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 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!