Archive for February, 2010

Staging DOES make a difference!

Thursday, February 25th, 2010

Before

After

Before

After

I was talking with fellow agents in my office this week, and I heard an interesting story. One agent who is also a ‘stager’ of homes, had just picked up a listing that was previously on the market for 5 months with another agent. As she walked through the home, she made suggestions to them about how make their home more marketable. She had them tear down any wallpaper and re-paint with a warm neutral color. They replaced all of their shiny brass light fixtures and plumbing hardward with brushed nickel or oil rubbed bronze. They installed new stainless steel appliances. They also un-cluttered their house by removing a piece of furniture from every room and making sure surfaces like kitchen and bathroom counters were clean and clear of normal everyday ‘stuff’. The results were amazing, and the house has had multiple offers within the first few weeks at a higher price.

Realtors – Not Your Typical Salesman

Friday, February 19th, 2010

Many people use the terms Realtor and real estate agent interchangeably, not knowing there is a significant difference between the two.

Realtors are members of The National Association of Realtors, and therefore adhere to its Code of Ethics. Most people are not even aware that such a code exists, and in fact consider Realtors to be glorified used car salesmen who are just trying to sell something. But the importance of The Code of Ethics should not be undermined. It enforces lawful and quality practices that clients consider essential when trusting someone to assume the responsibilities related to buying and selling a home. This is not to say that real estate agents do not strive to observe these same practices, but there is no “higher power” that holds them responsible.

If buyers and sellers know and understand this Code of Ethics, they can better understand their Realtor’s practices and establish trust in the quality work they contend with. Clients can ask their Realtor about the Code of Ethics at any time and failure to comply with the code will result in disciplinary action toward the Realtor.

The seventeen articles in the code were created to ensure that the client’s best interest is at heart in all business dealings either with the client or with real estate agents. Duties to customers and clients include disclosure of any fee or financial benefit from a recommended product or service, integrity when dealing with funds and contracts and honesty with all facts relating to property or transactions.

To the general public, Realtors must maintain equal and professional service despite age, race, religion or handicap and be honest about their knowledge base, consistently striving to keep up-to-date on real estate trends. The code also enforces truthful advertising and representation of themselves and their properties.

Finally, the Realtors have a responsibility to one another, outlined in the code as speaking well of one another, respecting the exclusive representation of brokerage relationships of other Realtors and to mediate financial disagreements.

Take a look at a summary of the code yourself. Everything outlined in this document is most likely what the general public hopes and expects of their Realtor or real estate agent.

Knowing a Realtor is held to these standards should give clients a sense of security as they make important decisions concerning their home; and trusting in a Realtor – in their guidance and value of moral law – buyers and sellers should truly know they are in good hands.

So You’ve Decided to Buy a Home…

Tuesday, February 16th, 2010

What you should know about Buyer representation

How often do you purchase real estate? Once, twice, three times in your lifetime? So you can hardly be expected to know all the ins and outs of such a major transaction complicated by so many details. In most transactions, sellers are represented by a listing agent who minds these details and their client’s best interests. As a buyer, don’t you also want complete and fair representation in your real estate transaction? Real estate buyer’s representatives are responsible for protecting the best interests of their clients…buyers like you…and can guide you through every step of the process. So the first step, and perhaps the most important, is finding your buyer’s representative.

What is a Buyer Representative?
Defined most simply, a buyer’s representative (or buyer’s agent) is an advocate for the buyer…not the seller…in a real estate transaction. Buyer’s representatives in Nebraska owe full fiduciary (legal) duties, including loyalty and confidentiality, to their buyer-clients and keep their best interests in mind through the entire transaction. It is also a good idea to look for an Accredited Buyer Representative (ABR). These three letters after a Realtor’s name is a designation held solely by agents who have met the educational and practical requirements set forth by the Real Estate Buyer’s Agent Council (REBAC) and who demonstrate skills and knowledge to best represent homebuyers.

Why Should I Use a Buyer’s Representative?
The two most important reasons to use a buyer’s representative are protection and efficiency. Most likely, the seller, or in the case of new construction, the builder, of whatever property you buy will be represented by the listing agent who can provide expertise throughout the transaction, although the listing agent is working for the seller, not you, the Buyer. Don’t you want the same kind of service as a buyer? A buyer’s representative can provide you with the expertise you need through the entire transaction, without a conflict of interest, and keeping your best interests in mind.

What does it cost to use a Buyer Representative?
The buyer pays no commission to the buyer representative. The seller of the property, or the builder in new construction purchases pays the commission due the agent. It’s like having your own personal assistant making sure the transaction goes smoothly, and putting your buyer’s interests first. And best of all…the buyer pays no commission.

If you’re interested in being represented in your new home purchase, please contact me.

Effective Pricing Ensures More Efficient Home Sales Process

Wednesday, February 10th, 2010

Ineffective pricing is a primary reason why homes do not sell. If a home is listed above fair market value, it won’t get showings; and with few showings it’s not likely to be sold. The seller must see their home from the perspective of a potential buyer and realize it is only worth what someone else is willing to pay for it.

A key aspect of pricing a home effectively is to price it fairly at the beginning of a listing. Sellers run a risk when having their home on the market for an extended period of time, since the bulk of buyers will show interest when a home is first put on the market. If the asking price is initially too high and the home doesn’t sell, potential buyers down the line may wonder why no one wanted the house months earlier.

If, however, a home sells at an above market price and the comparable sales for the last six months and current market conditions do not support the price, the house may not appraise and the sale could fall through. The buyer and seller can renegotiate the price, but there is always a possibility the house will go back on the market.

The best way to ensure your home is priced effectively is to look at current market statistics. Many Realtors do a comparative market analysis (CMA) to analyze homes that have sold, are pending and are active on the market within the last three to six months. Comparing square footage, number of bedrooms, lot size, year built, amenities and several other factors, will help determine a realistic price range.

Research put out by Prudential Ambassador Real Estate shows homes priced within fair market value are likely to attract 60 percent of buyers. The same study also shows that homes priced just 5 percent above the fair market value only attract 30 percent of perspective buyers and homes at 10 percent above only attract 2 percent. Even a small percentage over the fair asking price can cut the chances of selling a home in half.

It’s often difficult for sellers to value their home because they don’t have experience looking at the market. A Realtor will be able to help sellers effectively price their home to make it marketable to potential buyers. Again, a home is only worth what a prospective buyer will pay for it.

Welcome to my Blog

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010

A couple of years ago, I decided to build a new and improved website and I love the feedback I’ve received from it! On my site you can search all local MLS listings and there are several sections with local information about schools, lenders and more to help you through the buying and selling process. This year, in the spirit of moving forward, I’ve decided to include a blog on my site.

So without further ado… drum roll, please… Welcome to my blog!

I’m excited to have this new addition to my website so I can keep you informed about new real estate trends, tips and tidbits, and work with you to share and discuss local community issues and events.

I would love for you to join my blog! Let me know what you think. Make comments. Let’s get to know each other better, and have fun as we go!   It’s a great way for us to stay connected and informed.