Posts Tagged ‘selling homes’

5 Things that Turn Home Buyers Off…and What a Seller Can Do to Prevent It!

Wednesday, April 27th, 2011


I’ve been showing a lot of homes recently, and it never ceases to amaze me at how some homes ‘show’ to a potential buyer. Sellers need to understand that they are competing in the marketplace with other properties and their home needs to stand out in order to get an offer. Here are 5 big turn-offs that make a potential homebuyer cringe at the thought of your home, and steps you can take to correct it!

1. Dirty, crowded and smelly houses. Ok so this is a no-brainer, but yet I consistently walk into homes that look like they just had a big party with children and pets and didn’t have time to clean up afterward.

What a seller should do: Only show your house in tip-top shape. Think back on when you looked at homes and how one home stood out above the others. Dishes need to be done and the kitchen counter should be free of clutter. Put the coffee maker, mixer or canister set away for now…even store it in the dishwasher during the day if you have to! Dirty laundry should be off the floor. Rooms need to feel open…take out a piece of furniture from a room and store it if it looks too busy. Remove the figurines and knick-knacks from the desk tops. And above all else, control pet odors. I have had buyers step into a house only to turn around and walk out without even looking at the property because of pet smells. We love our pets, but this is a time that you have to be super-diligent. If you can let someone else watch them while you have your house on the market, great! If not, vacuum often. Clean the backyard and litter box every day. Use Febreeze!

2. Seller in the home. I know you personally want to show the buyer how you just painted your bathroom lime green and talk about how great the neighbors are, but buyers want time alone to talk between themselves or their agent. And what you find lovely about your home may be a negative to them.

What a seller should do: Leave the home for showings. Or step onto the back porch or take a walk around the block (take your pet with you) while a potential homebuyer is looking. If they have questions, they will ask their agent and you will be notified through your agent.

3. Irrational pricing. Yes, you want to make money on your home. And yes, you spent a lot for the new landscaping, you want a trip to Europe and you want to get a certain amount of money from the sale of the house to pay for your new dream home. The next buyer doesn’t care. What they see is an overpriced property in a market where the buyer has their pick of homes. They will just move on to the house down the street that IS priced well.

What a seller should do: Do your research. Get real. Get a few opinions from multiple agents. Hire an agent who knows the neighborhood and the market, and don’t take it personally when they suggest a list price that is lower than you expect. If you owe more than your home will most likely sell for, consider working with your bank on a short sale. If your home needs paint or a new roof, don’t price it the same as the one down the street that doesn’t need those things and still expect it to sell. Go look at homes in your neighborhood and see for yourself what other comparable homes are selling for. Does yours compete? Don’t be tempted to price it higher for awhile thinking that a buyer will lowball you anyway. Buyers are smart and will just wait until the price drops and you become ‘desperate’ for any offer. Price it competitively from the beginning.

4. Photographs of your home. Keep them real. Make them relevant. Buyers want to see the home online before they go see it in person and it should look similar when they do!

What a seller should do: Take a lot of pictures of your home, or have your agent or a professional photographer do it. Post them online. Photos should be clear, in focus, and should show a particular feature of the home. Please don’t show the corner of each bedroom so that the buyer can say, “Yep, that’s a corner!” And don’t take a picture of the laundry room with dirty clothes on the floor, or of the kitchen with food or dishes out. I recently saw a picture in the MLS with eggs in a frying pan on the stove. Obviously breakfast was a priority…not selling their home. Make sure there are plenty of pictures of the outside of the house, the kitchen and the living areas. If you live on a lake or walking path, make sure you have pictures of the views from your yard.

5. Ugly home improvements. Not everyone has the same taste in decorating. I’ve had buyers walk into a property expecting to see these great home improvements that were bragged about in the MLS listing only to have their heart sink when they find that the marble flooring in the bathroom is bright pink, or the new carpet in the living room is a lovely shade of kelly green (and the buyer hates golf). I understand that a seller wants to make these improvements with frugality in mind and maybe the carpet was on sale, but there is a point that you are hindering, not helping the selling process.

