Category Archives: Selling your home in today’s market

Advice for Home Sellers


Advice for Home Sellers

 Selling your home can be one of the most difficult tasks most people will undertake.  It is a complicated financial, marketing, negotiating ordeal that few people are prepared to undertake.  Even with the help of an experienced real estate agent, the ordeal can seem overwhelming.

Let me share some advice that will hopefully help you in this process.

First and foremost – and I cannot stress this enough – you must find a REALTOR® who can provide you with the experience and expertise to handle this daunting task.  All too often, potential sellers reach out to an agent they met at the open house of the property they want to buy.  The problem is that the agent at the open house is there to represent the sellers’ interests, not yours.  The other scenario is that the agent you select is your Aunt Betty Ann’s cousin twice removed whom you have never met and it was just expected that you would use this agent.  Select your own agent who will give you the professional advice you need to maximize the selling price of your home and be on top of things every step of the way.

It is important that agents and clients have a clear understanding of what communications need to take place and how they would like to communicate.  I had some clients who wanted me to communicate with text messages to each of them. They would then talk amongst themselves and the wife would call me with an answer or questions. It worked great, but I needed to know that upfront.  I learned this by asking them during our initial meeting how we wanted to communicate.

The second important issue in selling your home is determining the selling price.  All too often, agents succumb to listing the property for the amount the sellers want to sell it for and not the actual market price.  As an agent, I have an obligation to provide the accurate price that the house will most likely sell for.  In this business over pricing your home is the kiss of death.  Don’t do it.  Homes that linger on the market have a much greater chance of not selling or for a price lower that what you could originally obtained.  Price it right.

The third issue is preparing your home to sell.  This is one of the most difficult areas for real estate agents.  I previewed a very expensive home several years ago that the kitchen table had the morning breakfast dishes left.  The family obviously left in a hurry to get out the door that day, but what I remember about that house is not the fabulous lay out, but rather the dirty dishes left on the table.

In this area, it is important that agents are afforded the right to critique the presentation of the house.  If there are things that need to be decluttered or repaired, be sure to do that.  Unfortunately, at that point in a sellers’ life they are probably focusing on the home they are buying and not on the home they want to sell.

If you are thinking of buying or selling talk to a real estate professional – talk to a REALTOR® – who can give you the information you need to make an informed decision.

As always, if I can help with any of your real estate needs, please feel free to text or call me at  301-712-8808 or email me at RolandLow1@gmail.com.

Roland

 

 

 

 

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What Every REALTOR® Wants You To Know About Selling Your House


What Every REALTOR® Wants You To Know About Selling Your House

If you haven’t sold or bought a house in the last several years, you are in for a shock in todays’ market.  In days gone by home owners put their house on the market and they would have two or three offers and often time there would be a bidding war.  Although bidding wars do occasionally happen in todays’ market, it is a rarity.

REALTOR® Means Professional

Sellers’ and buyers’, for that matter need to be aware of the significant changes that are occurring in the market and be prepared to handle it accordingly.  It is absolutely critical that sellers and buyers be cognizant of how the Internet plays into their plan.  More often than not buyers will determine not to buy your house long before they every come to see it.  Here are some tips for sellers that buyers already know.

  1. First and foremost, select a full service broker. Most of your larger real estate brokerage companies are full service.  Your commission will be in the range of 5% – 7% but it will be well worth it. On average, a full service REALTOR® will sell your home for 17% higher than a for sale by owner, and it will most likely sell faster.  Discount brokers fair no better.  The days of simply putting your home in the MLS and waiting for an offer to come in are over.  Properties must be marketed, not just listed.

There are a couple of things that I like to point out that your REALTOR® should be doing.  First of all, even with the best of cameras in cell phones and iPads, those pictures cannot compete with photos from a professional photographer.  If your agent says they can take pictures with their smart phone – find another agent.

 

Second, have a serious conversation with the presentation of the home and above all else, do not be offended if your agent points out things that need to be cleaned or repaired.  Their job is to sell your house in a timely manner and get you the most money they can.  Be receptive to their comments.

 

