3 Things Before Calling A Realtor®

It might seem strange that I would write a blog post telling people not to call a Realtor® when I am a Realtor®. Maybe, but I think it is important to educate my clients. If this helps, then I’m ok with it. If nothing else, it gives you a headstart on things you can look at when getting ready to sell.

What A Realtor® Should Be Telling You To Do

If they’re decent at what they do, a Realtor® is going to tell you these things anyway. Might as well do what they are going to suggest before they ever get there. It saves time. After all, if you’re calling a Realtor®, it’s because you want some help getting your house sold.

Selling your house can be a stressful thing. Will you get the price you want? What happens if it doesn’t sell in the time frame you want it to?

Here are three things you can do with your house before ever signing a contract with a Realtor®.

The First Thing

Before Calling - Get Packing

Get To Packing!

It’s a good idea to remove at least half of what you have in your house before it goes on the market. You may love your collections and sentimental items throughout your house but the people coming to buy it don’t care. Make sure all horizontal surfaces are bare so people can see the “house” instead of your stuff. Buyers need to be able to see themselves living there, picturing their stuff in the kitchen, living room and bedrooms. If your stuff is there, they won’t be able to see it.

The Second Thing

Before Calling - Make Minor Repairs

Fix the small, inexpensive stuff. Whether it is replacing a cracked outlet cover, light bulbs, or cleaning and painting, the idea is to make your house look cared for. Do you need to paint some rooms to get rid of those blaring colors? People generally want to see neutral colors throughout the house. If you aren’t painting, go through and clean around doorknobs, handrails, and any place the kids have been playing.

This goes for the outside too. Make sure the yard is kept. There are usually outlets on the outside too so make sure the covers are in one piece. The garage is an area that can be cleaned and organized. Many garages end up being a disorganized pile. If you have it organized, with proper storage arrangements, it not only looks cared for but shows how well things will fit, even with cars there.

The Third Thing

Before Calling - Appliances Work

Make sure everything is in working order. Appliances, fixtures, switches, outlets, etc. It may require having someone come in to fix some things but it is a small price if you want to get the maximum money for your house.

Keep this in mind. If a buyer comes in to look at your house and sees that there is work to be done, even if it is minor, they might go after the house down the street that has those things fixed already. Not only can it affect the price, but it doesn’t take long for the word to get out that the house hasn’t been cared for.

A Few Examples To Ponder

As a Realtor®, I hold open houses for various properties. Of course, I won’t indicate which houses however, I can describe some conditions that I have seen.

  1. A house that has been painted, however, they did not paint behind the place where the flat screen TV hung on the wall.
  2. The kitchen cabinet doors weren’t hanging straight and the kitchen sink was dripping.
  3. The bedroom that included a rather strange mural on the walls.
  4. Light bulbs burned out in the living room and bathroom.
  5. Not a clear spot on the kitchen counter and the beds were not made.

It’s amazing how the little things can make a big difference.  

Comment below with things you see in your home and what you did to correct them.

Patrick O’Connor – CHMS, GRI, Realtor®

Ebby Halliday, REALTORS®

Plano, TX

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5 Minor Home Repairs You Can Do Yourself

Every homeowner will tell you that it takes a lot to maintain a home. When it comes time to thinking about selling your home, there are some things you can do quickly and inexpensively to make your home more attractive to prospective buyers.

Minor Repairs Candle

Five Things To Consider

  1. New Plantings. Curb appeal matters. People will be looking for a house online first. They will be looking to see about the location, the price and the size before ever walking into the home. While they are looking at the photographs online, they will also be looking at the curb appeal. Planting some colorful flowers and putting down new mulch in the beds will help with the look of your home. Make sure the grass is also cut before photographs are taken.
  2. Fix Minor Things. There’s no reason why you can’t fix a broken outlet cover, a burned out lightbulb, or a missing pull on a drawer. These are very minor fixes with minimal costs but can make a huge difference to someone thinking about purchasing your home. When all these minor things are taken care of, it lets potential buyers know that the house has been taken care of and reduce their anxiety about buying it in the first place.
  3. Clean the Walls and Doors. Nothing says dirty like seeing finger prints on the walls and dirt around the door knobs. Many times, a simple cleaning of these frequently used areas will brighten a room without even getting to the point of having to paint.
  4. Organize. Whether it’s the closet shoes, placing them in clear plastic boxes, or the pantry, getting organized can make a difference. It shows potential buyers that you are meticulous about things. Someone seeing an organized closet or cans in the pantry with the labels facing forward will get the sense that you care about the things you have and therefore, care about the house.
  5. Aroma. I’m not talking about lighting fifty fragrant candles an hour before an open house. I’m talking about a regular clean smell to your home. Eliminate pet odors, clean toilets, and vacuum carpets and let your house speak for itself. If you are trying to cover up odors with other types of smells, people will know.

