Posts Tagged ‘Seller’

Your First Showing May Not Really Be Your First Showing!

Tuesday, November 13th, 2012

In this Internet age, your first showing is long before the first potential buyers arrive at your doorstep: it’s actually the moment your listing appears on the MLS. The photos of your house, along with the pricing and listing description, determine whether or not your house is considered good enough for an in-person look, or placed on the “do-not-see” list.

This is why staging your house prior to the photos is so important! Your house needs to put its best (square) foot forward! Otherwise, buyers—who are much more in control today of what houses they see and which ones they don’t—will eliminate it just by looking at the photos online.

“That one looks dated”—gone off the list because there’s too much work to do. “Look at that wallpaper, yuck!”— wallpaper is too personal and doesn’t have universal appeal. “Who would paint rooms such dark colors?”—again, bright or dark paint colors can be a turnoff. “There’s only one photo! That must mean that the rest of the house looks awful!”—be sure there are enough photos to showcase your house properly and entice prospective buyers, not leave them wondering.

Consulting with a professional home stager prior to your ”first showing” can make a dramatic impact on how well your house shows in the photos. Stagers look at your house through a buyer’s eyes, as well as assessing how it will appear in photos. It’s important to follow the stager’s recommendations about furniture placement (compliment the architecture and maximize the space), accessorizing (bigger is better), paint colors (warm yet neutral, and NOT white), de-clutter (de-clutter, de-clutter—did I say de-clutter?), and decorate for the potential buyer (it’s not about you anymore!).

Stagers will also make recommendations about the best ways to update your house: new lighting, new handles on cabinets, replacing worn carpeting, painting older cabinets, replacing counters, framing bathroom mirrors, getting rid of wallpaper and borders.

Often, a house shows poorly (in pictures and in person) because of the furniture—the style doesn’t match that of the “target market”, the condition is worn or worse, or it’s just too large or overstuffed. Stagers have ideas for dealing with these issues as well, often suggesting slipcovers, or even rental furniture. Sometimes, borrowing from friends or family can be a great “temporary” solution.

Your house needs to stand out from all the competition (after all, it’s now a product on the market), and great photography can help with this. Ask your Realtor if they use a professional photographer, and look at photos of their other listings. Make sure the simple issues are addressed—no toilet seats up, no pets in the pictures, not blurry or poorly lit shots, no pictures of the photographer reflected in bathroom mirrors, etc. A moderate wide-angle lens really helps to showcase your rooms; a fish-eye lens is too exaggerated and can distort ceilings and doorways.

Buyers need to have an emotional connection with your house. There is a reason people say that they “fell in love” with a particular place. Staging addresses the emotional elements of presentation, as well as the rational ones. You are not only selling your floors, windows, counters and space—you are selling a lifestyle!

Photos can add to the emotional connection. Take an outside picture at sunset with the lights on inside the house, and the warm glow instantly says “home”. If you have wonderful views of mountains, lakes, trees, or a garden, make sure these are included. Detail shots also add to the emotional appeal—beautiful moldings, wonderful cabinetry, a fire in the fireplace, romantic bedding, candles and flowers. Use some unique angles for even more appeal, such as a lower angle (look at shelter magazines for examples) or a higher view (from a catwalk or stairway).

You’ve often heard that selling your house is all about “location, location, location.” (And lately, “price, price, price.”) But equally as important is “emotion, emotion, emotion.” Make sure your first showing allows a buyer to experience “love at first sight”!

What Are Today’s Buyers Looking For?

Tuesday, November 13th, 2012

Every person shopping for a home has a personal list of what they are looking for. While these lists often vary greatly because of family, career, pets and hobbies, there are a few things that just about every buyer wants to see. Below is a lists of three things every home seller should keep in mind:

Value – In other words, buyers want to get as much for their money as possible; and this means you must price your home to sell. Pricing your home accurately according to its location, its features and other comparables in the area is the best way to attract the largest number of buyers. If you price it too high you can be certain you will exclude a large percentage of potential buyers.

The “wow” factor – If you are selling a three-bedroom bungalow in a neighborhood with a half dozen other three-bedroom bungalows for sale, be prepared for competition. A great way to make your home stand out from the crowd of other homes for sale is to give it the “wow” factor. Your “wow” factor may be new, stainless steel appliances, newly refinished hardwood floors or new landscaping. Whatever it is, make it impressive so that buyers will be captivated with your home the moment they walk through the door.

