Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Top 5 Myths About Listing Home During Winter

The leaves are changing colors and there is a chill in the air most of the days.

This is the time of year that a lot sellers start changing their mind about listing their home and get into the mentality that they are going wait until the Spring to try and sell.  Here are the top 5 myths about listing in the Winter...Fact or Fiction?

1.  Nobody buys homes in the Winter.  This is Fiction.  There are still buyers out there looking to buy homes.  The inventory of homes available to purchase during the warmer months was already low, with the number of homes available during the cold months dropping it will be event harder to find homes.  The upside to this is that there is less inventory to have as competition and you will have great comps to price your home since we look at what has happened in the past 6 months.  Those listing in the Spring will have to rely on these Winter sales to price their homes.

2.  My house doesn't look best in the Winter because everything is dead.  This is Fiction.  The holidays are one of the most beautiful times to list homes and have amazing pictures show.  With holiday trees and garlands and stockings hung by the chimney with care, it can really up the sense of feeling at home and the potential buyers will be able to get a feel of what their own holiday seasons would be like in your home.

3.  There are no more houses listed on the market.  This is almost FACT.  This is the season that many people decide to put off selling their home.  As I stated above, it can be at a huge advantage to take advantage of this opportunity and have your home available when others are not.

4.  The only lookers are thieves scoping out our holiday presents.  This is 99% Fiction.  Although there are always going to be humans with malicious intentions, 99% of people do not have this intention.  Not only with a buyer be accompanied by an agent as they go through your home, but it is highly encouraged that you don't leave holiday gifts out in the open.  If you have small children, they don't usually get put out until the night before anyways, right?  Don't give someone an open invitation to see all of your generosity, but don't hold back in your decorating.

5.  I will have to always clean off my drive and walk for people to walk through.  It will be a mess.  This is a FACT, but there is more to it.  You have to clear off your drive and walkway because it is convenient for you and your family AND it is mandatory if you live in a neighborhood.  With melting snow, there is a chance that things could get messy.  But there is a solution for this as well.  Put out a Welcome mat for guests to be able to wipe their feet on.  This is something that can grab their attention right from the beginning.  It is not against the law to ask people to remove their shoes when viewing the house.  Just make sure that you have a mat or something on the inside where they can leave them that won't make a mess.  Also, you can always take it one step further and provide booties to cover their shoes with.  This is usually very convenient when you have on lace-up boots that are inconvenient to take off an put on over and over.

Take advantage of this opportunity to sell your home when others are slacking.  If you want the best real estate group in town, give me a call today to look at what we can sell your home for...free of charge.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Convenience Is What Really Matters

There is no doubt that there is some stress that goes along with selling your home, and many aspects that have to be addressed.  Some of these include:

  • Having the home in show quality at all times
  • Ability to leave the house when a showing is requested
  • Wondering about repairs that will need to be made
  • What price will you get for the home
  • How long will it be on the market
  • Do you have to find another home to purchase when this one sells
  • etc., etc., etc.
When using Cutler Real Estate as your real estate company, there is one less thing that you have to worry about.  Paperwork.

I know that sounds like the most minimal item on the list but it really isn't.  There are a ton of papers that are required by the State of Ohio that must be filled out just to get the process started.  Then when an offer comes through, you have to be able to look at the offers and counter offer if it's not up to your expectation and then you have to wait for the buyer's response.  Or you have to sign the offer if it's amazing and get it right back to the buyer before they look for something else.

And what if you don't live in the Columbus, Ohio area?  

With some companies, it is a battle of the schedules.  When are you available?  When is your significant other available?  When is the Realtor available?  If not, do you have access to a scanner, fax machine, etc. to get the paperwork and get it back?  Not only are these inconvenient but they also waste time that may not be available.

These steps are all streamlined with our Dotloop system.  Dotloop is available as an app and on a website as well.  We send you the paperwork over through the system, you fill out the paperwork and put your electronic signature on it, save it and it comes right back to us.  Amazing right?  If you don't live in the area or are away on business / vacation, no problem.  This goes wherever you go.

The paperwork is saved for 7 years so you don't have to worry about where your paperwork is at when it comes to tax time next year.  

If you haven't heard yet, there are new rules and regulations that have just went into place starting October 3, 2015 that can affect the process if a system like this isn't available.  Cutler is ahead of the game because we have had our process in the works for over 2 years already and are pros at working it.

