Home Trends#

Here’s an interesting article from CNNMoney.com where Les Christie considers the "5 Home Trends We Never Saw Coming". http://money.cnn.com/2006/12/05/real_estate/home_trends_we_never_saw/index.htm My first take on the article was to wonder how Christie missed America’s obsession with garages. We have gone from off-street parking to 3 car garages with room for an RV. Where do we go from here? Well, it looks like we’re going up… scale "with cabinet and storage systems, matching refrigerators, air conditioning and residential looking flooring". The one that surprised me was the snoring room. I had to wonder why we haven’t come up with this idea already. Although I’m not sure I would want it too close to the master suite. The source of these ideas is a survey of 923 real estate agents, so it would be interesting to see their demographics. As far as "what’s out", spiral staircases, bamboo floors and hardwood laminate flooring have topped the list. It will be interesting to see how many of these trends continue. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go hang out in the garage...

Deanna

Saturday, August 25, 2007 12:22:12 AM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00) #    Comments [0]  | 

 

Cheap Fixes to Help Your House Sell#

What updates catch a buyer's eye?  In many cases they may be cheaper than you think. 

 

We've heard it again and again; make sure to make a good first impression.  Well, this is what you want to do with your home.  Spruce up the entry by updating the porch light, the house numbers and the doorbell.  Spending a little extra money here will save you money in the long run.

 

Another first impression is the front yard.  In the summer, keep your lawn as green as you can and make sure you edge it before you show the house. In the fall and winter, make sure leaves and dead plants are cleaned up and any snow on the ground is shoveled so the driveway and sidewalks are cleared.  It will show that somebody has put care into the maintenance of the home.

 

Details are extremely important when a buyer is looking at a house.  Updating and upgrading sink faucets and light fixtures can give the home a classy feel.

 

Make sure you paint and replace carpet anywhere you can.  This is pretty self-explanatory.  If you had to choose between buying something dated and used verses something clean and new, the choice is obvious.

 

 Light and bright is always a selling point for homes.  To help brighten up your home make sure you replace all your light bulbs with the brightest ones you can get.  Also get out there and wash your windows and you'll be amazed at the difference it will make!

 

Deanna

Saturday, July 21, 2007 12:27:14 AM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00) #    Comments [0]  | 

 

Sign Psycology#

Before buyers get to see your house and get a first impression, their impression will come from your marketing and it will tell them quite a bit.  Home made signs or those cheap black and red hardware store signs that say "For Sale By Owner" on them are known around here as "Five Thousand Dollar" yard signs.  That's because a cheap sign tells the buyer two important things that could end up costing you sometimes five thousand or more dollars in a lower offer:

 

1. You need money - It may or may not be true, but a low end or homemade sign makes you appear short on cash or motivated.  Either impression makes you vulnerable to a lower offer.

 

2. You are doing it on your own.  Savvy investors and agents know that for sale by owners don't know the ropes as well as they do, and without expert advisors, you are vulnerable. 

 

In addition to the professional appearance of your sign, there are two words you never want to have on your yard sign.  They send an unconscious message to buyers that you are desperate, motivated and alone.  These two words often result in lower offers.  The sad truth is that many home sellers and by owner companies nationwide start off with these words on their yard signs, (unless they have a strong background in marketing).   These two dangerous words are "By Owner". 

 

People may think that because you aren’t paying an agent’s commission that you are priced lower.  How you market your property is irrelevant to its value. There is no advantage to you in broadcasting that you are marketing by owner.  In fact, it will increase the number of calls you receive from agents that don’t have buyers but are looking for a listing.  Over time, fending off these calls wears on you and many people will end up listing with an agent just to make it all stop. 

 

By posturing yourself at the beginning of your marketing to give a professional impression to buyers, you reduce the chances of having to deal with distractions and lowball offers.

Jill

Saturday, July 14, 2007 12:32:31 AM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00) #    Comments [1]  | 

 

Who Does It Pay?#

At the bottom of EVERY real estate section each Sunday in The Spokesman Review it reads “Produced by the Advertising Department of The Spokesman Review in conjunction with the Spokane Association of Realtors.”

