Why Are You Letting Your House Sit On The Market?

It seems, at least for now, that the days when you would slap a sign in your yard and sell your house in 24 hours are ending. Things have changed in the market in North Texas. People are tired of overspending on a home when there are others nearby that will work just as well. Sometimes, even new construction homes will sit on the market because people don’t want to spend that much.

The Number One Reason Your House Doesn’t Sell

I see it often. A perfectly good house in a great neighborhood and it’s been on the market for half a year or more. Unfortunately, sometimes seller’s are just not realistic about the pricing of their homes. Even if you have the best Realtor in North Texas, you still won’t sell the home if the price is not in line with what is going on in your area.

It doesn’t matter if you put in a $100,000 pool with lights and an outdoor kitchen. If no one else in your neighborhood has a pool like that or an outdoor kitchen, it’s likely you won’t get near what you put into that pool or kitchen. People just won’t pay for it.

A decent Realtor will tell you where the house should be priced. Still there are those who insist that their house is better than everyone else’s home in the area.

An Honest Question

Market Bikes

Would you honestly pay more for something when there are other choices that will do the same thing for you? If you don’t race bicycles, would you pay $8000 for a bike when a $200 bike will do what you want it to do? I could ask the same thing about so many items we use every day.

When my grandson was born, my daughter insisted on buying Tommy Hilfiger clothes for him. When I asked her why, she said it was because she never got nice clothes growing up and she was not going to have her child be embarrassed by the clothes he wore. Ouch! When I tried to explain that he would be in those clothes for two months and they would never get worn out, it fell on deaf ears. There was no convincing her about the practical aspects of buying clothes for babies.

What About A House?

Market Similarity

I recently had a conversation with another agent in my office. He had a house listed on the market. It had been going slow and he was considering having a conversation with the owner about possibly lowering the price.

Just when he was about to do that, another house in the same neighborhood came on the market with an inflated price. Before he knew it, he received multiple offers on his listed house. Why? Because the houses were almost the same. People could look at both of them and soon realized that the house he was promoting was just as good as the other house.

Why would you spend extra money on a house when there is another one down the street for less?

Unless there are specific features or needs that one house has over the other, it just doesn’t make a lot of sense.

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If you need help with the purchase or sale of a home, reach out to me for more information about how I can help you get where you want to be.

I’m never too busy for your referrals.

Patrick O’Connor – CHMS, GRI, Realtor®

Ebby Halliday, REALTORS®

Plano, TX

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Buyer’s Lease Back Vs. Seller’s Lease Back

Home Sale Process

Seller's Lease Back Contract

Many things can happen while in the process of buying or selling a house. This can be especially true if you need to sell a house in order to purchase a home. This is what is referred to as a contingency. The purchase of your new home is contingent on the sale of your existing home.

In order to help with this process, there are two types of leases that are possible. The first is the Seller’s Temporary Residential Lease and the second is the Buyer’s Temporary Residential Lease. These are addendums that can be added to the contract for the purchase of a home.

Seller’s Temporary Residential Lease

The Seller’s Temporary Residential Lease is ideal for the person who is selling their home but their next residence isn’t quite ready. There are pros and cons to this arrangement.

The Pros
This type of lease allows you to stay in your home after closing. At this point, you become a tenant for the new homeowners. You can specify up to 90 days to stay and you get to enjoy peaceful residence while you are there.

The Cons
As a tenant, you are responsible for obtaining renter’s insurance. The new homeowners would have their own insurance, however, the contents are your responsibility. You could be required to provide a security deposit and most likely pay an amount that would cover the mortgage payment for the new owners.

There is also a provision in the addendum that allows the new homeowners to specify a dollar amount, per day, if you over-stay your lease period. For example, you might pay $2000 for rent to stay in the home each month for two months. At the end of two months, you might be required to pay $500 or more per day. This is to discourage the idea of staying in the home longer than agreed.

Buyer’s Temporary Residential Lease

Seller's Lease Back Agreement

The Buyer’s Temporary Residential Lease is ideal for the person purchasing the home who needs to vacate their previous residence prior to closing.

The Pros
This lease allows a person to reside in the home they are planning on purchasing before they actually get to closing. It also offers the buyer to get a feel for the house before closing.

The Cons
It’s possible that if the person planning on purchasing the home may find things they do not like while they are renting before closing. If that happens, it’s possible they may find a way to get out of the contract to purchase. Since it is a lease, if, for whatever reason, they do not pay, then the owner must go through regular channels to evict them from the property. They can’t simply change the locks while the tenants are gone.

With this lease, people who plan on purchasing the home are living in it before closing. That opens the door to the tenant deciding they are unhappy with the house after two weeks and backing out of the contract. This can put the seller back at square one since their home has now been off the market since there is a contract.

For insight into how dangerous this type of lease can be, check out a recent story in the DFW area.

Work Arounds

One simple way to work around a situation like this if you are uncomfortable having someone living in the house either before or after closing is to change the closing date to match the need.

If you need help with the purchase or sale of a home, reach out to me for more information about how I can help you get where you want to be.

Patrick O’Connor – CHSM, GRI, Realtor
Ebby Halliday, REALTORS
Plano, TX

Renter’s Insurance. What’s if for?

Congratulations! You have just completed your journey as a renter and have a lease in hand for a property right where you want to be.

Everything is great but people have been asking if you have renter’s insurance. You’re thinking – why do I need to get insurance? I don’t own the property. If something happens, it’s the owner’s responsibility.

Are You Covered?

Renters Insurance - House Fire

Well? Yes and no.

It’s true that the owner will be covering things that happen to the property but have you thought about what happens to all of your stuff inside if something happens? Without renter’s insurance, you could not only be out on the street but all your stuff could be lost. Here’s an example.

You’ve rented an apartment near downtown. It’s within walking distance of all the great restaurants, shops, and shows. One evening, you go out to a movie and dinner. You get back to your place only to find fire trucks all around and huge billows of smoke coming from your building. Sure enough, a fire started on the ground floor and worked its way up the building.

When everything has settled, it’s a total loss. Everyone in the building is scrambling to find new places to live. You talk to the owner’s who are upset because their building is gone but they are confident that they will be able to rebuild and even better apartment building.

Why Insurance Is Important

Renters Insurance - House Fire

You, on the other hand, are starting with nothing.

You see, the owner’s insurance covers the structure and all the fixtures like lights, appliances, and the water heater. BUT – it doesn’t cover any of your stuff. That’s your responsibility. Since you didn’t go out and get your own policy to protect your stuff in the event things happen, all your possessions went up in smoke.

That would be a harsh reality for anyone. It’s one that can be avoided easily simply by having an insurance policy for your stuff. Even when you own a house, there are actually two parts to the insurance policy. The first part covers the structure. The second part covers the contents.

In order to get the most out of your insurance, it’s also best to have all your possessions documented. This includes photos, serial numbers, makes, and models. Without that information, you are likely to have issues with the amount the insurance company will settle with you. With no insurance, you typically get nothing. If you have some insurance, you will at least get something. With documentation, you will get the maximum from your claim.

Keep your documentation in a different location such as at your work location or in a safety deposit box.

For more information, talk to an insurance agent. If you need an insurance agent, email me and I’d be happy to give you a few options.

Patrick O’Connor – CHMS, GRI, Realtor®

Ebby Halliday, REALTORS®

Plano, TX

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

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.

Minor Repairs Lights

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.

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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.