Frustrations When Selling Your Home – Part 2

This post is part two in a three-part series.

In Why Won’t They Buy Your House? Part 1, we began a discussion about the ways you can sabotage the sale of your home.

There are a lot of reasons for it and knowing how to address some of them can help sell your house quicker than you think.

I’ll get to it one of these days

I know I am guilty of this myself. Those little things that could easily be fixed, yet they sit there broken for months or even years. The cracked outlet cover; The light switch that doesn’t work all the time; The window that fogs over with condensation; The gutter downspout that has separated from the side of the house; The chipped paint on the corners of the hallway.

 

Home Issues
Minor repairs that are delayed can affect the sale of your home

 

So many repairs that need to be done.

Who would you rather make those repairs?

These kinds of repairs are pretty easy to accomplish. The problem is that if you don’t do these repairs before you accept an offer on your house, you could end up spending a whole lot more to get them fixed. Why? Because after a contract is accepted, you will need to hire a licensed professional to do the work. That’s right, once a contract is in effect, any repairs must be hired out. Anyone care to guess what the hourly rate for an electrician is? How about painters or someone to work on gutters?

There are probably better ways to spend your money than to have to hire professionals to do this type of work.

Are you stopping people from seeing your home?

People need to look at your house if they are going to buy it. That requires that you have the house ready for people to come through and take a look.

A REALTOR® will make sure that people find out your house is for sale. There’s really no hard, fast rule to this but if it’s advertised and the price is set right, people will come. Don’t forget to clear out the clutter, mow the grass, and make those small repairs so your house shines.

The problem comes when the homeowner doesn’t want to vacate the property so the house can be shown. I know – sounds crazy right? Why wouldn’t someone leave their house so it can be shown?

Actually, there are a lot of reasons for this to happen. Maybe you have a three-month-old and it’s nap time. As exhausted as new parents are, the last thing they want to do is prevent their new baby from getting a nap. Maybe 30 minutes notice just isn’t enough time to get ready to get out of there. Maybe you’re in the shower and can’t respond to the request.

The point is that there are times when you can’t but if you plan things out the best you can, at least you can be ready to move quickly. Not in every case but maybe in most cases. After all, the primary objective is to sell the house. Don’t prevent people from seeing it and forcing your house to be on the market longer than it should be.

What Is Your Home Worth Button

But there’s more…

What Do You Do When Your REALTOR® Tells You That You Did Too Much?

You put a lot of time and money into making some improvements to your home. The kitchen is ultra-modern with the best appliances, the best cabinets, the backsplash is really expensive and the flooring is to die for. You have a custom bathroom too with marble. Your REALTOR® then has the nerve to tell you that you’ll only get about 50 cents on the dollar for all those upgrades.

Why?!?

There’s this thing called over-improvement. Houses sell for their market value. This means that the price is based on what all the other houses in the area are selling for. If no one else in the area put high-end appliances and such in their kitchen, meaning that maybe they upgraded but installed “middle of the road” equipment, then why would someone pay extra because you went all out? What if the house down the road with the same floor plan and regular upgrades was selling for $20,000 less than yours? If someone can get the same house for a lot less, why wouldn’t they buy that one instead? Unless of course, they HAD to have the upgrades you put in. In that case, the right person needs to come along. The other side of that is that a lot of people won’t pay extra.

Selling a home can be frustrating. If you have any questions, contact me or visit my business page.

Stay with me while we are talking about the frustrating aspects of selling your home. There is one more post on this topic coming up and I don’t want you to miss it. Then we can talk about other stuff. See you in the next post.

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Frustrations When Selling Your Home – Part 1

Selling your home introduces you to a new level of stress to anyone’s life. In this three-part series, I will be talking about some of the more frustrating aspects. These frustrations can be managed by embracing some simple ideas. Part 2 and Part 3 will be posted soon and links will be made available.

How Aggravating! It’s a Seller’s Market!