Maintenance issues tackled – Although not every property will be turn-key, most buyers expect basic maintenance issues to be addressed by the homeowner. For example, a buyer should never see a leaky faucet, a torn carpet or chipped ceramic tile. Even if your home is in good condition otherwise, small maintenance issues will immediately turn buyers off and make them suspect that there are a number of bigger issues in the home. Take the weekend and make sure all maintenance issues are handled, and don’t forget about the details, such as burned-out light bulbs, squeaky door hinges and dirty walls.

What To Expect After Listing

Monday, June 18th, 2012

Selling a house can be a lot like remodeling –- it takes longer, costs more and is more emotionally draining than you thought but in the end was worth doing. Knowing what to expect when your house goes up for sale can be half the battle of getting through the transaction. Most people are a bit excited when they put their house on the market. Hopefully, they are moving up to a better home or off to new challenges in another city. Unless you’re the rare homeowner who gets multiple offers above the asking price days after listing, the sales process can be an emotionally challenging time. Here’s a look at what you can expect once you sign a listing agreement:

The first thing your agent will likely do is place your home in the local Multiple Listing Service (MLS). This notifies all other agents in the area that your home is for sale. It will also likely appear on the Internet at Soon, a for-sale sign will appear in the yard and a lockbox will be attached to your house, most likely the front door. The lockbox allows local agents access to the house when you aren’t home.

It may seem unsettling but it’s important to allow agents to show your home when you are away, especially in a slower market. If you don’t have a lockbox, many agents will put you at the bottom of their client’s list of homes to see because it’s a headache to track down your agent, who must track you down to find out when you’ll be around, which may not fit into the buyers’ schedule. Plus, unless you’re in a hot sellers’ market, there will be plenty of other houses to see.

Open house

Your agent will want to have a couple of open houses as soon as possible, which is why it’s not recommended to list your house until everything is ready for a good showing. This means you’ll likely be swamped with last-minute touch-ups and clean-ups to get the house ready

The agent will likely have a brokers’ open house, which is during the week, so area agents, hopefully with clients looking to buy, can see the property. Next, traditionally on a Sunday, will be the public open house.

It is best if you are not present during open houses because buyers want the freedom to look in closets and make comments. That’s difficult for most people to do it you are present. When potential buyers come for a viewing, try to step outside while they tour your house.

Whether you have additional open houses is between you and your agent. Many sellers incorrectly think that multiple open houses are needed to sell a house. In fact, few houses are sold at open houses but there are many good reasons to have one for the public and another for agents.

Traffic patterns

You should get the most traffic the first two to three weeks your house is listed. Anyone looking for a house similar to the one you’re selling will want to see your home. Don’t fret when the traffic dies down.

The average days on market (DOM) can be 60-90 days in a normal cycle, depending on the area of the country. In a slower market buyers can take their time and they usually do. If you have buyers come back a second or third time it usually means they are seriously considering your home and you’ll want your agent to keep in contact with their agent. Any offers, even one you consider low-ball, is a chance to begin negotiating, which often leads to a sale.

Neat freak

Keeping your house in tip-top shape, especially if you have kids and pets, is one of the more difficult parts of selling your home. But remember, buyers will walk into your house and try to picture living there.

Most people don’t have the vision to look past toys scattered throughout the house, dishes in the sink or pet food spilled on the floor. It doesn’t matter that they probably live the same way.

Changing course

Sellers usually hit the wall at about six weeks. The initial excitement of listing has waned, you’ve tired of keeping the house looking like a model and are irritated at yet another looky-loo coming through the front door.

Unless you are in a very difficult market, if you have not had serious interest in six weeks, it’s time to meet with your agent and discuss sales strategy.

Markets can change quickly, so you need to consider price and any physical changes or improvements that could enhance the home. This doesn’t mean you have to remodel the kitchen, but maybe realizing the garage should be cleaned out or the pink bedroom walls should be repainted can make the difference.

When you sign the listing agreement, you can generally expect a three-step process to begin: Getting ready, showing it off and responding to the market place. If you are prepared, especially for the last one, you can avoid getting that prescription for sleeping pills to get through the process.

