Don’t Move It, Sell It!

Want to know the secret to an easy move? Move less stuff.

It’s obvious, but it’s true. You can save time, money, and the anxiety of finding the right place for extra stuff if you simply take the time before your big day to declutter. While you may have stuff that’s destined for the dump, the odds are you have a lot more stuff which could find a better home with someone else. So how do you quickly and easily declutter your home before the move?

  1. Start with a garage sale. You never know who will want the odds and ends that don’t seem worth moving, or who might pay top dollar for that snow ski equipment you won’t need in Florida. The garage sale is a reliable way to offload your junk. (And if you don’t have a garage sale before you move, consider having a “moving in” garage sale when you arrive. That won’t help with the ski equipment, though.)
  1. Sell your stuff online. Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, eBay, and Nextdoor are all perfectly good venues for finding buyers. While some are more hassle than others, there’s no faster way to make sure a large number of people see what you have to sell. Just keep in mind that safety is a priority when meeting strangers to sell your stuff. Beware of scammers and never invite strangers into your home if you can help it.
  1. App it up! There are multiple competing apps for selling stuff privately, including OfferUp (offerup.com), Gone (thegoneapp.com), and LetGo (letgo.com). Best of all, these work directly from your smartphone, making it easy to snap pics and post ads in a hurry.
  1. Trade in, don’t truck it. Many retail chain outlets will provide you with a way to trade-in items for credit, especially if the items are consumer electronics, games, or mobile devices. Even if the trade-in amount is low, it beats sending the stuff to the landfill.
  1. Donate it! Just because you don’t want to use it anymore doesn’t mean that someone out there can’t benefit from it. Get a tax deduction and do a good deed by dropping off unwanted possessions with Goodwill Industries or the Salvation Army. It’s good for the community, the planet, and your sense of well-being.

Don’t let extra clutter drag down your move. Set aside time before the big day to send your stuff into the world (and maybe even put a few bucks back in your pocket)! It might just buy pizza on your first night in your new place.

Contact Teresa

Sell it faster with buyer feedback

A second pair of eyes on an important document often helps spot mistakes or awkward phrasing we might miss on our own. Therapists help guide countless people through difficult situations with an outsider’s viewpoint. The same is true with selling a home: Buyers can see what’s holding your house back.

Naturally, some buyers believe complaints will help them lower the price when negotiation time comes around, but more often than not buyer feedback offers valuable insight. As the owner, you are frequently too familiar with your home to see it (and smell it!) with a buyer’s point of view.

Common buyer complaints include:

  • Foul or off-putting odors from animals, cigarette smoke, mildew, or a “closed up”
  • Poor lighting or a “dark” feel to the rooms
  • Worn flooring, dirty walls, or nasty wallpaper

Almost all of these complaints are easy fixes and involve cleaning, paint, or some floor replacement. Though a buyer could easily undertake these projects after buying the home, the initial negative impression is enough to put them off the house for good.

If you’re not living in your home while it’s on the market, you might also discover unexpected reasons why buyers were dissuaded from making an offer. If you have renters who make access to the home difficult or refuse to remove their aggressive pets from the premises, you won’t know without some feedback from buyers. “Stagnant house syndrome” is another potential problem, so it’s good to know if buyers feel like a home is airless and gloomy.

Finally, buyer feedback can alert you if there have been any vandals or pest infestations.

I always automatically send you feed back from the buyers to find out what they thought of the house… good and bad. It’s crucial to get this feedback. If, for instance, buyers consistently complain about things which can’t be changed (such as major floor plan issues or proximity to a busy road), it may be necessary to adjust the listing price on the house. On the other hand, if they are relatively simple cosmetic fixes, it’s possible to consider inexpensive upgrades.

It helps to think of your relationship to buyers as a collaborative one. They like your home enough to consider buying it, and you can learn from why they passed.

Perfect pricing and preparation are key to a quick sale. Let me help you with both: Teresa Butler, Worthington Realty, 614-565-8161, Teresa@TeresaButler.com

What it Means to Sell a House “As Is”

Sometimes people inherit a home they simply need to unload and other times they don’t want to make the effort to make repairs or tune up the home’s curb appeal. For these home owners looking for a quick sale, they often think selling a home “as is” is the way to go. If you’re like most folks, you might think the “as is” sale means “take it or leave it” and “what you see is what you get.”

But an “as is” sale isn’t necessarily a cakewalk. It doesn’t mean you’re completely exonerated from taking some responsibility for the home’s condition. While advertising a home “as is” lets buyers know they’re likely to have to do some work, it also broadcasts that the home is probably going to be a relatively good deal, provided they’re willing to take on repairs.

“As is” doesn’t relieve you from disclosing problems with the home. What you know about, you must disclose by law. Failure to do so could get you into hot water. If you know about a problem but hope it slips by the buyer’s inspector, you’re at risk.