It can be pretty frustrating trying to sell your house and no one seems to want to make an offer. This can be especially troubling when it is a seller’s market like it is right now. Wouldn’t it be nice to know some of those reasons so that you can address them before ever putting your house on the market? Even if you already have your house on the market, you can take certain steps to fix some things so that there will be minimal delays.

There are several reasons why houses don’t sell quickly. Although this list is not complete by any means, it covers some areas where you can increase the likelihood that someone will come with a reasonable offer for your home.

How can you use your cell phone to help sell your house?

Home Cell Phone

There’s an old photographer’s trick. Well, really – it can’t be that old since cell phones haven’t been around that long but go with it for a minute. A cell phone has limited viewing.

As an example, if you were to take a photograph of your kitchen using your cell phone, what would you notice in the picture? Maybe you would see all those items on your counter that you see all the time and look past. Do you notice the features of the cabinetry, appliances, and space or do you see all the ornaments you have placed around? No one buying your home cares about your canisters, the magnets and pictures on the refrigerator, or your dinner from last night in the sink.

Using your cell phone doesn’t replace having someone come out and take professional photography but can give you an idea of what others will see when looking at the photos online.

That brings me to the next item on the list.

Who’s making sure all the information about your house is being broadcast to as many people as possible?

Home Marketing

How many people think that the REALTOR® is ultimately responsible for making sure as many people as possible know about the sale of your home? Would it surprise you if I told you that you were wrong?

After all, who wants to sell your home? You do of course.

However, there’s a lot that goes into selling a house and many times you need a REALTOR® to help make that happen.

But why do I say it’s the homeowner’s responsibility? They are hiring a REALTOR® to sell their home!

What Is Your Home Worth Button

All of that is true. However, the homeowner is responsible for making sure they hire the correct REALTOR® to do the job.

Before I was a REALTOR®, I had bought and sold a couple of houses. I hired a REALTOR® who showed houses to me and I selected one to purchase. I lived in that house about 20 years before selling it again. It was a strange time to be selling a house. The market had crashed terribly and my wife and I had already relocated. We were relying heavily on our REALTOR® to get our house sold. Looking back at it, I’m not sure he ever advertised the house for sale. It took forever to sell that house. When I became a REALTOR®, I promised myself that I would make sure that I did everything I could to help my clients.

It’s up to the homeowner to make sure that their REALTOR® is doing the best job they can for the owner. If you figure out they are not doing what they can, you can fire them. A REALTOR® has an obligation to spread the word about your home to as many people as possible so that you can sell it for a fair price. If no one sees the house, how is it going to get sold? It means that there needs to be some good marketing, open houses, and online distribution of the information about the house. Great photography needs to happen. Staging needs to happen. Repairs and negotiation need to happen.

The next question is how do you find a REALTOR® that will do that for you? I’m right here!

In the next post, find out other ways you may be sabotaging the sale of your home.

If you have any questions about the current real estate market in the DFW area, contact me or visit my business page.

Forgiveness Bible Study Survey

Forgiveness Bible Study

Forgiveness Survey

I am working on creating a new Bible Study around the subject of forgiveness, reconciliation, and resolution. I could use your help as I begin to process this information.

This is a tough subject for me. In the past, I have received all kinds of feedback related to forgiveness. Some of it good. Some of it not so much. My hope is that the study can help to bring healing to others.

I’ve included a survey for anyone who would like to participate. It is set up so that you can offer an open-ended response and share your stories if you would like. It should take about three minutes to complete.

Take the survey.

If you run out of room or have additional comments, you can either email them to me or take the survey a second time and offer more insight.

The goal of the survey is to collect as much information as possible and to use some examples of forgiveness or the lack of forgiveness in the study.

If other questions arise as a result of this survey, I may ask for additional feedback through another survey.

The final question in the survey asks for additional comments. Feel free to add any information you feel would be helpful.

Please share this survey with others so I can get a broad view of what people think.

Thanks.