So if you're looking for a company that is willing to do what it takes to make you're life a little easier and a little more convenient throughout the process, you will want to give me a call.

Angie@AngieTravisRealtor.com   614-374-6353

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Buyers Make Sense ~ Tips, Tricks and Advice

Okay, so we know that the buyers are going to be looking around the house and at some of the very specific things around your house.  But did you realize that they are going to looking at things within the house too that you need to be prepared for?

There are no perfect buyers nor perfect agents that will be bringing the buyers through.  We try to watch them very closely and absolutely discourage them from being like this picture!  But, Buyers will look:
  • In your closets
  • In your cupboards
  • Inside your refrigerator
  • Inside the stove
Make sure these areas are clean, organized and there's nothing there that you don't want someone to see.

Also, buyers sometimes have children with them.  And not all parents watch them very closely.  Here are a few tips that will keep you, your stuff and others safe:

  • Put away any collectibles that you don't want broken or to come up missing
  • Make sure there are no prescription drugs around the house
  • ABSOLUTELY NO GUNS in the house that are not inside a locked case and out of site

One last quick note.  Because you are not going to holding the buyers' hands as they walk through your home, make notes and tell them why things in your house are special.  Or create one sheet that has everything on it that they can look for as they go through.  Is that chandelier one-of-a-kind?  Has the carpet or flooring been replaced in the past few months?  Is that a new deck on the back?  Any of these items would be great information for a buyer to know about your home.  Share it!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Buyers Make Sense ~ What They Smell

Everything is great according to the eye.  Now it is time to make sure with the nose.

Can you close your eyes and remember different places because of the smell that they had?  I remember that smell of Grandma's and Grandpa's or going to the pool in the summer.  And a quick sniff can take you right back there.

Every place and every person has a different smell.  It could be attributed to the perfume / cologne that they wear, the foods that they cook, the animals that they keep.  Most people don't know what their own smell is because they are always with it.  It takes an outsider to come in and make a comment to know that there is one (good or bad).  Do you know what your smell is?

When it is time to start showing people your house, invite friends and family members over for a first look.  Ask them if there is anything noticeable in the house that an outsider would comment on.  Because you are openly asking this question, hopefully they will give you their opinion and you won't get mad at them if they answer it.

Here are some things that you are going to want to watch out for:

  • Make sure that all animal areas are ALWAYS cleaned up including crates, litter boxes, bedding, etc.
  • Don't go overboard with air fresheners.  Some people have a sensitive nose and this will be a turn off to them.
  • Be aware of what you cook and how it could affect the house.  Some items such as fish, onions, etc. have a very lingering smell.
  • If you clean with a bleach product, don't go overboard with it.  This may cause a buyer to assume that you are covering something up.
  • Appeal to their sense of taste.  If you want to put a good smell in the house, bake a pie or cookies.  Who can turn those smells down...as long as you don't burn them lol.
  • Make sure the trash is taken out.
  • If the weather is nice and you have windows open...make sure that dog poop is cleaned up outside if you have a dog.  This smell does come into the house.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Buyers Make Sense - What They See

It's time to talk about what you need to do around the house, inside and out, to be appealing to a buyer.

  • Curb Appeal.  You may usually pull into a garage to park the car, but one time pull in front of your house and look at it as a buyer would.  Check on these things:
    • Do you see any peeling paint?
    • Is your roof & gutters in good condition?
    • Is the walkway accessible or are there obstacles in the way?  Make sure it is clear and easy to get up.
    • If you have a concrete walkway, are there any major cracks or breaks that could cause someone to become injured?
  • Front Door
    • It needs to be clean.
    • It needs to look freshly painted.
    • It needs to be a good color and not something crazy.
    • No peeling paint around the door frame.
    • Does the doorbell work?
  • Front Stoop
    • The buyers are going to be standing here waiting for either you to open the door for them or for an agent to let them inside.  They are going to be looking all around the front to see if they see any issues before they come inside.  
    • Make sure that cobwebs are swept away.  
    • There should b no dead leaves, flowers or others that need to be cleared away.
    • A nice welcome mat is always a nice touch.
    • If the weather is warm, take the time to power wash the siding to give it a clean, crisp look.


