Brooks and I see ourselves as real estate advisors, not sales people. We spend a lot of my time consulting with our clients about how best to update and remodel their homes so they can get the best price when selling.
Updating and remodeling a home is a hot topic these days. This is why TV shows such as Extreme Makeover have been so successful. I hear from my niece, who works on reality TV shows in Los Angeles, there are make-over shows for all kinds of things.
The reality is lots of things in our lives besides our homes need an update, even if there isn’t a reality TV show about it. Sometimes we need a personal overhaul: new haircut, new clothes, new weight, new job, new hobbies, etc, etc. I’ve done the new haircut, lost weight, and purchased the new clothes over the last few years and I don’t plan to change jobs in the near future.
However, I needed internet professionals to advise me to update my website/blog. It was something on my “to-do” list, but I just hadn’t gotten around to doing it. What I needed was a professional to get me moving on this, much like our clients need some direction updating their homes. They need a real estate professional to encourage them through the process. I needed someone to give me the push to update the site and get this task off my “to-do” list.
I love this time of year in the Seattle area. The long days make it such a wonderful time to be outdoors. The spring color is fabulous with the rhodies, azaleas, tulips and more. When the leaves start coming in the new growth is a wonderful bright, fresh green color. Everyone’s yard looks the best this time of year.
So grab your camera and take some photos of your yard as it continues to bloom throughout the summer. I think we take the springtime beauty of Seattle for granted this time of year and forget how gray the skies can be. Good photos of the flowers are not only fun to look at particularly when its’ gray outside and they are great to use as a marketing tool no matter what month you decide to make a move.
Think you’re not going to move for many years? That’s okay, start building up the photo gallery for your home now. After all, someday you may decide to move and it could be in February. We all know how our yards look that time of year.
My sellers had received the St. Joseph’s statue as a present from a friend and asked me to plant it when the “for sale” sign was planted in their yard. So, I planted the St Joseph’s Statue in their yard.
I’ve heard about St. Joseph’s statue being planted in the yards of homes for sale, but this is the first time I’ve had a seller ask me to do so.
I was curious as to how this whole idea got started, so I checked online. Snopes has an interesting post on its history and some of the results from planting a St. Joseph statue in the front yard. According to Snopes and a few other sources, the idea originated centuries ago when a group of nuns first planted St. Joseph on the grounds of their convent. The idea didn’t spread to the sale of homes in the U.S. until the late 20th century.
So along with along with today’s high tech marketing with professional photos and video on Zillow, Craig’s List, Trulia, and a number of other sites, I went with the centuries old luck of St Joseph. I’ve always said that the most successful real estate marketing combines the best of old with the new!
Do you believe the St. Joseph statue will help a home to sell faster? Have you tried this and have you had luck with it?
Oh, by the way, the home sold in 4 days!
I’m looking for a Realtor in South Carolina, the Greer/Greenville area, to be exact. My mother-in-law is moving and I need a Realtor to sell her home.
Last week, I contacted a Realtor from a Realtor network I belong to, Certified Residential Specialists. When referrals are made through the CRS network, they are by phone or email, since the referral is to an area outside of Seattle. Rarely, do we meet the other agents. I’ve made many referrals over the years and had good luck as the agents with the CRS designation. They are long time agents who have had additional training and sell a certain numbers of homes each year, which means they’re experienced.
Since I was in South Carolina, I asked that this agent bring market statistics and her marketing plan to our meeting. The agent came armed with 3 pieces of paper, one was a chart showing me her company sold the most homes in the area, and the other two had brief, very brief, information about the sales activity of the homes in the area. Statistics? None. Marketing plan? Zip. Market analysis? Nada
I asked her about her marketing plan and heard newspaper and real estate magazine advertising. I told her to spend her money on the internet and professional marketing, including professional photos. No response to the professional photography. I did hear the usual, though, the listing would be on the company website, but I did not get much more.
I asked that she send me the complete listing information and photos of each of the homes included in her short list of homes. She assured me she would. Since it’s been two weeks since I met her, I doubt I will be getting that information. So she’s out.
We then contacted a personal referral who is a Realtor and also a CRS. However, she is having some surgery in the next few weeks so is not taking on any new business. We’re going to try another Realtor from a second personal referral next.
I turned to the internet. I’ve been online checking the local agents’ presence on the internet. I’m looking for how the agents market homes. I don’t bother to check the listings and agents who don’t use multiple photos when marketing a property. However, I’m finding that with multiple photos, most are just plain awful. Photos are dark, sometimes showing too much clutter, and don’t show the full room. Finding the agent who uses professional photos might be like finding that one in a million.
Since I belong to some real estate networks on LinkedIn.com, that’s my next stop.
Here’s what I’m looking for when I’m hiring a Realtor:
- Someone who knows the market and has statistics to back their information.
- Someone who completes a professional market analysis and gives me realistic information on pricing.
- A strong internet presence on multiple websites: A company website, Realtor.com, google, Zillow, Propsmart, Craig’s List, Oodle, etc. Dedicated website for the home.
- Video or tour of the home.
- Photos, video, or tours of the local sites and the town.
- Homes that are marketed when looking terrific, decluttered and staged
- Professional photography
- Nice property brochures with color photos
- Open houses, only if they work in the area
- Other creative marketing ideas
- Communicate with me on a weekly basis. I’d like an update on showings and the local real estate market. I’d like to know if the competition has changed. Has a competing home come on the market, reduced its price or sold?