Real Estate Photos

Front House Photo

Why Does It Matter?

When you are in real estate, there are a ton of photos you view each week. You can immediately tell which agents have their client’s best interest at heart just by looking at the photos. Using your phone doesn’t really qualify as a professional photo.

Here’s the reason. When someone comes in to take photos of your home for sale, you are broadcasting to a large number of people, including international buyers interested in purchasing. The photos are their first look at your property. Think about that!

I know what you are thinking – The market is so hot right now, it doesn’t matter what the quality of the photos are. People are buying homes left and right.

Although that may be true, those photos will be in the various systems until your home goes on sale again. That could be years or decades. Since they stay in the system, every agent out there who looks at the property will see the photos and the agent who placed them there.

What NOT To Photograph?

Bathroom Photo

Toilets

Everyone knows you have toilets in your house. Unless this is a very unique toilet, you probably don’t need to waste much time taking a photo. If it happens to be in view when you are taking a photo of the bathroom, well, ok.

Clutter

No one needs to see your dirty socks on the floor or the dishes in the sink. You may have the greatest soda can and bottle collection around but it does nothing for selling your home. Clean off all flat surfaces. Kitchen counters, bathroom counters, bureaus should be clear.

Branded Company Signs

Believe it or not, it is against the rules to have photos of your company signs in the MLS (Multiple Listing Service). It can lead to guiding consumers to your business instead of using the open market. Oops!

How To Take Great Photos

Kitchen Photo

Use a DSLR with a wider angle lens, 20mm or less. Use proper lighting. I heard this trick too. That the same photos at several different exposures and overlap them so that bright spots are dimmed and darker spots are enhanced. Then again, is that manipulating the photos? Hiring a professional photographer isn’t cheap but you can get about 25 photos of a property that will be great quality and show the real estate agent’s professionalism towards their clients.

Take photos of the main areas of the house, bedrooms, bathrooms, media rooms, and the outside areas. If possible, provide a floor plan of the home for people to see the overall layout. Of course, you want a nice, clean shot of the front of the house.

Highlight the favorite areas of your house. If you put a lot of work into your kitchen, take a few extra shots of it. Installed an outdoor kitchen? Make it attractive and snap another shot. Just remember that all improvements are not treated the same. Don’t overdue improvements. You may be wasting money.

Three Things To Improve Curb Appeal

Maintain your yard

Cut the grass, clean up the yard, plant a few new flowers. The first impression anyone has when they physically come to look at your house is the curb appeal. For a few dollars, you can spruce it up nicely so that it stands out on your street.

What Is Your Home Worth Button

Fix Minor Repairs

Fix obvious repairs before accepting any contract. If you make the repairs before people offer contracts, then in some cases, you can fix the issues yourself. Got some window trim that has some water penetration? Fix the caulking yourself and you could save a ton. If you wait until after you accept a contract, then the repairs must be done by a licensed person, not you.

Pool Photo

Pools and Spas

Make sure they are clean and working properly. If the pool or spa is dirty or the pump is not working, it will leave the impression that there are underlying issues with it. A clean and functioning pool and spa appeals as a relaxing oasis for all who come.

Things To Do Inside

Gathering Area Photo

Clean Rooms, Remove Clutter

Make the beds and basically clean out anything from inside the house that you do not need if you are going to still occupy the home.

Look at it this way – you’ll already have some of your stuff packed even before you make the mad dash to get out of there.

Of course, work with your REALTOR® to come up with the best marketing plan for your home. If you don’t have a REALTOR®, I’m available to help. Visit my business website for more information.

Business Planning

Starting With Nothing

Check out this video about entrepreneurship.

Honestly – that should be an inspiration to anyone at any age. I especially liked the one statement near the end where someone stated “So what if you fail! Even if you fail, you can still put it on your resume, college application essay or grad school essay.” The point is to keep learning and learn from your failures until you succeed. I think about all the jobs that are available just in the United States. Something like 80 percent of businesses are entrepreneurial businesses. That means that only 20 percent of the jobs out there are through big corporations.