  • De-Clutter
    • You know that you're going to be moving anyways, so now is the time to start getting rid of some stuff.  If you're not going to be using it anymore, give it away or throw it away.  If you're not going to be using it right now, box it up.  That's one less thing you will have to do later!
  • De-Personalize
    • It is wonderful to walk into homes that have 1,000 baby pictures on the walls or amazing accomplishments and awards...but those things become distractions.  Buyers are more busy looking at these items instead of at the house.  Put those things away.  It is also a great idea to put away any religious items.  You wouldn't want to offend someone, or turn off a buyer because they didn't have the same belief as you do.
  • Paint
    • If you have rooms that need a fresh coat of paint or need to be neutral, it is always a good idea to do this before showings begin.  DON'T PAINT ALL WHITE!  
  • Clean Carpets
    • Sometimes a perspective buyer will look at a house and think that it needs new carpet when all it really needs is a good cleaning.  By doing this one step, it could save you some money because buyers will try to lower the price with the thought that new carpet is going to need to be installed.
  • Run the Sweeper
    • Before a buyer comes to look at the house, run the sweeper.  This assures that everything is nice and clean.  They know that you have put an effort into the house and that you really care.
  • Close Toilets
    • You would be surprised at how many homes I go into that they have not done this...and some of them don't even flush!!!!  That is just a gross thing.  Most buyers are not going to lift up a lid or look at the inside on an initial showing.  When they stick their head inside a bathroom, you just don't want the inside of a toilet bowl to be the thing that they remember!
  • Take Out Trash
    • This means for the kitchen and the bathrooms.  Trash in the kitchen can lead to odors that you wouldn't normally have or that you would want a buyer to smell.  And in the bathroom, things are usually put into there that you don't want strangers to see and that they really don't want to see.  Dump it before they get there!
  • Change Light Bulbs
    • You want the house to be flooded with light when they come in.  Because you are going to go around the house and turn on all the lights anyways, make sure that all of the bulbs are working.  If they are not, change them.
  • Dust
    • During the showing process, you will want to make sure that the normal areas are dusted.  But about once a month, make sure that you get those areas that you don't normally think about like ceiling fans, plant ledges, light fixtures, etc.  These are things that you may not normally look at, but a buyer will pick up on them quickly.
  • Put Away All Animals Stuff

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

What Is Market Value and Why Does It Apply To Me?

When I am setting a price for your home, I will run a market analysis to determine this amount.  Through my MLS (multiple listing service) I look at:

1.      Active.  This will give me an idea of what your competition is.  I will look at the houses that are similar to yours and determine how competitive you need to be.  When buyers are looking at your home, they will most likely be looking at these available homes as well.  How does yours compare in location, price and condition?
2.      In contract.  These homes are not directly in competition with you but they are not yet sold either.  By the time that yours is sold, they will hopefully be closed and be able to provide us with additional comparable.  I just need to see if there are any that will help us or hurt us.
3.      Closed (Sold).  These are the most important because these are the same numbers that an appraiser will be looking at when determining the final value of your home.  I would look for homes that are as close to yours in square footage, number of bedrooms & bathrooms, basement size / finished or not, garage size and basic updates.  An appraiser will not use details of updates (such as yours has ceramic and a comparable has linoleum flooring) to increase the value.  The appraiser will report a final value of your home to the bank of the buyer…and that will be the maximum amount they will be able to get a loan for.

Why does this matter? 

If you have overpriced your home based on Market Value, it doesn't matter if a buyer has offered to pay a higher amount.  If an appraiser gives a lesser amount as their appraisal, the buyer will only be able to secure a loan for the appraised value.  (For example:  Your home is listed for $200,000.  A buyer has made an offer for $200,000.  Homes in the area have only been selling for $180,000.  The appraiser gives a value of your home at $180,000.  The buyer will only be able to get a loan for $180,000.  They would have to either bring $20,000 cash to the closing to complete the deal or you would have to lower the price or the deal would die.)  To not be put into this position, it is best to price your home right the first time.

You could look on websites like Trulia and Zillow to try and determine these values on your own.  The problem is that these websites are not always accurate or up-to-date.  As an agent, I would use the MLS (multiple listing service) to find out this information and discuss it with you.  My information is updated daily and the same information that local appraisers will look at when they are doing their job.  Often times I actually provide these numbers to the appraiser so that they can see what we used to accurately price your home.

Would you like a FREE Market Analysis with no obligation?  Give me a call today!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Necessary Upgrades, "Upgrades" & Over Upgrading

Ever heard these terms before?  I swear that I didn't just make it up!