What a seller should do: If you’re getting the house ready for sale, check with a professional before making any home improvements. Realtors and Stagers have a good feel for what buyers in the current market are wanting when it comes to colors and materials. They may suggest a few minor improvements that will make a big impact over a major remodel. And remember that neutral finishes will appeal to the largest possible range of buyer tastes.

Now I hope I don’t see these mistakes this weekend when I’m out with buyers! Let’s get them sold!

Move from Prudential to NP Dodge

Thursday, September 23rd, 2010

I recently made the transition from one real estate firm to another. I moved from Prudential Ambassador Real Estate to NP Dodge Real Estate. Both companies are located in Omaha, Nebraska, and both companies have outstanding reputations for quality service and providing up to date technical tools for their agents. So the obvious question is why?

Before I was in real estate and before the 10 years I was a stay-at-home Mom, I was a manager of a travel agency in Fort Worth, TX. I loved management…motivating people, handling complaints and dealing with the daily task of keeping a business running smoothly. I wanted to get back into it when I moved to Nebraska, but got my real estate license instead because I wanted the flexibility of sales as my children were school age. I worked to get my Broker’s license a few years ago because I thought of opening my own real estate firm, managing again, but with the economy turning south I decided to wait. Fortunately, selling real estate came fairly easy to me, and I could sustain a decent living from it, although I have always wanted more from my career.

About a month ago I met someone at a continuing education course I was taking. He was a Managing Broker at one of the NP Dodge offices. We talked about real estate (of course), selling vs. management, and my previous experiences with management and sales. We exchanged business cards and I didn’t think anymore about it. Then a couple of days later the president of NP Dodge called me up and said he’d received my business card from one of his managers. After interviewing and meeting a few key people, I was asked to join NP Dodge as an Assistant Manager, training to be a Managing Broker of a branch as positions opened up. This was an amazing opportunity! Even though I loved working at Prudential and would miss the people there, I took the position.

I’ve been at my new office for about 2 weeks now and I am meeting some great people and learning about all of the tools that NP Dodge has to offer to help their agents succeed at selling real estate. I am still selling homes myself during this training period, and hope to encourage other agents in the office by example. It is just amazing to me that opportunity finds you when you are least expecting it, and you need to embrace it and change with it. I am happy and excited to start this new chapter in my life.

Home Inspections give Sense of Security

Monday, June 14th, 2010

When buying a home, an inspection is a critical step when deciding if a home is right for you. A home inspection will give you a sense of security by knowing exactly what you are getting in a home, both good and bad. This is not to say that, as the buyer, you should complain about the pink fuzzy wall paper in the master bathroom or the orange shag carpet. The issues looked for in an inspection include those that are health and safety concerns, or major repairs.

Home inspections require a professional – not your best friend who once re-did their kitchen. I would recommend an ASHI (American Society of Home Inspectors) certified inspector to do the job. They’ve gone through training and have to adhere to specific guidelines when performing home inspections.

Here is a short list of things that are of high importance when inspecting a home –

Roof and attic – construction, structure and gutters

Furnace and Air Conditioner units – age, condition, lifespan expectancy

Structural – construction of walls, ceiling and foundation

Plumbing – drainage, waste and vent pipes and water heater

Electrical – main panel, circuit breaker and types of wiring

Appliances – dishwasher, smoke detectors and garbage disposal

Again, this is a brief list and a home inspector would know all the specifics and details of what needs to be looked over. The best idea for a buyer is to hire their own home inspector and have the inspection done within a few days of an accepted offer on a house. If safety issues arise, or major repairs are needed, the buyer can ask the seller to make the repairs, or the buyer and seller can negotiate the cost of repairs together.