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Takeaways

Taking care of the little things in your house can make a difference between an “offer to buy” or a “move on.” Not only can it make a difference about whether there is an offer or not, there is also the potential to affect the price. Someone looking to purchase a home will be considering how much work they have to do to the house once they own it.

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Contact me for more information about how to improve the experience of someone looking to purchase your home.

3 Reasons Your House Won’t Sell

House Won't Sell New Construction

The real estate market is very active in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. It’s possible that it could continue to be a seller’s market for quite a while. It’s also possible that the market could slow or even retract into a buyer’s market.

With houses selling in record numbers, new construction homes being built in all areas, and people moving to the area in one of the larges migrations around the country in a long time, you would think that selling a house would be easy.

Let’s take a look at three reasons why your house may not sell.

Reason One – The Price Is Wrong!

House Won't Sell Price

Just because the market is selling a lot of houses doesn’t mean that you can overcharge for your house. There is one tell-tale sign that your house is priced wrong. If you have your house on the market for a few weeks and no one has come by to see it or make an offer, it’s a pretty good bet it’s over-priced.

It’s likely to be over-priced because the market has a way of determining the market price. If similar houses to yours are selling for $250,000 and you market your house for $285,000, you may have trouble justifying that price. There are a lot of factors that go into determining the correct price for your house and a Realtor® is one of the best ways to find out what that is. Realtors® are looking at the market every day and know many of the factors involved in pricing your home.

According to Realtor.com, using a Realtor® can actually save you money over trying to sell the house on your own. However, not all Realtors® are alike. Do your due diligence when deciding to work with a Realtor®.

What can you do?

Work with a Realtor® and let them help you determine the correct price for the property. If that price doesn’t work for you, then maybe you need to consider staying where you are until such a time when the market will give you the price you want. Remember that the longer your house is on the market, the longer it will take to get where you want to be.

Reason Two – Too Much Work!

House Won't Sell Work

Even if you price your house correctly, it may not sell for what you want. If you have ever gone looking at houses, many times you figure out in the first three minutes inside whether you want to put the work into it that is needed to get it where you want.

Have you ever walked into a kitchen and seen Formica counter tops, white appliances, and green cabinets? Since current standards for kitchens include granite or quartz counters, white or stained cupboards, and stainless steel appliances, people don’t spend as much time looking at the old stuff. This is especially true of people looking for a move-in ready home. They are looking for something they don’t have to worry about.

Another issue might be smaller details that take away from the look of the house. Damaged doors, unique paint colors, broken windows, leaky faucets, all contribute to reducing the desire for your house.

If clients see too many things they will have to take care of, they are likely to move on to the next house down the street that doesn’t need those things done.

What can you do?

Remove clutter. All your collectibles are not staying when you move so pack them. A good rule of thumb is to remove half of what you have in your house. Consider it early packing. Paint those awesome orange walls with a neutral color. Neutral colors allow potential buyers to see the house rather than judge the color of a wall. Remove everything from flat surfaces. A single accent piece is much better than a counter full of stuff. Keep it spic and span. Think from the buyer’s perspective. Would you buy your house the way it is?

Reason Three – Wrong Size Or Location!

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There are some things you just cannot change about your house. The location is what it is. If you purchased your home next to a massive water tower, or along the main road, there are simply going to be fewer people interested in the property.

If you have a three bedroom, two bathroom house and someone wants a four bedroom, two and a half bathroom house – well, they probably aren’t going to purchase your home. It simply doesn’t meet their needs.

Some things you cannot change about your house and that’s ok. It’s ok because there is someone out there who wants your house just the way it is and in the location you have it.

What can you do?

The location is what it is. Maybe when you purchased your house, it was the up and coming neighborhood but now it is not. It’s possible, but it takes a lot to relocate an entire house. If you have a 3 bedroom house, that’s what you have. Unless you plan on adding additional rooms, market your home to those looking for what you have. Some things we just don’t have control of and that’s ok.

Final Thoughts

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There is always someone out there who will purchase your house for the right price. If you need assistance buying a home, reach out to me and we’ll find just the right property for you. If you are looking to sell your home, let me know and we will put the best face on your house to get it sold in a timely manner.

The last thing a Realtor® wants is their sign in your yard for a year because your house won’t sell the way it is or for the price. Anyone who tells you they will get a higher price for your house than the market directs is wasting your time.

I’ll be writing about different quick fixes you can do to your house now, so that when you are ready to sell, it is more attractive to those looking to buy.

