Pricing Your Home To Sell
For The Most Money Possible In The Shortest Time Frame
By Tracy Tkac
Washington Homes Group
Evers & Co.
The single most important factor to consider when selling a house is pricing the house correctly; it’s choosing the right list price: how much your house is worth. Over pricing the house will cause it to sit on the market and lose the freshness of the home’s appeal after the first two to three weeks of showings. After a month on the market, demand and interest can wane and after that a listing can become stale to potential buyers. It is a tough concept, because no one wants to chance leaving money on the table, but pricing the home just below fair market value will often cause a seller to receive multiple offers, which will then drive up the price to market price or above. Pricing is all about supply and demand. It’s part art and part science. Beware of the realtor that advises a list price way above the range of sold home prices in your neighborhood, choosing to list with that agent may be setting you up for the delay or even failure to sell your home.
Pricing your home to sell may not be as simple as you think. Looking at what similar homes in your immediate neighborhood that have sold for in the past 6 months to a year will give you some, but not all of the data you will need to calculate the list price. It is important to compare apples to apples when looking at the comparable recently sold homes. Compare and consider not just how many bedrooms or bathrooms, but also is the basement finished, is the yard nicely landscaped, how many garage spaces are offered? Look at homes’ sizes (square feet), style, condition and if updates and renovations have been done. A good real estate professional will format all of the information for you and help you to make the comparisons to come to the right listing price that will get you the most money possible for your home sale.
Using a real estate professional, like Washington Homes Group, can save you money in the end by helping in pricing your home to sell quickly and for the best sale price. A good agent or even better- a good team, will assess what improvements should be made prior to putting your house on the market. Many times the first step is to de-clutter; when selling your home, the less-is-more concept is the way to go. Your agent should be honest and direct in telling you what needs painting and repair or replacing before making your listing “active on the market”. You only have one chance to make a good impression, and that goes for the list price and your homes presentation.
by Lindy Gelb
Washington Homes Group
Research tells us that 92% of buyers are on the internet searching for their next home even if they are working with an agent. They are sending a list to their agent of the homes they would like to see in person. We cast a very wide net to not only reach all potential buyers on all the top websites, but to generate our own buyers. Internet marketing for sellers is a very important aspect of selling your home in todays market.
Your home will be widely advertised on the Internet as well as print publications. Listings will automatically appear on the following sites:
www.eversco.com Our Company website
www.washingtonpost.com All open houses will be listed on this site
Backpage classified ad syndication for real estate. Your property will be on the following sites;
Facebook Fan Page, we have hundreds of fans who will see your home when it is listed.
Our marketing includes outstanding descriptions of your home, professional grade photographs and a true panoramic virtual tour that we upload as a video to YouTube, full color fact sheets and more.
Get Ready, Get Set, Sell Your Home!
Now is the time to get ready.
If you’re considering selling your home in 2014, the time for action is- NOW!
By Tracy Tkac
Why Now? Because buyers are already on the hunt.
The Internet is the new curb appeal
Last month will likely be remembered for record breaking cold temperatures, polar vortexes, lots of snow, and horrible traffic jams. All the while when home buyers were sitting home inside and trying to stay warm, they were looking at houses for sale on the Internet.
If you’re considering selling, now is the time to sell your Chevy Chase or Bethesda home. If your home is not yet online, then every day you’re missing out on thousands (or even millions) of potential buyers viewing your home.
Even more incentive for buyers
Spring is coming, and that is certainly driving a lot of the interest in homes currently listed for sale. But there are other factors at play.
Mortgage rates have declined over the past month and are currently trending back toward 4% for traditionally structured, well qualified loans. This is a significant development for buyers, as interest rates are a huge driver of home affordability.
For example, a traditional 30 year, $600,00 mortgage at 4.5% would have a monthly payment of $2,700. If rates declined to 4.25%, the payment would change to $2,550.
For borrowers on the edge of qualifying for a mortgage, that $150 per month savings could make the difference between getting a loan approval or not.