 

Do you think this “very fine” print makes it clear to the thousands of Spokane readers of the paper that this entire section of the paper is nothing but advertising?  I think the wording is deceptively small and find it interesting that while it reads “Advertising Supplement to The Spokesman Review” above the classified ads beginning on page 4, there is no such disclaimer above the article titled “It pays to have a REALTOR® handle your deal,” on page 2, in the December 3, 2006 issue.

 

Add to the deception, real articles on fruit jar collecting and how to pick a snow shovel among others and it would appear to the unsuspecting reader that you could take the words of wisdom written by Don Walker, “a columnist for The Spokane Association of REALTORS®” at face value.

 

With millions of commission dollars on the line each year, Mr. Walker, may be the most important weapon in the fight to keep Spokane home owners ignorantly following their commission sales people like lemmings to financial disaster.

 

Maybe the article should read “It pays the REALTOR® to handle your deal”.  Information that the article implies is only available from a REALTOR® such as “current cost of homes” is readily available free of charge from Title Companies and more accurately provided through an appraisal done by a state certified real estate appraiser.  Newspaper ads can be purchased for only $1.95 per line in the Sunday paper and get as much if not more exposure than the large display ads which do a better job of promoting the company that is listing the home rather than the individual property.

 

Articles touting the benefits of using an agent and scaring those who dare consider selling their own property have been appearing with greater frequency in The Spokesman Review, as Spokanebyowner.com has grown in popularity over the past 9 years. Unfortunately, using fear and misinformation to promote an agenda is not new in this industry or any other.  This article states “Wait too long and the sought-after home may be sold before you act.”

 

My theory is that a better priced home that is marketed extensively is going to sell faster than a home that is higher priced because the seller added 6% to cover the cost of an agents’ commission.  If you take the home at fair market value and then subtract even 3% (1/2 of the commission), that home is going to sell faster than it would for 3% more.

 

In my opinion “It pays to handle Your Own Deal with the assistance of Spokanebyowner.com and your Real Estate Attorney.”

 

Ron

 

Saturday, June 30, 2007 12:35:36 AM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00) #    Comments [0]  | 

 

What Do Women Want?#

What do women want? Listen up guys I’m about to tell you.

Personality and charm.

OK, don’t worry, I’m not talking about you (for now), I’m talking about your home.

According to a "Better Homes and Gardens" article about the 2006 International Builders’ Show women are passing by the cookie-cutter designs for personalized space. The reason why this is so important is because the article says that 85 percent of home buying decisions are made by women. Women have spoken and they want their kitchens and master baths to fit their personality and needs.

I, as a woman, would say that this is probably a pretty accurate assessment. So, hey, with 85% of the decision based on the woman’s opinion you might want to hide the neon signs and play station down in Manland until you’re done showing your home.

Saturday, June 16, 2007 12:39:49 AM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00) #    Comments [0]  | 

 

Selling By Owner From A to Z#

Deanna here... OK, I got the "From A-Z" idea off a different blog, but imitation is a form of flattery, right? OK, here goes a selling by owner version of "From A-Z":

A - Appraisal: This is something to seriously consider to make the process of selling your home as smooth as possible. It will not only give you an unbiased value to help with pricing, but it shows buyers you can be taken seriously.

B - Beware of Signing Documents: There are a lot of good people out there, but we recommend you have legal counsel to make sure nothing comes as a surprise after the house is sold.

C - Comparable Prices: We recommend that you get these values from a title company. Agents have a motive for how they use comps to come up with a price, whereas a title company will just give you raw information to review yourself.

D - Diligence: Selling by owner will save you money, but it does take effort to follow up with people and make a sale..

E - Exposure: The three main variables in selling a home are timing, price, and EXPOSURE. Make sure you are letting people know about your home!

F - Facts: When you're selling your home, suddenly everybody is a real estate expert. Make sure you're getting the facts from people who are experts in their field.

