Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Should I Stage My Home? What If I Don’t Know How?

            Staging your home is an integral part of getting it sold. It’s no secret; homes that show well, sell faster. When a buyer walks into your home they’re not thinking about all of the time and effort you have put into your home to decorate it how you wanted it, paint the walls the color you wanted, or how stressful your life must be because you have toys and clutter everywhere. When a buyer walks into your home they’re thinking about how they are going to change your home, how they wish it was cleaner than what it is, what paint colors they would rather see on the wall, how they wish the carpet was cleaner and how they will have to replace it. Quite frankly, why shouldn’t they? You know that you did the exact same thing when you bought your home, and you will do the exact same thing when you purchase your next home.
            There are several key elements that go in to staging a home properly. The first thing a homeowner should do before putting their home on the market is to de-clutter. If you’re not using it, or you haven’t used it in the last two years, stick it in a box and put it away. You obviously aren’t going to need it any time soon. But how much do I de-clutter? Some may ask… As much as possible! Think about when going into a model home. There aren’t any toys on display, there isn’t a shelf in the kids rooms jammed packed with stuffed animals, and there aren’t a million pairs of shoes located by the front door. De-clutter, de-clutter, de-clutter! It’s a tough job but if you want to get your home ready to sell, it has to be done!

            Once a home is properly de-cluttered, and I emphasize properly, the next thing to focus on is deep cleaning. When I talk about deep cleaning, I’m talking about cleaning every square inch of your home. You will need to clean the floors, clean the walls, clean the baseboards, clean the windows (inside & out), vacuum, mop, and clean out all of the appliances in your kitchen. If you have a patio, spray it down with a pressure washer. Clean off your patio furniture too. If you have a pet, cleaning your home is that much harder. We have a little dog in our house and it’s a chore to keep up with the little hairs that shed off of her. We are constantly vacuuming and moping the floors, vacuuming the couches, etc. If you have a larger dog, this is even more difficult, but it has to be done. Nothing will turn off a buyer faster than to walk into a dirty house. Buyers can be very picky people.  Why shouldn’t they be? Purchasing a home is a big deal so they want the best that their money can buy. If it comes down between your home and another home down the street, a buyer is going to pick the home that has less work.

            The next step really coincides with the first step, which is to de-personalize your home. While having a beautiful picture of you and your family over the fireplace has a lot of sentimental value, to a buyer it’s just distracting. Here’s why: when a buyer walks into a space, they are trying to imagine themselves in the space. They might think, ‘how would my couch look over there?’ or ‘I bet my TV would look good on that wall’.  The point of getting your home properly staged is to allow buyers to come into your home and envision themselves in the space, which makes them want to buy it! So, while it is difficult, your home needs to be de-personalized. Which means that you need to take down all of your family portraits, family pictures, pictures of your kids, etc. The fact is, when you decide to sell your home and put it on the market, it really isn’t your home any more. It’s a product to be sold.

            Staging your home can be a very difficult task. That’s why it’s very important to have the expertise of a Realtor to help you. An agent can walk you through your home and give you unbiased advice on how to best prepare your home to sell. Leaning on the advice of a trained professional, like a Realtor, can help you exponentially in the sale of your home.

That’s all for today. Until next time, I’ll keep “Turning Your Dreams Into An Address”.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Can I Sell My Home In This Economy???

The short and sweet answer to this question is:  yes! Many people who are thinking about selling their home right now are concerned whether it will sell in this market. Some people wonder if they will get anything close to what they want for their home, and how long it will sit on the market. These are all valid concerns.

The fact of the matter is it really depends on your location. You know the saying, "location, location, location". I've heard of places right now in the U.S. where the market is so good, that they are actually in a sellers market! While this is incredibly rare, it goes to show you that it really depends on where you live.
Since I am a Realtor in the Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas area, a.k.a., the Metroplex, I'm going to cover this area. Our area was not hit nearly as bad as many other cities around the country. The market here has been fairly stable. Over the past few years we have definitely seen a drop in home values, but not nearly as drastic as other places. There is a constant influx of people who come to this area every year. A news report just released this week showed that the top 2 fastest growing cities in the U.S. are right here in North Texas. However, selling your home here is not going to happen over night.

There are many homes here that have been on the market for a long time while others sell fairly quickly. Why is that? Well, there are several reasons why this happens. The first reason, and probably the most important reason why a home sits on the market and doesn't receive any offers, is because it is over priced. Some home owners have the idea that starting off at a higher price point would be best, and then if it doesn't sell, drop it a little. This is a bad idea. Here's why. When you list your home for sale, it gets the most exposure when it is first listed! This means, that if it's priced properly, you will get a lot of traffic through your property. However, if you list with a higher price first, people won't even give you the time of day because they're looking at your neighbors house who is priced much better. What happens in this situation is that your home becomes the second place home. People may come by and see your home, and you may very well get some traffic through there. But they won't be talking about an offer on your home. They'll be talking about putting in an offer on the home next door. Most people won't even bother with a home they know is over priced. They're too busy checking out all the homes that are actually priced properly! So work with your Realtor on pricing your home properly according to what other homes are selling for and how long they are sitting on the market.

The second reason is because you may not have the right agent working for you. Having the right agent sell your home can mean selling your home within the first few months its on the market, or having it sit on the market for 6 months and still not sell. While price is crucial to getting off on the right foot, choosing the right agent to market your home is just as important. People have to know about your property in order to see it. This seems like an obvious statement, but you would be surprised how many homes don't get the kind of exposure that they need.  I'll cover the topic of marketing in more detail in the future. Having an agent who knows how to market, coupled with a tech-savvy agent, really do go hand-in-hand. Everything now a days is online. Over 90% of home buyers look online, FIRST, when searching for a home. Less than 6% of buyers look through print ads like newspapers and magazines to find homes. So it is vital to find an agent that knows their way around the digital community.

Another factor that impacts the sale of a home is the attitude of the homeowners. Are you a motivated seller? Or do you want to take your time? There is a very big difference between these two. If you are motivated to sell your home quickly, this doesn't mean you have to give your home away in order to make that happen. It does mean, though, that you need to be realistic about what your home is actually worth, and not what you think it's worth. Your agent will be able to walk you through what other homes are selling for in your area, how long homes are sitting on the market, and what a good starting point for you will be.

The theme throughout this process is that when you start off on the right foot, things can go very well, even in a difficult market! So don't be worried about whether you can get your home sold this year. It can be done. Sooner than you think!

Until next time... I'll keep, "turning your dreams into an address".

Monday, February 13, 2012


Welcome to my new blog about everything real estate! Upcoming blogs include tips on selling your home, simple renovations, and tips for home buyers.
It's an exciting time in real estate. Interest rates have once again hit record lows, and the market here in Texas continues to be a great market to buy in. So stay tuned for ways to improve your current home, how to get your home sold, or how you can buy a new home. 

Until next time... I'll keep, "Turning your dreams into an address"