For buyers, the time is now!
Buy low and sell high, right? For buyers, the time to buy low is quickly ending, creating a sense of urgency to buy now before prices rise too high or interest rates return to more historically normal levels.
The spring selling season will be in full swing sooner than you think. Rates are low, there is urgency to buy now, and buyers are already coming out of their winter slumber. If you’re planning to sell you home in 2014, you need to be ready now. Don’t miss out on the perfect, well-qualified buyer because you waited a moment too long and Sell Your Bethesda Home!
By Tracy Tkac, Washington Homes Group
#10: Price It Right
Find out what your home is worth by looking at what homes like yours in your neighborhood have sold for in the previous six months, (that is the criteria an appraiser will use to value your home for the bank for a buyers loan). When sellers “test” the market, many times their home will sit un-sold and become stale on the market. Agents and buyers will think something is wrong with the house or it is undesirable because it hasn’t sold or that it is over-priced. Price it right from the start and it should sell for the most money possible. Follow this Top Ten Home Sellers To Do List to maximize your profit and minimize the time your home sits on the sales market.
#9: Half-empty Closets
Storage is something every buyer is looking for and can never have enough of. Take half the stuff out of your closets then neatly organize what’s left in there. Buyers open every door and will notice over-stuffed spaces. De-cluttering is something you should do across the board- take the sporting equipment out of the garage; remove that collection of dishes on display and too many kid’s toys.
#8: Let There Be Light
Maximize the light in your home. Take down the drapes, clean the windows, change the lampshades, increase the wattage of your light bulbs and cut the bushes outside to let in sunshine. Do what you have to do make your house bright and cheery – it will make it more attractive and sellable.
#7: Hire the Right Real Estate Agent
Make sure you have a broker who is totally informed, educated and motivated. They must constantly monitor the multiple listing service (MLS), know what properties are going on the market and know the comps in your neighborhood. Find a broker who embraces technology – a tech-savvy one has many tools to market your house and get it sold!
#6: Take Your Pets With You
Not everybody is a dog- or cat-lover. Buyers don’t want to walk in your home and see a bowl full of dog food, smell the kitty litter box or have tufts of pet hair stuck to their clothes. It will give buyers the impression that your house is not clean. If a realtor has made an appointment to show your house or you’re planning an open house, take your pets with you.
#5: Make Repairs
Quick fixes before selling always pay off. Your updates will pay off and get you top dollar. Put a new fresh coat of paint on the walls. Clean the curtains or go buy some inexpensive new ones. Replace door handles, cabinet hardware, make sure closet doors are on track, fix leaky faucets and clean the grout.
One of the most important things to do when selling your house is to de-personalize it. The more personal stuff in your house, the less potential buyers can imagine themselves living there. Get rid of a third of your stuff – put it in storage. This includes family photos, memorabilia collections and personal keepsakes. Less stuff means more room.
#3: The Kitchen Comes First
It may be a few thousand dollars to replace countertops and floors where a buyer may knock $10,000 off the asking price if your kitchen looks dated. The fastest, most inexpensive kitchen updates include painting and new cabinet hardware. You may even consider painting the cabinets. Use a neutral-color paint so you can present buyers with a blank canvas where they can start envisioning their own style. If you have a little money to spend, buy stainless steel appliances. Be sure to keep \ the counter tops clear and clean and thin out small appliances from your cabinets.
#2: Always Be Ready to Show
Your house needs to be “show-ready” at all times – you never know when your buyer is going to walk through the door. You have to be available whenever they want to come see the place and it has to be in tip-top shape. Don’t leave dishes in the sink, keep the dishwasher cleaned out, the bathrooms sparkling and make sure there are no dust bunnies in the corners. It’s a little inconvenient, but it will get your house sold.