And that’s another thing: “As is” homes still go through the inspection process. While your “as is” sale may indicate your unwillingness to make repairs, it doesn’t mean the buyer won’t ask you for compensation based on condition issues. You may not come out of pocket, but it could come right off the top of your listing price, so keep this in mind. What’s more, once these conditions come to light you generally must disclose them to future prospective buyers if the current one bails.

With any luck, your “as is” buyer will be a cash buyer, but if not, prepare for the appraisal. Banks don’t want to loan money unless they deem the value of the home is acceptable. If the appraisal comes in low, your buyer may find themselves without the funds necessary to meet your price.

Are You Really Ready to Sell?

I love to sell homes. It’s a privilege and an honor to be a part of the process. I get great satisfaction from making my living helping people move on to the next phase of their life, whether it’s upsizing, downsizing, or simply relocating to a new neighborhood.

But there is one sort of home seller I can’t really help: The seller who’s not really ready to sell.

If you’re thinking about selling your home, don’t enter into the process lightly. It’s a big deal. There’s some stress and there’s a great opportunity for joy. There’s a big investment at stake. This, along with a lot of other reasons large and small, is why you want to be 100% sure you’re ready to sell your home. If you think you’re ready to sell, but it turns out you’re not, you waste a lot of time and energy (and sometimes money).

So how do you know if you’re really ready to sell your home?

  1. You’re fine with the process. You must have no problem with the idea of a stranger poking around your house, talking about renovating it, or treating it like a used car. If you’ve lived in your house a long time, it’s natural to have emotional attachments. So if the process of selling the house makes you feel protective or defensive, you may not be ready.

 

  1. You are flexible on the right price. Motivated sellers understand selling a home involves negotiation and competitive market pricing. If you have a number “you must get” in order to sell, then you might want to think again. Also, if all of the agents who price your home come back too low for your standards, take a breather and ask yourself if it’s go time or not.

 

  1. You know where you’re going next. Prepared sellers have plans, even if those plans aren’t 100% firm. They’re anticipating the move and they are probably even shopping for houses, if only casually at the moment. If you can’t clearly answer the question, “Where would you like to live after you sell?” then you’re not quite there yet.

If you’re iffy on any of these, take a step back and consider how you feel. While some markets favor sellers more than others, a home can sell in any market for the right price. Don’t jump into something before you’re ready.

However, when you’re ready, I’d be happy to help. Give me a call when the time is right:

Teresa Butler

614-565-8161

Teresa@TeresaButler.com

Home sellers: 6 last-minute cleaning tasks to do before every showing

(BPT) – Real estate experts agree: dirt and clutter are the anti-staging elements that can send buyers running for the door before they ever think of making an offer. Prior to staging your home, invest some time in deep cleaning it, paying attention to everything from the front walk to the garbage disposal to the air inside your home.

Once you’ve created a clean foundation, follow through with these quick cleaning tasks before showings:

1. Sweep in front of the house.

A pot of flowers on the front step is great, but they won’t look that welcoming if dirt and debris are visible too. Thoroughly sweep front walks, stairs and entryways, and don’t forget to clear cobwebs above the door. Put away any children’s toys or gardening tools that may be in the front yard. Hide trash and recycling containers out of sight.

2. Freshen the aromas inside.

Pet and cooking smells are major turnoffs for home buyers, but even if your house has neither, freshening the indoor scent can have a positive effect on a buyer’s mood. However, you don’t want to saturate your home in overpowering, chemical-based scents, either. To deodorize more naturally, try cleaning with essential oils. Mix 2 teaspoons of Aura Cacia Main Squeeze Essential Oil Blend, 1 3/4 cups of water, 1/2 teaspoon of Borax and 1/4 teaspoon of unscented liquid soap in a 16-ounce bottle. Before a showing, use the mixture to wipe down kitchen counters, leaving behind clean countertops and a fresh, energizing citrus scent.

3. Speed clean the kitchen.

Now that your counters are clutter-free, sparkling and smelling good, just a few more tasks will get your kitchen ready to show. Wipe away any fingerprints on appliances, and put away all pots, pans, dishes and glassware in their proper place. Store pet bowls out of sight, give the floor a quick sweep and dry the interior of the sink with a paper towel.

4. Put your best foot forward in the bath.

It’s tough but critical to keep the most-used room in the house looking its best. You probably used your bathroom to get ready this morning, so wipe down surfaces to ensure no hair or debris lingers. Check the mirror for spots and wipe and dry the sink. If the bathtub or shower door show signs of recent use, dry them off. Store used soap, shampoo, scrubbies, loofahs, wash cloths and towels out of sight.