  1. Price your house to sell! It seems to be a universal belief in humanity that a persons house will miraculously sell above the market price.  The thing to remember is that the seller determines the listing price, but the buyer determines the selling price.  Price your house to sell – period. Review the comps that the agent has provided, but understand that the price is not going to be determined by what you want for the house or what you owe.  Usually the sellers thinking goes something like this: “If I ask a higher price, I always have room to negotiate.”  What sellers fail to realize is that quite often you limit the number of buyers who want to buy at the price point that you should be listed at.  Trust your REALTOR®
  1. Fix the house before listing it! I suggest that a good approach is to have a home inspection done prior to listing your home.  This will identify many of the things that a buyer will see or will have identified on their home inspection.  It is good to have as much of the stuff repaired before listing the house.  I remember one listing I had that the sellers had a sliding glass door that lead to the deck.  I could probably rip open the back of an armored car easier than slide that door open.  When I pointed it out to the sellers, their response was placing your hands like this and it would open.  Makes no difference if you know how to open it, every single potential buyer tried to open that door and had difficulty.  The house never sold.  There is a belief that if you have a home inspection prior to listing        your house and the inspector points out a serious problem, that the sellers will now be required to report that finding on their disclosure document – and that is true.  However, if a potential buyer has a home inspection – and most of them do – and that inspection identifies a problem, the sellers must still report the finding.
  1. Sell first, then buy. If you are thinking of buying a new home, but you have a house to sell, I suggest that you sell your house first, and then buy the home you want.  That doesn’t mean that you don’t start looking early on, but get the ball going with selling your home before making offers on a house you want to buy. It puts you in a much better negotiating position when buying if you already have a contract on the home you are selling.
  1. Clean and declutter. This is one area that cannot be overstated.  Without fail, the day you decide to go to work with the beds unmade, dirty breakfast dishes on the table is the day that an agent will show that property to a potential buyer.  And don’t even think of having the showings set up with a 24 hour notice – that eliminates too many buyers.   When it comes to declutter, I suggest that you rent a storage facility and place anything and everything that you do not need for the next few months in there.  The more you declutter, the larger your home looks.  I also suggest that you hire a cleaning service to come in and deep clean your home.  From wiping down walls to cleaning carpeting.  If you can arrange to have them come in every couple of days, all the better.

If you are thinking of selling or buying, talk to a real estate professional – talk to a REALTOR® – who can give you the information you need to make an informed decision.

As always, if I can help with any of your real estate needs, please feel free to text or call me at 301-712-8808 or email me at RolandLow1@gmail.com.

Roland

FREE Home Warranty


 

FREE Home Warranty
by Roland Low, Coldwell Banker Innovations

House with Umbrella for web (1)

If you, or anyone you know, is even thinking of buying or selling, I have a deal for you.  I am offering a FREE home warranty for buyer’s and seller’s that sign a representative contract with me and close by July 31, 2016.

This is NOT a skimmed down version of a warranty. It is issued by Coldwell Banker and administered by American Home Shield. The plan is the Shield Plus and will cover such items as air conditioning, heating, ductwork, plumbing, electrical, water heaters, washer, dryer, refrigerator, built-in microwave,dishwasher and more.

Buyer’s will have the comfort of knowing that they have coverage for unexpected home repairs that can happen at any time. Seller’s have the benefit of marketing their home with a home warranty. It’s a win-win.

Of course there are some limitations and exclusions so call me today for details. This offer may be cancelled at any time.

Roland

What Every REALTOR® Wants You To Know – My Two-Faced Strategies!


What Every REALTOR® Wants You To Know – My Two-Faced Strategies!

No one should be surprised to hear that the strategy a REALTOR® plans for a buyer is different for that of a seller. I have both sellers and buyers that I am working with and some are several months into the future.

Real Estate Market Trend is Strong
Real Estate Market Trend is Strong

I have a client who is preparing his house to go on the market this summer. This summer fits into the schedule they have. My advice to them is that it is Ok to wait until summer because home prices are expected to climb. Home prices in the nation climbed 8.2% from January, 2015 to January, 2016. This increase works well with their plan to list the property this summer.

I also have clients that are looking to buy a home. They want to “start looking actively” in May of this year. My advice to them is to not wait. That same increase in home prices that are working to the advantage of my home sellers is working against my home buyers. My advice to home buyers is to not wait.

If you are looking to buy a home of $250,000, an 8.2% increase in the price would now cost you $270,500 – an increase of $20,500. The good news is that mortgage interest rates are expected to remain low, however, some slight increases may occur.

My advice to home sellers is to list your property to fit your schedule. My advice to home buyers is to get moving. If you are even thinking of buying a home in the next year I encourage you to start now.

If you are thinking of buying or selling, talk to a real estate professional – talk to a REALTOR® – who can give you the information you need to make an informed decision.

As always, if I can help with any of your real estate needs, please feel free to text or call me at 301-712-8808 or email me at RolandLow1@gmail.com.

Roland

Real Estate Market Conditions – January 2016


There is little doubt that the rebound of the real estate market has been a slow but steady improvement.  The latest numbers to come out for the State of Maryland and more specifically, Frederick County confirms the continued improvement of the market.

Real-Estate-News1

The State of Maryland had a 14.2% increase in the sale of homes in January, 2015 compared to January, 2016.  That results in 553 more homes sold in Maryland in January of this year compared to last January.

Frederick County had a 22.0% increase over last year January. The average price of homes decreased by 0.5% over last year January.

The inventory of homes on the market is an extremely important number that real estate professionals watch closely.  The rule of thumb is:

If there is 6 months or more of inventory of homes for sale, it is considered a buyer’s market.

Any where from 3 months to 6 months of inventory is considered a neutral market – neither a buyer’s market or a seller’s market.

If there less than 3 months of inventory of homes for sale, it is considered a seller’s market.

In the State of Maryland, the inventory level for January, 2015 compared to January, 2016 dropped from 6.5 months to 5.5 months meaning it has transitioned from a buyer’s market to a neutral market.  