One of the first slides that I have in my presentation when meeting with a prospective new seller is "What will my home sell for?"  Pretty important, right?  It's something that I take a lot of time to talk about.  But even after going through the slide that says that you won't get out of it all the upgrades that you have put into it, I have so many people that will continue to tell me all of the upgrades they have put into the home to justify the price that they think that it is worth.

So I thought that it would be a great idea to talk a little on here about Necessary Upgrades, "Upgrades" and Over Upgrading.

What are Necessary Upgrades?
          Necessary upgrades are things that you have done to the house because it was necessary for your comfort while continuing to live there.  This includes NEW roof, furnace, a/c, hot water tank, garage door, etc.  Things that have broken that you needed to have fixed for the convenience of your living there no matter if you sold it or not.  
          We can also include updates in this portion too.  These are items that were necessary to update if you want to get the home sold.  Painting old paneling, removing wallpaper, fixing broken items, replacing the hardware in the kitchen to give it a more modern feel, etc.  They are still things that you are putting money into, but money that you won't necessarily recoup back from the sale of your house.

What are "Upgrades"?
           Yes, I purposefully put these into quote marks.  These are those lovely items that a seller thinks were absolutely necessary but will have no impact on a buyer.  The reason for some of these is because of the way that a buyer and a seller will see things differently.  I had a client once that was selling her house above market value despite advice from her real estate professional, and put laminate throughout the the 1st level living area.  This was a neighborhood where hardwood was almost a standard and should have been used instead, but it was an upgrade in her mind.  

What are Over Upgrades?
          These are upgrades that you have made to your house that were a great upgrade and makes the home more desirable, but won't get you more money necessarily.  Your house is in a small subdivision where the average home price is $130,000 ~ for example ~.  The homes are 10+ years old.  Everything was just average when they were built and some of the neighbors may have done a few upgrades here and there.  YOUR house has granite counter tops throughout, double headed shower with sauna, spay foam insulation throughout, real hardwood flooring, custom cabinets, marble time flooring in the bathrooms & kitchen, hand-lain stone patio and porch with attached sunroom.  You get the point.  With all of the money that you had put into these upgrades you wouldn't be able to recoup that money.

Okay, Angie....what is your point on all of this?  When you are doing any updating to your house because you're thinking of selling your home, keep these in mind.  I promise that when I meet with you and we speak about the pricing of your home, it's going to be about the Market Value that it is going to sell for...not the upgrade value.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Welcome To The New Year!

Many, many people make New Year's Resolutions.  We've all heard them (lose weight, stop smoking, exercise more or lose weight, etc.)  The funny thing is that most of them are not kept after February...if that long.

Are you one of those people?  Is one of your resolutions to finally get your house sold in 2015?  I'm here to tell you that we can get it done!

2014 ended with a bang.  There are stories that the economy is recovering and buyers are feeling confident in spending money on purchasing a home again.  Banks are loosening up a little with the lending and allowing more people to actually get financed.  Gas prices have dropped.  All of these things are great at helping the housing market too.

There are 3 things that are going to get your home sold.  You think I'm going to say location, location, location right?  Nope!

  1. The first item truly is location.  If you have a good location then you are on the right track.  But I believe that every location is good for somebody...unless it is really bad.  Good schools, easy commute location, low tax district, etc.  Each buyer is going to have a different idea of what is a good location for them.
  2. The second item is condition.  This is where I am going to ask you to step out of your own shoes and take away all of your feelings for your home and look at it through a buyer's eyes.  Is the house move-in ready or is there work that needs to be done to the house like new paint, carpet or upgrades that are needed?  When a buyer walks into a house, they are looking for things that will need to be fixed in the home and dollar signs begin to dance around in their head.  They will start subtracting amounts they think it will take to fix items when they are calculating how much to make an offer for.  These may not be realistic numbers, but it is justified to them.  
  3. Price is the last and probably the most important aspect of the equation.  First you have to look at what the houses are selling for in your area.  This is where the professional will help.  Then you need to think about the condition discussed above.  You can either put your own money into the updates that need to be done and price it a little higher, or you can adjust the price and allow the buyer to do it on their own (unless they are things that absolutely need to be done!)
When I am talking with a potential seller, these are all items that we go over and create a specific plan of action based on each individual's needs.  I look at the whole picture and come up with a game plan based off of the whole picture.

So, if you're ready to knock one item off of your resolution list, and actually stick to it, give me a call today so that we can start your game plan and get your home sold!