You don’t even need a formal education to start a business.

Every great idea out there started with the idea popping into someone’s head. How many stories have you heard about people starting businesses in their garage?

You do need a plan though.

Going into business without direction is like trying to drive your car with your eyes closed. More than likely, you’ll end up crashing.

Where To Start

I’ve been in the real estate business now for several months. The first 2-3 months has been all about education. I’ve needed to learn a lot about the legal aspects of real estate, contracts, and a whole gambit of things to keep clients and myself protected. Getting started has been challenging too. How do I get the word out that this is what I’m doing now?

I just ran into someone this morning who I’ve known for about four years now. She noticed my nametag on my shirt stating which Broker I work with. She had no idea that I was in real estate now. That’s a problem. Obviously, I’m not doing enough to get the word out.

Saying I need to get the word out is different than having a plan on how to get the word out. What steps do I need to take in order for the word to get out to as many people as possible? I need a plan.

I also need to know what the competition is doing. Some real estate companies are more like Ponzi schemes than real estate companies. For them, it’s more about getting more and more people selling houses and paying the people above you a portion of your proceeds than watching out for the client. Others are more like family businesses. Still others are internet based with no education available for their agents. This can lead to severe legal ramifications.

Creating The Plan

A business plan does not have to be some elaborate document with graphs, maps, and other things. It can be that, or it could be something you wrote down on a piece of paper. Just keep in mind that the business plan is actually your plan on how you are going to get from starting to being successful.

I’ve had several businesses in my life. My first was a web development company in the late 1990’s. It failed miserably because I was already working somewhere full-time and expected the work to come to me. I never really had a plan for that. Without a plan, I effectively planned on failing.

Another business I started was in graphic design. That’s a tough racket to get into in the first place. I actually had a plan in place for that but got sidetracked and caught up with one client who had expectations that went against my plan. As a result, my plan failed as my clients business started having problems. I left that client but it was too late.

Now I am in real estate and although I am working with a well-established brokerage, I still need a plan. Here’s something you may not know. Every real estate agent out there is actually an independent contractor for the brokerage they work with. As an independent contractor, agents are self-employed and considered entrepreneurs. I have my own business in real estate and it needs to be treated that way. Since this is the case, a business plan for success is something I need to have if I am going to succeed.

Planning Steps

Here is the step-by-step process to create a business plan that will work for you.

Step 1: What are your goals/objectives?

Pretty simple really. What is it you want to accomplish? Do you want to help the blind communicate with others better? Or maybe you want to design something that will help them see. Your plan does not always have to be that bold. Maybe it is designing an eating utensil that works better than a fork or spoon. Have you heard of a spork? You find them at a lot of fast food places. It looks mostly like a spoon but has ridges so it can also be used as a fork.

Spork

One of our daughters had a business editing translated documents from other languages. A company would hire her to take a document that had been previously translated to English from Korean as an example. She would go through and edit spelling and grammar. She did it while she was watching TV in the evening to make a few extra bucks.

The point is that if you have goals lined up for what you want to achieve, then you know where you are going. The next thing would be to figure out how to get there.

For several years, I have been teaching personal finance classes to people who have ended up homeless for one reason or another. The classes are based on a book I wrote about my own experiences with trying to dig out of debt. When I am teaching, the very first thing we cover is writing down goals. If it makes sense to do it with your personal finances, doesn’t it make even more sense if you are trying to start a business?

Step 2: How much money do you need to get started?

A good rule of thumb is to have 6-12 months of financing available to launch your business. But what if you don’t? Then what?

Well, you may have to be creative in generating some kind of income at first so that you have some funds for your real goals. Time takes time as they say. If you incorporate having to make some side money into your plan, you are still working on your plan.

Step 3: Marketing

There are a billion ways to market. Which one is best for you depends on your strengths. I have a colleague who strictly does postcard mailings. They spend thousands every year in postcards and stamps to get the word out about their business. I know another person who is heavy into video offers. Another does a lot with Facebook and other social networks.