It’s important to remember that no home is perfect and each buyer and seller should expect to have to repair something when purchasing a home. Buyers can also ask sellers for a home warranty to ensure that any major issues will be taken care of, at least for a short period of time.

So even for you do-it-yourselfers, a professional home inspection is highly encouraged when purchasing a home. A home shouldn’t be an impulse buy and should be handled by taking each necessary step to ensure a quality and comfortable purchase.

Fresh Scents for a Fast Home Sale

Monday, May 10th, 2010

People selling their home often spend a significant amount of time cleaning and decorating for a showing, making sure everything LOOKS great. But just because they’ve vacuumed up all the dust bunnies and washed all the dishes doesn’t mean there isn’t a lingering odor that could deter a potential buyer from closing.

According to the Sense of Smell Institute, odor recognition is linked to memory and moods. So while a seller cannot make every potential buyer fall in love with a home based on a freshly baked chocolate chip cookie scent that reminds them of grandma, it is sure worth a try.

Here are a few basic tips to keep a home smelling fresh for a showing –
• Take out the trash
• Definitely don’t smoke in your house, but avoid smoking outside the house, as well
• Avoid cooking anything that may leave a lingering smell
• Set up a couple potpourri pots around the house or heat some apple juice in a pot on the stove and throw in apple slices, orange slices, lemon slices or lemon juice, cinnamon and nutmeg
• Run some lemon wedges down the garbage disposal
• Odor eliminators are good to just cover-up smells, but consider investing in carpet, furniture and drape cleaners
• Burn a candle or use an electric ceramic crock to keep the scent without the flame
• Smear a drop of real vanilla extract on all the light bulbs – this will smells like cookies
• Use a dehumidifier in the basement to eliminate a damp smell
• Open the windows and let the air circulate

These are just a few short suggestions; a detailed list is at the National Realtor Magazine.

Your Realtor, of course, will be more than happy to help you set up a successful home sale. However, these small, often overlooked, details you can do personally are what can really make the difference for a fast home sale.

Create Curb Appeal for a Quick Home Sale

Friday, April 9th, 2010

The warmer weather has finally melted the 46-plus inches of snow and is now exposing the matted-down grass, sand covered driveways, snowplow-mangled curbs and rusted garden decorations.

And if you’re trying to sell your home you may not have even considered the fact that your curb appeal could be driving prospective buyers away; and a touch of Miracle Grow and a pink-flowering bush may increase the chance of selling your home 100-fold.

In all seriousness, you probably need more than flowers to give your house that little extra pizazz to sell, but sprucing up your yard can make all the difference. After all, springtime is a sellers market.

Let’s start with grass –
You first need to start with a consistent effort to cut it – obvious, yes, but difficult for many. If all you have is a push mower and time is an issue, then get little Johnny down the street to do it for $20. Also, mow diagonally and edge the lawn along driveway and sidewalks – this shows you pay attention to small details. Early spring is also a great time to begin the first round of fertilization and to begin weed prevention.

Yard Debris –
Don’t let overgrown vegetation block the windows or path to the entrance. By cutting bushes and tree limbs and cleaning out all the soggy leaves you can showcase the exterior of your home.

Planting –
Though perennials are best planted in May through June, it’s never too early to start planning. When the ground is warm enough, start planning by removing large rocks, old roots and dead plant material from your garden. Then loosen the soil and add two to three inches of well-composted organic matter to get your beds ready for planting. Spring is also a great time to plant rose bushes, berry bushes or fruit trees so they can begin their spring growth.

Driveway and sidewalk repair –
Primarily, you want to start by repairing any cracks or uneven cement that may cause potential buyers to trip as they are coming in for your open house. But small potholes and numerous patchy repair jobs in your driveway won’t flatter the exterior of your home.

If need be, calling a landscaper to improve the appearance of your home is always an option. However, these are just a few easy tips you can do yourself. So grab your kids and some gardening gloves and get your yard in shape for a quick sale!

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.