools.

 

A possible downside to showing a house in the summer is that most kids are home, and you'll have to work harder to ensure their rooms are maintained clean enough for buyers to get through them.

 Even though falling leaves could make for extra work in the fall, with children back at school, daytime showings might be easier to accommodate. The tax benefits of home ownership can be a push for homebuyers to get into a new home by December 31.

 Fall is historically a shorter selling season. A home that doesn't sell in the fall can be stigmatized as being held over on the market until the New Year. An old listing number in the MLS can give buyers the misleading impression that a home has been on the market for a long time and the seller might be willing to accept a lower offer.

 

Real estate professionals agree that only the most motivated buyers and sellers are active in the market during the winter season.

 If you decide to sell your home in the winter, expect the unexpected. You will come across buyers who want showings at odd hours, or during your family holiday parties. At this time of year, you can expect potential buyers to track mud, snow, and salt through your home

 In conclusion, how do you decide which is the best season to sell? As discussed, every season offer some pluses and minuses. If you want to list your home in the spring, you might want to list in mid-January, rather than waiting for February or March. On the other hand, you might get even more attention if you wait until mid-March, when many of the spring houses have already come on the market and buyers are hungry for something new.

 Real estate is an industry of immediacy. It's always a good time to sell your home if the price is right, no matter what the season.

 

 Keys To Selecting The Right Agent

If you're considering buying a home, you may have a number of things on your mind: finding a house that suits your budget; locating a house in the right school district; deciding on the right floor plan. While all of these things are important, the single most critical decision you have to make when home-shopping is which realtor you will choose. It's true, you could go it alone, but without proper representation, you'll be at a distinct disadvantage, not only in negotiating a deal, but also in finding the right house.

 For your sake and the sake of your family, it's best if you work with an agent. An agent can help you locate properties for sale in the neighborhood you desire. He or she can also provide valuable advice during the "looking stage"; your agent is likely to notice things that you don't and therefore could end up saving you a great deal of money. In addition, since chances are the seller will be represented by an agent, you'll want an agent there to look out for your best interests.

 Once you make the decision to retain an agent, the next decision you'll have to make is whom to choose. This is not as easy as it might appear. You'll want to do more than just flip through a phone book to find a name. You'll need to do some homework to make sure you select an agent who's right for you.

 Given this fact, there are a number of questions you should ask when agent-shopping. Find out how long the agent has been in the field. A more experienced agent is likely to give you better service and greater attention to detail. Also, ask how much of the agent's work involves representing buyers. This will give you a clue about whether the agent is likely to ask the right questions throughout the buying process.

 Ask for references, specifically, the names and phone numbers of about a half-dozen buyers the agent has represented in the last six months. If the agent is readily willing to give you this information, it shows his or her confidence and provides some indication of trustworthiness. Once you have the contact numbers in hand, be sure to follow up by making calls. You can find out whether the agent was responsive, helpful, and knowledgeable. And who would know better than the clients he or she has represented?

 Also, ask the agent if he or she will have information about "For Sale By Owner" properties. You'll want to ensure that you get a chance to view a wide variety of properties so that you can make an intelligent decision about which home is right for you.

 In addition, ask the agent about credentials. Has the agent had specific training related to the unique needs of buyers? Does he or she hold special accreditation? Any agent who is not willing to share this information with you is probably not worth dealing with.

 Another important question is whether the agent has a list of lenders, home inspectors, and contractors that he or she likes to work with. It will certainly save you time, and probably money, if you can rely on your agent to supply this information rather than trying to hunt it down yourself. The answer to this question will also give you an idea as to whether the agent is knowledgeable about the community.

 

OPEN HOUSES – DO THEY WORK?

 For many people, running an open house is an efficient way of getting the most exposure to sell a house, in the shortest amount of time. Whether you sell real estate part-time or full-time, open houses allow a great networking opportunity for real estate agents, real estate brokers, and buyers. There are pros and cons for open houses.

 Everyone agrees that open houses can only be helpful for so long. In most cases, an agent will have not more than two open houses per house. A rule of thumb is that if a house has not sold by the time the second open house rolls around, you might need to rethink their selling strategy.

 A good open house that is well planned and organized.If it is not well organized, it can be a complete waste of time for everyone involved. To be successful, change the focus of an open house from reactive to proactive.

 Many real estate agents tease about the "3P approach." This approach consists of placing an ad, pounding directional signs in the ground at the corner, and pray someone shows up.

 The reactive scenario would be that a potential buyer shows up at the house, and is greeted by you. You inform the prospective buyer that if they have any questions to let you know, you take a comfortable seat on the couch, and wait. This is not going to help getting the house sold.

 A proactive approach plays out where potential buyers show up and you first start by introducing yourself, handing out your business card. Next, you provide the buyers with an informational or spec sheet, summarizing the amenities of the house as well as any warranties. At this point, you have a wide open door to answer questions and "show" the house to the interested parties.

 To have a well-rounded open house that reaches out to as many people as possible, some things you can do include:

 · Invite Friends and Neighbors- Get in touch with past clients, family members, friends and acquaintances to provide them with the open house information and invite them to stop by. This shows everyone contacted that you are interested in keeping in touch and again, provides great word of mouth advertising. Although some sellers are uncomfortable with neighbors coming to their home, there are advantages in that one of them may know of someone looking for a home just like yours.