Surefire Ways to Get Top Price for Your Home

Friday, December 16th, 2011

Yes, your home is beautiful, and it is where you have lived for the past several years, so who wouldn’t want to buy it? However, it is not enough to simply put a home on the market in order to get the best price.

“Price does indeed rule when it comes to selling a home. However, there are some ways to make sure you are getting the most money for your home you can reasonably expect. In order to get that, you must spend some time planning.

Realize selling your home is all about the buyer. If you want to sell it for top price, you must know who your buyer is, and convince them it is worth that. The seller is already convinced of the home’s value.

Learn who your buyer is and what is important to them. The practical step to #1 is to learn about your buyer and what they want in a home. Find out where they live, why they want to move, and what features they will want.

Market to your target buyer specifically and not to everyone. Most people are not interested in your particular home, but a subsection of buyers is. If you can market to them you will drive more buyers to your home than if you market more broadly.

Have an appealing MLS listing designed for your target buyer. Emphasize the features that are important to your buyer, and have lots of pictures. One picture is plain lazy in this day and age. Homes with 20 pictures or more get much more looks and visits than those with less.

The most important part of your home is the first impression. When they drive up to the house, and walk through the front door, they should already be positive about the place before they walk in. Any issues they see past that point they are more likely to brush off then if they had a negative view before they opened the door.

Selling a home is more of an art than science, and price is still king. But these are some actual practical steps you can do to get your home noticed by the right buyers. The more real competition you can get for your home, the higher the home will sell for. Focus efforts not just on getting bodies through the door, but on getting actual quality buyers making offers. To do this you must learn who those buyers are and you must market and sell to them.”

Homebuyers Find It Cheaper To Go Old vs. New

Thursday, April 7th, 2011

The dream of many would-be buyers is a new home, but it makes less and less financial sense in many places.

A wave of foreclosures has driven down the cost of previously occupied homes and made them even more of a comparative bargain. By contrast, new homes have become more expensive.

The median price of a new home in the United States is 48 percent higher than that of a home being resold, more than three times the gap in a healthy housing market. Such a disparity can be a drag on the economy.

New homes represent a small fraction of sales, but they cause economic ripples, bringing business to construction and other industries. Sluggish new-home sales deprive the economy of strength. The gap is widening because prices of previously occupied homes are falling fast, pulled down by waves of foreclosures and short sales.

The median price of a new home has risen almost 6 percent in the past year to $230,600, even though last year was the worst for sales in nearly a  half-century. Slowed by those higher prices, new-home sales have plummeted over the past year to the lowest level since records began being kept in 1963. By contrast, sales of previously occupied homes have fallen almost 3 percent in the past year. Prices have dropped more than 5 percent. In February, the median price for a resale was $156,100, according to the National Association of Realtors. That adds up to a price difference of $74,500, or 48 percent, the highest markup in at least a decade. In healthier markets, a new home typically runs about 15 percent more, according to government data.

In some areas, older homes were more expensive before the housing market bust. That was especially true in urban neighborhoods with little or no room left to build on. But now, buyers get their pick even in some of the trendiest places.

Homebuilders have taken notice. Residential construction has all but come to a halt. Builders broke ground in February on the fewest homes in nearly two years. Building permits, a gauge of future construction, sank to their lowest in more than 50 years. Many builders are waiting for new home sales to pick up and for the glut of foreclosures and other distressed properties to be reduced, but with 3 million foreclosures forecast this year nationwide, some analysts do not expect a turnaround for at least three years.

Pricing to Sell

Thursday, January 20th, 2011

dollarBefore you paint, redo any landscaping, or declutter one room,  you must make sure your house is priced correctly. Nothing is more important than price! To price your home correctly choose a real estate agent that uses all the research tools available (MLS, tax records, etc…), but don’t necessarily pick the realtor who quotes you the highest listing price, because what good is it to have your home on the market if its overpriced. Base your choice on what they have to offer as a realtor and what they can do to sell your home.

In the current market we have an oversupply of houses and sellers need to be more aggressive on price if they want to sell. According to experts the oversupply of houses is not going away for at-least three to four years. The homes that are selling are the ones that are priced properly.

The value of your home is determined by the homes that have recently sold in your neighborhood and the surrounding areas. The unfortunate fact in today’s market is you have to compete with short sale and foreclosure properties. These properties tend to bring the values down due to the fact that the banks will take less than what the property is actually worth.