In Frederick County, the inventory level for January, 2015 compared to January, 2016 dropped from 6.3 months to 5.5 months meaning it too has transitioned from a buyer’s market to a neutral market.

A continued downward trend to 3 months or less of inventory will switch to a seller’s market.

If you are thinking of buying or selling, talk to a real estate professional – talk to a REALTOR® – who can give you the information you need to make an informed decision.

As always, if I can help with any of your real estate needs, please feel free to text or call me at 301-712-8808 or email me at RolandLow1@gmail.com.

Roland

 

 

What Every REALTOR® Wants You To Know – Myths in Real Estate


Myths are nothing new. In days gone by, information was exchanged at the back fence with a neighbor or at the local store. Today, with the explosion of information on the Internet we can exchange information at lightning speed. Truth and myths travel at the same speed.

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Buying a house is not something that people do everyday. Many will be out of the housing market for years or even a lifetime. Some may buy or sell a house every few years. Nevertheless, the real estate market is a fast changing market that needs expert guidance.

The biggest thing to remember is that not everything you read on the Internet is true. Boy, there’s a news flash! I always get weary when someone starts a sentence, “Well, I read on the Internet that ….”

Here are some ideas that float around with potential seller’s and buyer’s that may not only be false, but may actually damage your efforts in buying or selling.

  • Over pricing your home. Every seller wants to get the most for the property they are selling, and every buyer wants to buy the property for the least they can get it for – that is pretty much a given. But over pricing your home may be the kiss of death in real estate. If I have a buyer who is looking to buy a house for $400,000, I am not going to show them a house listed for $499,900, even if that house may only be worth $400,000. Overpricing your home may result in not getting the traffic you need to sell your house. My advice: List your property close to what you expect the actually selling cost to be.
  • Not using a REALTOR® can save you money. Buyers generally do not pay anything to the agent for their services. The commission is paid by the sellers. It is important that you read any contract to determine how the commission will be paid. As a buyer if you contact the listing agent about the property, you have to remember that generally the listing agent works for the seller – not you! I always, always, always advise buyers to have their own agent. Sign a buyer’s agreement and let them represent you.
  • FSBO – For Sale By Owner – is statistically not a financially good move. Yes, it is true that you can sell your own property, and yes there are discount brokers who will tell you that the only thing you need to do is have your property listed on the MLS. Generally speaking FSBO will languish on the market for extended periods of time. In addition, studies have shown that property sold by a REALTOR® sold for 17% more than FSBO. That is much more than any commission will cost.
  • Renovate your home to get top dollar. Many people believe that remodeling your home will get you a lot more money for your home. It may, but more than likely, you will spend more for the remodeling that you will recover in the sales price. Renovating a house shortly before selling may actually backfire. Potential buyers may not share your taste but may not want to redo a kitchen or bathroom that has just been done. Also, remodeling part of your house and not the whole house may make the house look unfinished. Unless, there are things that need attention, like heating and air conditioning, plumbing, or a new roof, I would suggest that you adjust the price of your home, rather than start remodeling.

If you are thinking of buying or selling talk to a real estate professional – talk to a REALTOR® – who can give you the information you need to make an informed decision.

As always, if I can help with any of your real estate needs, please feel free to tex or call me at 301-712-8808 or email me at RolandLow1@gmail.com.

Roland

What Every REALTOR® Wants You To Know – Multiple Offers Require Aggressive Buying


What Every REALTOR® Wants You To Know – Multiple Offers Require Aggressive Buying

It has been a while since the real estate market has had a lot of multiple offers, but they do occur and when they do, buyer’s need to be prepared and negotiate accordingly.

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The price is undoubtedly the most important aspect of the buying process, but often times there are other factors that will entice a seller to choose one buyer over another.
Quite often that factor is how badly a potential buyer wants the property.

I know this flies in the face of negotiating, but potential buyer’s – and seller’s – should keep the idea of win-win in mind rather than us – them. If buyer’s low-ball their offer they of course run the risk of having their offer rejected, then they are dead in the water.

Before buyer’s put in an offer for a home, their agent should conduct a CMA (Comparative Market Analysis) to determine an appropriate offer for the house. If the buyer’s are serious about this house, I suggest that the offer come in as close to the amount as is reasonable. If the offer is not close, it tells the sellers, you’re really not interested.

There is another factor that sends a message to a seller as to whether or not the buyer’s are interested or not, and that is how quickly a buyer responds to a counter offer. If you want to convince a seller you are interested, be prepared to respond quickly and with a definitive offer.

If a seller responds with a counter offer and gives a 24 hour response time, and the buyers take 24 hours to respond, it tells the sellers they are not interested. I suggest to buyers to make their counter offer as quickly as possible to keep the ball in play. You never know what other others will be placed on the table in the mean time.

If you are thinking of buying or selling, talk to a real estate professional – talk to a REALTOR® – who can give you the information you need to make an informed decision.

As always, if I can help with any of your real estate needs, please feel free to text or call me at 301-712-8808 or email me at RolandLow1@gmail.com.

Roland