What do you do if you don’t have a huge budget for marketing?

Start small.

Work with your sphere of influence. Your family, friends, people at work, at your church, and your neighbors.

Ask for referrals. Offer some things for free such as white papers, brochures, and PDF files with information relevant to your business.

Hopefully, it can take some time to exhaust your sphere. By then, you could have referrals available.

Don’t give up. Keep going. It can take months up to a year before you start seeing real results. It will happen. Be consistent. Don’t stop. Just keep swimming.

Step 4: Update the plan

Your business plan is not a static document. It should be reviewed on a regular basis and updated as you accomplish some of your goals. It is a living document meaning that it should be changing and improving the longer you are in business. Update your goals regularly. Challenge yourself to reach further into your dream. Come up with new directions to spread your business. Drop the ideas that haven’t been working.

If you would like a custom form to set up a basic business plan, fill out this form and it will be on its way.

Review: When God Doesn’t Fix It

When God Doesn’t Fix It

When God Doesn't Fix It

When God Doesn’t Fix It was written by Laura Story Elvington in 2015 and is available through Christian book stores, Amazon, and other locations. Laura is also a singer/songwriter with titles like “Indescribable” and “Blessings” to her credit. She uses “Laura Story” for her music. The study contains a book, DVD series, and a leader’s guide with questions. It is designed for a small group discussion over five sessions.

The session titles are:

  • Session 1 – Don’t Be Surprised By Trouble
  • Session 2 – Best-Made Plans
  • Session 3 – When God Doesn’t Fix It
  • Session 4 – Why? The Question On Replay
  • Session 5 – A Better Broken

There are corresponding videos for each session that are 10-14 minutes long which leaves some time for discussion before and after. There are also daily questions for people to go through if you use it in a small group study. In my case, I used the series for a Sunday School class.

Why Did I Choose This Study?

I chose this study mainly because I have also had a brain tumor removed and live with the side effects of such a surgery. It was also chosen because there are a lot of things people go through in life that are not fixed simply by having faith.

Seeing how other people have dealt with a brain injury was eye-opening.

What Did I think of the book?

I suggest reading the entire book before trying to give the study as it offers some background information that can be used while conducting the study.

The book tells the story of Laura’s handling of her husband’s brain tumor diagnosis, surgeries, and treatment. Honestly, as a person who has gone through brain surgery and knew from the beginning that things would never be the same, it was difficult to get through the first half of the book. Not that the story was bad, but that it focused on where she was at the time. Laura seemed to think that brain surgery was just one of those things you go through and once it’s taken care of, things go back to normal – whatever that is.

By the second half of the book, the conversation changes to one of reliance on faith to get through things. There are plenty of references to the idea that God is not a fairy who fixes all these things we ask for. Rather, God is more about the bigger picture of eternal salvation. There are scripture references throughout.

What About The Videos?

The videos are enough to get the conversation going. They are well done and even have some overlap to help with the previous sessions. She incorporates personal stories from others and encourages relationships. Scripture references are used throughout.

The quality of the videos is top notch. Laura even shares snippets of her singing and scenes from concerts and recordings. Some candid family videos are entertaining at times.

The Leader’s Guide

The leader’s guide is set up for daily use. There are questions to use prior to the video as well as ideas to think about during the video. Those are followed by discussion questions. There are also daily questions to consider between sessions.

My Take

I used the study for a Sunday School class and treated it differently than maybe it was intended. Since I had been through the brain surgery, I was also able to incorporate some of my personal experiences.

I used the study as a starting point and added separate information to it for my specific setting. Our classes did not utilize the daily reflection items. I also used additional scripture, not in the study.

I think it’s a great study for anyone looking to have hard discussions about tough topics that many people go through. Although the premise of the study is based on brain tumors and traumatic brain injury, it can apply to a variety of topics.