To help your property be more appealing to a buyer eliminate any turnoffs. If you have worn out carpet, water stains on ceilings, damaged tile or chipping paint, you must fix these issues or any others that may occur. The next step, now that you have your price and all major issues addressed is to spruce up your property. A nicely landscaped yard, a freshly painted front door, decluttering, and newly painted walls go along way.

Last but not least, When is a good time to list your property? Some Realtors say you should wait until the spring sales season to list your home, but others say it’s not necessary. If your home is priced right it will sell anytime of the year.

Featured Property of the Week

Wednesday, January 19th, 2011

3028 Deer Path 296

3128 Deerpath Rd    Suffolk, VA 23434

Just 10 minutes from downtown Suffolk yet a great quite place to live and enjoy the country lifestyle. Tree lined property gives your family a lot of privacy. Beautiful kitchen with center island open to family room with wood burning FP.  View Virtual tour:

Listed by: Melissa Nadel and Gisela Greene

3028 Deer Path 239 3028 Deer Path 077 3028 Deer Path 246 3028 Deer Path 273

Happy Holidays!

Monday, December 20th, 2010

Happy holidays, remember there is a reason for this season!

What does the real estate market need to get to stability? Time!

The market needs to work through the large number of foreclosures and that is going to take time, probably 36 months, but it is all about the economy. If you ever thought of buying an investment rental, now is a good time to do it, we can manage it for you.

There is a portion of the market that is selling. It is the homes that are priced where the demand will absorb them. This “selling zone” is in the bottom 15-18% of the price range of a property’s competition. We can show you where that is, but you are going to have to decide to go there to move your property.

christmas 2 In this Christmas season, I wish for you the joy of the season, good times with family and friends, special church services, Christmas songs and a visit from Santa. Take a few minutes to recall your best Christmas memories and make some more.

We wish Peace on Earth to all people of all nations and all religious beliefs. Let us be part of that peace making as a daily mission. May the true spirit of Christmas be yours this year and all year long. God bless you and all your family.

Merry Christmas from all of us at Cross Realty!

Have you seen this surprise Christmas Event at the shopping center? You will love it, Enter the link in your browser to view:

Home Improvements To Sell Fast

Tuesday, November 30th, 2010

front-door Realtors say today’s top-value home improvement project is a front-door upgrade. Return on investment; up to 130 percent. Siding, roofing, landscaping, & other curb-appeal improvements also rank high in getting a home sold faster. Inside, carpeting and paint should be fresh. “Take away those pain points for the buyer,” says Julie Reynolds, senior director at, “and remember that Web appeal is the new curb appeal.” Nine out of 10 buyers search online and spend 12 weeks looking. They look at 12-16 homes in person.

From September 2010 issue of Better Homes and Gardens

Frequent Asked Short Sale Questions

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010

One phrase that has become part of the American vocabulary is “short sale” – but what exactly is a short sale and how does it work?

“What is a short sale? Homeowners are ’short’ when they owe an amount on their property that is higher than the current market value. A short sale occurs when a negotiation is entered into with the homeowners mortgage company to accept less than the full balance of the loan at closing. A buyer closes on the property and the property is ’sold short.’

Why can’t I just let my home go into foreclosure? You could, but there are many negative connotations for going into foreclosure.

  • If you have a Fannie Mae loan, they may seek a judgment against you to get the loan paid off.
  • You will also be ineligible for another government-backed loan for 5 years.
  • Your credit score will be negatively impacted for more than 3 years by as much as over 300 points.
  • A foreclosure will remain on your credit history for 10 years.
  • A foreclosure is the most challenging issue against a security clearance outside of a conviction or a serious misdemeanor or felony.

Do I need to write a hardship letter? Yes, it is required by every lender. Be specific about your hardship. Tell them about major events in your life that would affect your ability to stay current such as a job loss or an illness or death.

How do you, my listing agent, get paid? Who pays your commission? The bank will pay the commission along with all the other usual closing costs.

I want to do a short sale and I have a 2nd mortgage, can I still do it? Yes, both of your lenders will need to be satisfied in some way to complete the short sale. If your first lender will be paid off by the sale, then you just negotiate the terms with the second lender. Many short sales do involve 1st and 2nd mortgages.”

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