This is the very level of service my mother-in-law should be getting.
Does anyone know a good Realtor in that area who can provide this service? Any ideas on how to find someone?
Professional photography and staging are, without question, necessary to sell a home in today’s marketplace. We have our stager and photographer ready for our sellers when they’re needed. I wouldn’t list a home for sale without professional staging or photography.
There are many other good real estate agents who believe the same thing as there are a lot of blog posts about horrible house photos. This is not a new idea, but one that’s taken a strong hold among good real estate agents.
There are, of course, some homes which show beautifully and don’t need the staging, but we all know, even if we don’t admit it, staging and photography are necessary marketing tools to get a home sold.
Sometimes we forget, great staging and photography are only the start. They’re not the complete story. You’ve got to get out and see the house “in the flesh.” This advice, by the way, is both for Realtors and home buyers. You can’t do an effective market analysis as a real estate agent or fall in love with a house as a home buyer unless you see it, smell it, and hear what’s going on in the neighborhood. You need to “touch” the house in a variety of ways to determine its true value.
I was reminded of this very thing yesterday when my business partner, Angie Bondurant, previewed a home that’s strong competition to an upcoming listing. The home looked gorgeous online, which it should in order to attract the most buyers, but two things were not apparent until Angie went to see the home. It smelled and it was dark. A smelly house, whether it’s that “old” smell, food smell, dog smell or something else, can be a total turnoff to a buyer, even if the home is gorgeous.
A dark house is the kiss of death in Seattle. Of course, it rains 24/7 here as the world thinks, so light, airy homes are popular. (In reality, there are a lot of gray days in Seattle, but it doesn’t rain all the time by any means) A bright home is always a plus in this climate.
This home ended up with two strikes against it, both of which had to be experienced by seeing the home. It was dark and smelly. Granted it was finished beautifully and this will help it to sell, but the other factors may limit it’s market time and final sales price.
So besides the amount of light and odors, other things to consider that aren’t apparent when you see photos online:
- How loud are the neighbors? Come visit the neighborhood a few random times.
- How loud is road noise with or without the windows open? Stop by during rush hour.
- How big are the rooms, really? Wide angle lens accentuate room sizes in photos.
- Check out the backyard for its true size.
- What do you see from each of the home’s windows? From the backyard?
What else should be experienced when viewing a home?
Created by Redmond WA home sellers with a sense of humor and a great house for sale in the Seattle eastside city.)
Selling your home? Wait until the last minute to set the price, and I mean the last minute.
Why would you do that? Because real estate prices can be a moving target. What worked a month or even a week or a day ago may not be the right price for your home.
When home sellers call me months before they plan to sell, I always give a price range rather than an exact price for their home. I tell sellers they’ll need to wait to measure the real estate market right before the home goes on the market.
Again, why should you hold off until the last minute?
Because if your home is not the best value, you’ll help to sell the other homes. Or you could be leaving money on the table, even in this market.
So here’s what needs to happen. Before pricing a home for sale, I look at it when it’s completely ready for the market. I look at the home as if I were a buyer. I’ve also got to know the competition the very day your home goes on the market. The buyer will know the competition, and probably will have seen it, so I’ve got to do the same thing. I’ll visit the other homes, looking at them, too, as if I were a buyer, and then compare them to your home.
You might be able to ask a higher price if your home shows better than the competition. Or maybe there are more homes competing with your home, so you need to be at a better price. The price you ask for your home when you head out of the starting gate is critical, so get the price right and wait to set your asking price just before you go for sale.
What do you think?
There’s a saying in real estate, “Plant a Little Green, Make A Lot of Green.” (From a CRS newsletter)
Since spring is here, I’ll be doing a series about things you can do to dress your home up and get it ready for the party, oops, I mean a home sale. The series will be called “Make More Money Selling Your Home.”
My last post said to get your camera and take photos of your yard while there’s spring and summer color. I suggested taking photos so you’d have them available when you decide to sell your home, after all you may need to sell in the depths of winter. Remember in January your yard looks like it’s died a slow death. Everything looks so bleak and uninviting.
This post is for those of you who have work to do in your yard first, before you take the photos. It’s for those of you who must plant a little green, to make some green. It’s for those of you who need to do some yard cleanup and painting. And it’s for those of you who have never thought about planting anything before. You’ll need to get that garden equipment out and get to work. I know you don’t want to bother, but you will make more money whenever you sell if you have some great photos of your yard. Street appeal is everything when you want to get people inside your home.
It doesn’t have to be complicated. Keep it simple. Clean up your planting beds or, if you’re lucky, pay someone to do that. Then plant some annuals right now and take some photos. Winter pansies and ranuculus work really well and are simple and easy. Winter pansies cost about $1.49 each. Plant 15 annuals, take photos, total planting time should be 30-45 minutes. I just did this planting bed below, so I know the cost and the time. You don’t even need a green thumb to do this. I don’t have a green thumb. You don’t even have to worry about maintaining the plants on a long term basis (because they are going to die since they are annuals), but you can plant these plants easily for a little money. If you have more planting beds, you should plant more flowers.
Don’t want to do anything now? Geraniums and other annuals are coming soon. So take a little time this spring or summer and think a little green. It will make you more money when you sell your home.