If you found this post helpful, please Like, Subscribe, and Share.

How’s The Real Estate Market?

The First Question

The Real Estate Market Key

“How’s the real estate market?” is one of the most common first questions people ask a Realtor®. There are generally two ways to answer that question.

The first way is to say that the market is AMAZING! It’s a truthful statement from the Realtor’s perspective. Honestly, it doesn’t matter if the market is going up, or down, or is stable. The market is right for someone, no matter which market we are in.

The second way to answer that question is to say “It depends.” The reason why this answer is great is because in any given market, the conditions affect different people in varying ways. For example, currently we are still in a seller’s market. So, depending on whether you are a buyer or a seller will matter how the question is answered. This answer might be better than the first because it opens up a conversation with the other person. Stating that the market is amazing gives an answer but doesn’t necessarily encourage the other person to think about it and ask additional questions. By saying that “it depends,” the other person has to take a moment and think about it. They might then come back and ask additional questions to get clarification.

If you ask me how the market is, I will more than likely tell you that it depends. This also gives me a chance to have a deeper conversation and help educate the person about the specific things going on in the market – today!

The Heart Of A Teacher

The Real Estate Market Kitchen

At my core, I am a teacher. As an employee of a Fortune 500 company, I spent years teaching new skills to other employees so they could be successful in their careers. As an instructor at a Junior College, I spent three years teaching new skills to people. These skills helped them find employment once they had completed their degree programs. As a Realtor®, I help educate people on the market for real estate but also focus a lot of effort teaching them about the process of buying or selling a home.

Why? Well, it’s because people don’t buy or sell a home every week. The average person lives in their home for seven years before considering selling that home and purchasing a new home. There is little chance that these people are keeping up with all the latest legal issues with buying or selling a home.

What Is Your Home Worth Button

I am able to help educate them in the process, help them identify the things they are looking for and offer opinions and options for them to consider.

As a teacher, my primary role with students was to teach the fundamentals of the tools they needed to perform tasks and then allow them to experiment to come up with a solution that worked for them.

In a similar way, my role as a Realtor® is to offer the tools needed for my clients to make the best decision for themselves. My opinion might matter or it may not. Making sure my clients are educated ensures that they are able to perform the due diligence necessary to make the best decision for themselves about purchasing or selling a property.

It’s important that the teacher knows more than the student but they don’t have to know everything. If you don’t know an answer, tell them that and get back to them after researching.

The same thing applies to Realtor’s. An advantage that teachers and Realtors have is they are surrounded by resources to help them find the most relevant information for the students and clients. As a Realtor, I have a whole team of mentors, lenders, managers, a legal team, title companies, inspectors, plumbers, electricians, and others available to get information and share with others.

Summary

The Real Estate Market House

The market condition depends on the individual. Just because it is a seller’s market doesn’t mean that someone buying cannot get a good deal. Ultimately, a house will only sell for what someone is willing to pay for it. The good news is that historically, for any given twenty year period, real estate values tend to go up. The downturn in 2008 had many factors involved that made the market dangerous. Now, not even a decade later, the market has recovered and is growing again.

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Realtors have a huge team of resources at their disposal to help find answers to any question you might have. They also have the knowledge to help you set the correct price for your property to sell or find the property that meets your needs.

Renting When You Want To Buy?

Problem!

Rental House

You Don’t Have the Down Payment?

So you want to buy a home?

You’re spending as much on rent as you would be by owning your own home. Maybe you only need a few months and you’ll have enough for a down payment through FHA.

Solution!

Home Partners of America

Work with me and my partner agency, Home Partners of America and we may be able to get you into the home of your dreams while you work on that down payment. Here’s the three-step process:

  1. Get pre-approved. Email me for the specifics of what it takes.
  2. Work with me to find your ideal property that is on the market for sale. Home Partners of America will purchase the home and rent it back to you.
  3. Save up your money for a down payment while you rent that home and purchase it from Home Partners of America when you are ready. No need to worry about breaking a lease. They will waive that if you buy the house.
  4. Decide you don’t want the house after all? No problem. You can finish your one year lease and leave. No problems. No hassles.

Next Step

Patrick O'Connor

Email me to receive a brochure about the program. Then call me to set an appointment, go over the whole thing, get you pre-approved, and start looking for your ideal home.

What Is Your Home Worth Button

Problem!

Credit problems?

Home Partners of America can work with you if your credit score is above about 550. Even if you have had issues in the past, Home Partners of America may be able to work through those issues and get you approved anyway. It’s not a guaranty but may be worth a shot to find out.

Solution!