G - Guest Registry: Not only do you have a record of visitors for safety reasons, but you also have a list of interested buyers to follow up with.

H - Home Inspection: This, like an appraisal, is also a helpful tool to keep things running smoothly and to show the buyer you're serious.

I - Interest of Buyers: It can be tricky to judge the interest of buyers as the homeowner because they won't want to hurt your feelings when viewing the home. With a third party buyers will be much more candid. The best clues are return visits and continual contacts.

J - Jumping the Gun: Remember that the house is not sold until the closing papers are signed. It's a good idea to take back-up offers or at least keep names and phone numbers of interested buyers in case something happens to the sale.

K - Know Your Options: Don't let any real estate professionals pressure you into anything. Remember you have a team of experts who are working with you and they are responsible for knowing the logistics.

L - Lenders: Lenders are always willing to help home sellers because it keeps them in contact with buyers who need loans. Check out this resource to see what they can do for you.

M - Market Time: Remember to consider the average market time for the area. If you underestimate the amount of time it will take to sell a house you will be easily frustrated.

N - Newspaper Ad: Get your home in the newspaper. Now that classifieds are online it opens you up to buyers from anywhere in the world.

O - Open House: When selling by owner it's important that your open houses be done differently than a real estate agent style open house.  Attend one of our free workshops to learn more.

P - Paperwork: This can be intimidating. Don't worry, there are different experts who can walk you through the whole process.

Q - Questions: It's OK to ask questions! Never be afraid to ask.

R - Return Your Phone Calls: This sounds obvious, but many people expect the buyer to persist. Buyers will move on after running into the slightest trouble.

S - Sanity: A house is a huge transaction. If you are selling it under any outside pressure (e.g. you are making two house payments, you need the money) problems can seem much larger. Sometimes this stress will affect your ability to do your part of the transaction. It is important to know when it is time to hand off some responsibility.

T - Team of Experts: When selling by owner, you are in charge of two things. Knowing your home and hiring a team of experts who will take care of the rest.

U - Understand Your Buyer: Remember that your buyer wants to get the most for their dollar. This is the biggest purchase most people will make so they WILL do their research and know what to expect in their price range.

V - Viewing: When prospective buyers do come to view your home it's good to declutter to make it look more spacious. You will also want your home to be as light and bright as possible. You want them to picture themselves at home there..

W - Wait: Sometimes there is nothing left to do but wait for the right buyer. Remember the 'M' for market time.

X - X Factor: You were wondering what I was going to say for 'X', weren't you? Each house has a huge selling factor (e.g. great view, huge shop, original woodwork, etc.). You need to find out the 'X' factor for your home and really show it off.

Y - Yard Sign: Although a yard sign can not advertise to people in other communities, it is one of the biggest advertisers you will have... especially in high traffic areas and on sunny, Sunday afternoons.

Z - Zeal: One of our customers describes this best in an email, "Love your home so much that you don't want to sell it. (Believe me, that spirit comes through to the potential Buyer)."

Saturday, June 02, 2007 12:41:17 AM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00) #    Comments [0]  | 

 

What Are You Selling? The Furniture or the House?#

I (Deanna) edit thousands of photos. I have to admit that I like a challenge when it comes to making a photo look good. There are some, however, that I can't do much for. Probably the most important factor for a great photo happens before it gets loaded onto the computer. Whether or not you have a wide angle lens on your camera will make a huge difference.  Any easy way to tell if your photo shows enough, is to see if it shows three walls of the room.  

Check out these two photos. They're both taken from the same position, one with a wide angle lens (10-20mm lens set at 10mm), one without (18-55mm lens set at 24mm, still a bit of a wide angle). Remember, furniture adds perspective to a real estate photo, but it should not be the highlight of the scene. Buyers will want to see the size of windows, cathedral ceilings, doorway arches, etc. The only way to get an overall feel of the whole room is to... well... get the whole room in the photo.