#1: The First Impression Is The Only Impression
You never have a second chance to make a first impression. No matter how great the interior of your home is, buyers have already judged your home before they walk through the door. It’s important to make people feel warm, welcome and safe as they approach the house. Spruce up your home’s exterior with shrubs and flowers. Make sure there are working light bulbs in the exterior light fixtures. You can typically get a 100-percent return on the money you put into your home’s curb appeal. Entryways are also important-make it welcoming by putting in a vase of fresh-cut flowers.
BY ILYCE R. GLINK AND SAMUEL J. TAMKIN
A year ago, we saw far fewer “For Sale” signs. And this year, there are even fewer.
The surprising thing about the real estate market is its resiliency. It never fails to surprise how decisively a market turns. When it’s time, it’s time. And it’s clear to us that 2014 is looking very good for real estate.
Here is an overview of what home sellers can expect in the market this year.There are a few troubled spots on the horizon: Mortgage interest rates are at least one percentage point higher than they were a year ago. And home prices are higher. That means homes are less affordable than they were, particularly since incomes haven’t risen, in real terms, in years.
That’s good news, and not so good news for sellers. It’s great that home prices are rising. In part, homes that were in foreclosure or listed as short sales, have closed and now prices are rising again. But rising interest rates (depending on how high they go) mean fewer buyers can afford to pay those higher prices.
At the end of 2011, mortgage interest rates reached 3.7 percent, before falling back. In 2012, mortgage interest rates were about 3.3 percent on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage. We ended the year with mortgage interest rates around 3.5 percent for a 30-year fixed rate loan. In 2013, we ended at 4.3 percent for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage. (If you’re wondering, we think these rates are still great from a historical perspective.)
The Federal Reserve has indicated it will now pull back its monthly spend of $85 billion in mortgage-backed securities and Treasury securities, which it did to keep interest rates at historic lows through 2015, or when the employment rate falls to 6.5 percent. The economy is improving. Third quarter 2013 GDP numbers were revised upward to 4.1 percent. The economy hasn’t grown that fast in years.
So, with low inventory, still low mortgage interest rates, and modestly rising prices, here’s what you need to do to get your home in selling shape for 2014:
• Overcome any possible objections a buyer would have.
Buyers are always looking for a reason not to purchase your house. Your job as a seller is to eliminate any potential objections that would stand in the way for a buyer to make an offer.
If you really want to sell quickly, you’ll work hard to exceed the buyer’s expectation of your home as well. If your home is competitively priced, and your home’s condition exceeds a buyer’s expectations based on other homes in the neighborhood, you’ll get an offer — even if it isn’t the offer you want.
• Get your home into selling shape.
Cleaning your home is a must. After that, you should consider hiring a stager to give your home the television-worthy polish so many buyers expect today. (Yes, they want your home to look like something they’d see on HGTV.) Assess what other sort of work needs to be done, such as fixing things that don’t work, touching up paint, or cleaning or replacing your carpets.
Decide if you need to update your landscaping, and paint, clean or tuck point your home’s exterior. And if you’re selling in January, clear out the holiday decorations as quickly as possible.
• Invite at least three agents to create a comparative marketing analysis (CMA).
Often, sellers simply call the agent who sold them their home to list it. While you may wind up hiring that person, you’ll be doing yourself a favor if you invite a couple of other agents in from different firms. That’s because each will bring different ideas to the table about how much your house is worth and what kind of marketing plan will work. They’ll all have different experiences to draw on and have different buyers in mind who may want to make a quick offer.
• Understand what it will take to sell your home.
If you live in an area littered with foreclosures, you may have to meet that price point in order to sell. Is it worth it? Probably not, but you’ll have to really evaluate price and timing in order to get the most for your property. If homes have begun to appreciate, you might be pleasantly surprised. Again, a CMA will be incredibly helpful.
• Be realistic about the market.
Find out what types of properties are selling in your area and how many days they’re sitting on the market. Accept the reality of your local market and make sure you price your home realistically.