Home Partners of America

Work with me and my partner agency, Home Partners of America and we may be able to get you into the home of your dreams while you work on that down payment. Here’s the three-step process:

  1. Get pre-approved. Email me for the specifics of what it takes.
  2. Work with me to find your ideal property that is on the market for sale. Home Partners of America will purchase the home and rent it back to you.
  3. Save up your money for a down payment while you rent that home and purchase it from Home Partners of America when you are ready. No need to worry about breaking a lease. They will waive that if you buy the house.
  4. Decide you don’t want the house after all? No problem. You can finish your one year lease and leave. No problems. No hassles.

Next Step

Patrick O'Connor

Email me to receive a brochure about the program. Then call me to set an appointment, go over the whole thing, get you pre-approved, and start looking for your ideal home.

New Build Button

Problem!

I just went through a divorce and need to sell my existing home

Divorce can be tough. No one really wins. It’s hard enough getting a divorce but then having to sell the home you lived in adds even more stress.

Home Partners can work with couples who are in this situation. Get with me to find out how we can sell your existing home and get one or both of you into your own house. Selling your existing home requires both parties in most cases but not the buying part. Home Partners of America will work with you while you are selling the existing home so you aren’t worried about where you are going to live.

Solution!

Home Partners of America

Work with me and my partner agency, Home Partners of America and we may be able to get you into the home of your dreams while you work on that down payment. Here’s the three-step process:

  1. Get pre-approved. Email me for the specifics of what it takes.
  2. Work with me to find your ideal property that is on the market for sale. Home Partners of America will purchase the home and rent it back to you.
  3. Save up your money for a down payment while you rent that home and purchase it from Home Partners of America when you are ready. No need to worry about breaking a lease. They will waive that if you buy the house.
  4. Decide you don’t want the house after all? No problem. You can finish your one year lease and leave. No problems. No hassles.

Next Step

Patrick O'Connor

Email me to receive a brochure about the program. Then call me to set an appointment, go over the whole thing, get you pre-approved, and start looking for your ideal home.

Keep In Mind

You only get one shot at this program. Once you get into a home, if you decide to leave after the lease period, you won’t be able to use the program again on another home. Therefore, it’s really important to take the time to look for the home you want in the process. The beauty of it is that if you decide it really isn’t the home for you, you can get out of it.

One final thing

If the market tanks like it did in 2008 and the house is now worthless, simply finish your year lease and move on to another property. Hopefully, we won’t have to worry about issues like that.

Frustrations When Selling Your Home – Part 3

Who’s ready for more?

Don’t start reading here. If you missed the previous posts, they are titled Frustrations When Selling Your Home – Part 1 and Frustrations When Selling Your Home – Part 2. Read them and then come back for even more frustration.

But I like it!

When I was living in my first house, I was raising kids and wanted them to “own” their rooms. One of my daughters decided she wanted to paint her room “Tiggeriffic Orange.” It has got to be the brightest orange available. When the light was on in her room at night, from the outside, it looked like the room was engulfed in flames. Other kids’ rooms in the house were painted with blue. However, they also wanted feathered paint of a different color throughout. Finally, the playroom had murals that covered the entire room complete with flowers, clouds on the ceiling and a bright yellow sun in one of the corners.

Home Paint Colors

It would take someone really special to buy the house that way. Before selling it, I painted the whole house in earthy, soothing tones. It’s what most people expect. Besides, it gives the house a neutral look so that people coming in can start to envision their idea of what the house would look like with their added touches.

Why does my REALTOR® want me to change the price?

It’s really frustrating when you have an idea of what your house is worth and someone else comes along and tells you the price is not realistic if you want to sell your house. REALTORS® have experience figuring out the best price for your property so that it doesn’t sit on the market for months and months. Sites like Trulia and Zillow don’t help a whole lot because their pricing can be radically different than what the market says it is worth.

Home Paint Colors

There are a lot of factors that go into the price of your home and one of the biggest one’s is what other houses, comparable to yours, have sold for in the last three months.

Sure, you can find a REALTOR® who might promise that they can sell your house for more than someone else. I would challenge you to look at other houses they have sold and see how long they were on the market. Also ask them about the houses that didn’t sell and why.

Some final thoughts

What Is Your Home Worth Button

Sometimes, there are things associated with your home that you cannot do anything about. This can be really frustrating like when they installed high power lines right behind your house two years after you bought it. Maybe it is because that empty field behind your house is suddenly a shopping mall or a natural gas fracking system. Although there is nothing you can do about that, if you take some steps to make reasonable upgrades and show the house in its best light, the right buyer will come.

Conclusion

Thanks for joining me on this frustrating journey. In my opinion, if you stick with these ideas and the time your house is on the market could be shortened. If you have any questions, contact me or visit my business page.

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.

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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.