 · Directional Signs - When putting up directional signs at the corners, if any of the corners are actually a part of someone's property, you should ask permission before the sign goes up. Not only is this considerate but it also makes a connection and could spark some interest in that neighbor learning more about the sale of the house.

 · Be Ready - It is imperative that you be prepared to firm up an offer there on the spot. If the right buyer walks in and falls in love with the house immediately, you do not want them to walk away without making an offer. When you think about it, there are two primary reasons open houses are offered - to attract prospective buyers in general and find a buyer for a particular house.

 With technological advances, there are new options for hosting an exceptional open house. Here are some ways in which technology can help:

 · Use the strength of networking with other agents. Compile e-mail lists of sales associates as a means of spreading the word. However, before anyone's name is added to an e-mail list, you need to obtain permission to avoid spamming. Prior to the open house, send out photos or actual invitations to attend in person or to take a virtual tour on the Internet. · Involve prospects interested in the house. Using a digital camera, take photos of the house and then e-mail interested parties the photos. Keeping the house fresh in a person's mind will help increase the potential interest level.

 Many agents feel strongly that open houses are a tradition and sellers expect it as part of the deal, another form of advertising. Open houses in big cities or suburban communities have become a part of Saturday or Sunday afternoons. Often people will go to open houses whether buying a home or not. Even if someone comes through not interested in the house, this is yet another media for advertising. For example, a couple is visiting open houses as something to do on a Saturday afternoon. They walk into one particular house and immediately think of a family member looking for a house. Each time a house is shown, one more person is aware of its existence.

 One advantage of an open house is that it keeps sellers alert, meaning that they know their home has to be in order (clean, maintained) since a buyer could walk through in an hour's notice.

 Another positive aspect of open houses is that they provide good feedback. This is a great way to learn information from potential buyers about comparisons for other homes and pricing.

 Cons

 Some agents and brokers view open houses as a waste of time for sellers and buyers alike. The concerns are that many people who come to open houses are first-time buyers, meaning they may not even have the proper credentials for going to an open house and making an offer. They are usually strapped for cash and struggle with down payments and closing costs.

Another down side is that because not everyone visiting open houses are in the buying market, you end up with neighbors who have never been inside your home being curious or sellers checking out the competition. However, remember, it only takes one person - the right person.

 Offering an open house is a decision that needs to be agreed on between you and the seller. When weighing out all the odds, open houses still offer a great networking system, security to the buyer, and excellent visibility.

 

HOW TO SPRUCE UP YOUR HOME

 Before selling your home you should take a fix-it inventory of your house to see what needs to be done to prepare the house for sale. After all, you may be OK with the worn spot in the carpet in the den, but your buyer may not.

 Fix-ups don't have to be expensive. Below are a couple suggestions that you can handle when you're pressed for time and money.  It’s always best to take care of these as soon as possible, before you’re ever considering the sale of your home.

 * BATHROOM: This room is the one that can be rejuvenated for the least amount of money. A new medicine cabinet, for instance, with better lighting and larger storage capacity can give your bathroom a complete new look. Cost: $150 or less.

 The shower is for more than just keeping the dirt off. It also provides a wake-up call, gives you relaxation and a place for pure, hot satisfaction. A new shower head can do wonders. You may find that in one house the water pressure is so high that it can literally throw you up against the wall. Or, perhaps worse yet, a water pressure so low that you have to run around in the shower to get wet. A replacement shower head (complete with four settings) may cost $39 or less and takes less than 10 minutes to install.

 If you're in a 25- to 30-year-old home, more than likely you have those pseudo-chrome-plated towel racks that are more fitting to a gymnasium than a home bathroom. Towel racks run as low as $10 and can help you refit the whole look.

With these few changes in the bathroom, this part of the house is ready for when you want to sell, and you'll even get a chance to enjoy the new look before you hand over the keys to new owners.

 * PAINTING: Applying a new coat of paint to the interior can do wonders for the look and feel of your house. Painting is one of the most inexpensive makeovers, yet one of the most effective. A couple of cans of good paint run about $50. Additional equipment (brushes, rollers, drop-cloths, etc.) will cost between $30 and $50, and, in a day, you've given one of your rooms a complete new look.

 Every homeowner ought to budget the time and money to paint the exterior on a regular basis. Painting your house every two to three years keeps the exterior in good condition and provides you with the opportunity to inspect more closely the parts of the house you normally would not get access to on a regular basis, such as the eaves and overhangs.

 While it would be difficult to paint the whole house for under $200, try attacking the trim first. With a couple of cans of paint, you could probably take care of the shutters and door. A fresh coat of paint on these items does wonders for the look of the rest of your house. In addition, who says you have to paint the whole house at once, anyway?

 These are just a couple of things you can to spruce up your house.  Don’t forget your Honey-Do list that has probably been hiding in a drawer somewhere.  Take it out, and look at it – it’s a great place to start when considering sprucing up your home.  You’ll be surprised at how a quick fix here and there will make your house look almost new again!

 START YOUR HOME SEARCH AT  FreeStThomasInfo.com      

 
 

*special thanks to Scott Irvin, a top Remax Agent in Doylestown PA for his assistance with these reports

courtesy of Elgin Realty (1991) Ltd. Brokerage, 527 Talbot St. St. Thomas, On. 519-637-2300

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