Don’t blame your broker if you don’t get three offers over your list price within 24 hours of putting your home on the market. Sellers who set sky-high (or even pretty high) prices could wait months or years for an offer (one of my neighbors has been trying to sell his overpriced home for years) and may wind up with the same price they would have had if they’d priced their home correctly the first time — or a lot less.
In this real estate market, one of the worst things you can do is overprice your home from the start. The more realistic you are, the better off you’ll be.
• Rent if you can’t sell and buy at the same time.
We don’t recommend putting in an offer on another property until you have some serious interest in your current property or unless you have enough cash to cover the expenses of both properties for six to 12 months.
It’s fine to start researching other neighborhoods, but if you’re not sure what you want to do, consider renting on a short-term or month-to-month lease. While a double move is a pain, and does have some added costs, it’s a lot cheaper than carrying two mortgages for two years.
• Read all documents thoroughly before you sign them.
Why would someone sign a legal document he or she hasn’t read? I’m not sure, but home sellers do it every day. If you’re going to sell (or buy) in the coming year, promise yourself that you’ll take the time to read and understand the listing contract, offer to purchase and loan documents for your next purchase.
(If you’re taking back a loan for the home buyer, have an attorney prepare the documents so you are sure to be protected.) Unless you’ve got cash to spare, a mistake in these documents and the warranties they contain could seriously affect your finances.
• Don’t be greedy.
One big mistake many sellers make is to get a little greedy, particularly if the first offer is above the minimum acceptable price you’ve set. Then the negotiation becomes a game of how much you can get.
Remember, a successful sale means everyone walks away feeling happy. If you get so greedy that the buyer walks away, you’ve let the deal get the best of you. Resolve to be reasonable and you’ll end up shaking hands with the buyer at the closing. You should also know that there aren’t unlimited buyers out there, and if you lose one it might take you quite some time to find another.
Staging Tricks from the Pros
It can be a challenge to sell a house these days. That’s why many home sellers are hiring professional stagers to help them hike the odds of attracting a buyer. Here are some of the tricks the pros use to help homes sell quickly and for more than the asking price.
5 Secrets of Home Staging
Highlight your home’s strengths, downplay its weaknesses and appeal to the greatest possible pool of prospective buyers with these 5 secrets to home staging.
Bye, Bye Clutter
The most important thing you can do to prepare your home for sale is to get rid of clutter. Make a house rule that for every new item that comes in, an old one has to leave. One of the major contributors to a cluttered look is having too much furniture.
One of the things that make staged homes look so warm and welcoming is great lighting. As it turns out, many of our homes are improperly lighted. To remedy the problem, increase the wattage in your lamps and fixtures. Aim for a total of 100 watts for each 50 square feet. Don’t depend on just one or two fixtures per room, either. Make sure you have three types of lighting: ambient (general or overhead), task (pendant, under-cabinet or reading) and accent (table and wall).
There’s a common belief that rooms will feel larger and be easier to use if all the furniture is pushed against the walls, but that isn’t the case. Instead, furnish your space by floating furniture away from walls. Reposition sofas and chairs into cozy conversational groups, and place pieces so that the traffic flow in a room is obvious. Not only will this make the space more user-friendly, but it will open up the room and make it seem larger.
Make It Bigger
To make a room appear to be bigger than it is, paint it the same color as the adjacent room. If you have a small kitchen and dining room, a seamless look will make both rooms feel like one big space. And make a sunporch look bigger and more inviting by painting it green to reflect the color of nature. Another design trick: If you want to create the illusion of more space, paint the walls the same color as your drapery. It will give you a seamless and sophisticated look.
Neutral and Appealing
Painting a living room a fresh neutral color helps tone down any dated finishes in the space. Even if you were weaned on off-white walls, take a chance and test a quart of paint in a warm, neutral hue. These days, the definition of neutral extends way beyond beige, from warm tans and honeys to soft blue-greens. As for bold wall colors, they have a way of reducing offers, so go with neutrals in large spaces.
Evers & Co.