Saturday, May 19, 2007 1:27:13 AM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00) #    Comments [0]  | 

 

Pricing vs Market Time#

Hey everybody! This is Deanna and I work in the office here at Spokanebyowner. I field a ton of questions and listen to worn out homesellers. Selling your home can be so tiring if you're not ready for choices you have to make. I opened Yahoo today and the main article (other than the one about pumpkin eating hippos???) was "Home prices plunge by most in 35 years". http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20061026/ap_on_bi_go_ec_fi/economy Now, how credible is a news source that lumps an article projecting a potential national recession due to real estate with pumpkin eating hippos?... well, that's an entry for some other blog. Anyway, the problem is that houses aren't selling like they were last year. Now the key to that last sentence is, "...like they were last year". Houses are still selling. The problem is that you only get to choose one: quick market time or high selling price. Of course everybody wants to sell their home for top dollar in one week, but our experience here says that, without divine intervention, you either get to sell your home quickly at a lower price (at the lower end of your appraised value range) or you'll have to wait awhile for a specific buyer who is willing to pay a higher price because your house is "the one". With average market times getting longer, buyers have a lot more time to consider your home and make sure there isn't another one just like yours for a lower price.

Saturday, October 28, 2006 1:30:49 AM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00) #    Comments [0]  | 

 

Pricing vs Market Time#

Hey everybody! This is Deanna and I work in the office here at Spokanebyowner. I field a ton of questions and listen to worn out homesellers. Selling your home can be so tiring if you're not ready for choices you have to make. I opened Yahoo today and the main article (other than the one about pumpkin eating hippos???) was "Home prices plunge by most in 35 years". http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20061026/ap_on_bi_go_ec_fi/economy Now, how credible is a news source that lumps an article projecting a potential national recession due to real estate with pumpkin eating hippos?... well, that's an entry for some other blog. Anyway, the problem is that houses aren't selling like they were last year. Now the key to that last sentence is, "...like they were last year". Houses are still selling. The problem is that you only get to choose one: quick market time or high selling price. Of course everybody wants to sell their home for top dollar in one week, but our experience here says that, without divine intervention, you either get to sell your home quickly at a lower price (at the lower end of your appraised value range) or you'll have to wait awhile for a specific buyer who is willing to pay a higher price because your house is "the one". With average market times getting longer, buyers have a lot more time to consider your home and make sure there isn't another one just like yours for a lower price. That's my take. Do you have any ideas about speeding up a home sale?

Friday, October 27, 2006 2:00:43 AM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00) #    Comments [0]  | 

 

Let's Talk About Real Estate#

Hi everyone, this is Ron McIntire, the President of spokanebyowner.com. I am excited to write the first blog associated with our web site and the services of spokanebyowner.com By starting this blog I am hoping to accomplish open discussion about the process of selling a home by owner, the benefits of selling a home by owner, and the issues surrounding selling a home. I am also a real estate investor so I plan to use this blog as a means to monitor and convey the factual status of the real estate market in Spokane without the slanted opinions which may come from various special interests. This week, I would like to begin the discussion on the topic of pricing a home. How do you go about getting a "fair" asking price on a home that is going to bring you a qualified offer within your given time frame? When an agent tells you how much they would price your home at, is that something you can really trust as accurate? Is it wise to ask more for the house than it is really worth, expecting a buyer to offer you less money? Can you get as much for your property as a real estate agent would? Can you sell it as quickly using your own for sale by owner marketing as an agent could? I have some definite "opinions" on these questions and more, but first let's see what you think. If you have some more questions or points to ponder, please post them and everyone interested in this discussion is welcome to participate. But first, one rule, I would like to implement for this forum and that is, the golden rule. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. With that said, I look forward to hearing from everyone, and hope that this undertaking of beginning a blog is beneficial to all home sellers, home purchasers, real estate investors, our employees, and the customers of spokanebyowner.com. Ron

Wednesday, October 04, 2006 1:32:58 AM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00) #    Comments [0]  | 

 

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