5. Clean carpets.

Nothing says “show home” like fresh vacuum tracks in the carpet! Just before you leave the house for a showing, give carpets a quick pass with the vacuum. Before you do your other last-minute cleaning tasks, mix 1 teaspoon of Aura Cacia Petal Power Essential Oil Blend with a cup of baking soda and sprinkle on carpets. After 10 minutes, vacuum away the powder and leave a light, refreshing floral scent behind.

6. Take out the trash.

Go through every room with a trash can and make sure it’s empty. It may not seem rational, but many buyers will equate trash in a waste basket with an untidy home. It’s especially important to empty trash that may stink, such as in the kitchen. Remove trash, store it in a sealed receptacle outside the house, and give potentially stinky trash cans a refreshing shot of sweet basil and lavender aroma with a DIY garbage pail pod.

For more home care ideas and essential oil recipes, visit www.auracacia.com.

6 easy, affordable smart home features that could help you sell your house faster

(BPT) – Fresh paint on the walls, professional staging and an asking price that ends in 999 – when you’re selling your home, you’ll do whatever you can to help it stand out and sell faster. Because the National Association of Realtors is predicting modest growth for the 2017 real estate market, as a seller you want every edge you can get. And on the heels of the popular Consumer Electronics Show in January, perhaps that edge is a smarter home.

“Smart home features are designed to make homes more convenient, appealing, secure and energy-efficient – all of which are bonuses when you’re trying to sell a house,” says Geoff Lewis, president of RE/MAX, LLC. “Sellers who want to move their homes faster may benefit from adding smart features that make their properties more appealing to tech-minded buyers.”

According to IHS Markit and CNBC, 80 million smart home devices were delivered worldwide last year. That’s a 64 percent increase from 2015.

Here are six trending smart home features that might catch buyers’ attention and help sell your home faster:

* Keyless/remote entry door locks – Have you ever left the house and worried that you left the front door unlocked? If your home is equipped with a keyless/remote entry door lock – available from multiple manufacturers – you can use an app on your smartphone to lock the door from wherever you are. Some manufacturers make versions that will also send a text or email to your phone when the door opens. Locks that can be programmed with multiple entry codes also allow you to see who comes and goes and when.

* Smart lighting – From lighting automation that allows you to control lights remotely and wirelessly, to energy-efficient LED bulbs that can change color to match your mood and decor, lighting has come a long way. Some smart lights work in tandem with home automation systems to allow you to turn them on or off, or even dim them, from an app on a smartphone or tablet. Others require no communication hub and can be controlled directly from your mobile device. You can also put some smart bulbs on timers (using your wireless device), sync them with certain TV shows or movies, and integrate them with security cameras and thermostats.

* DIY security systems – Don’t want to sign a contract or deal with complex security systems? Install-it-yourself security systems are affordable and offer security features like cameras, sensors, motion detectors and alarms or sirens, without the need for a security service to monitor them.

* Smart appliances – The Internet of Things (IoT) – everyday objects that have network connectivity – includes a growing list of smart appliances. Many manufacturers are offering washers, dryers, refrigerators and other home appliances that can communicate with you – and each other – wirelessly. Many can be controlled remotely from your smartphone – so if you leave the house and can’t remember if you turned off the stove, you can check in and turn it off using your smartphone app.

While appliances aren’t always included in a home sale, they do make for interesting features that keep your home top of mind to buyers.

* Smart plugs – One of the easiest, most affordable smart home upgrades you can make is to add smart plugs to your home. These Wi-Fi-enabled plugs fit existing outlets and can be controlled from a smartphone app. Plug anything into a smart plug, like lights or a television, and you can turn it on or off remotely, track energy consumption, or even create an on-off schedule.

* Temperature controls – Programmable thermostats were just the beginning; today’s home temperature controls are even smarter. Like other smart home features, smart thermostats can be controlled remotely from your mobile device. You can program them to make automatic temperature adjustments and then use your smartphone to override the program like turning up the heat on a particularly cold day. Some smart thermostats learn from household behavior and adjust the temperature to meet your family’s needs and save energy, while others adjust based on the number of people in a room. And several can now be operated via voice-controlled virtual assistants.

“Many of these smart home features are surprisingly easy and affordable to install,” Lewis says. “Sellers who are open to the idea of investing a little money to possibly help get a speedier sale, may want to consider adding the smart features buyers will be looking for in 2017.”

Are You Thinking About Selling Your House Soon?

fall-seller-guide-jpgIt’s difficult to know when is the best time to sell, or how to get the most money for your house, but you don’t need to go through the process alone.

You may be wondering if prices are projected to rise or fall…or if you should rent your house instead of selling it. The free eGuide below will answer many of your questions and likely bring up a few things you haven’t even thought about yet.

Check it out, and feel free to get in touch if you have any questions.

http://www.teresabutler.com/SellingYourHouseFall2016.pdf

Summer Home Seller’s Market is Heating Up

SOLD HOUSESpring kicks off the peak home hunting months of the year, but it isn’t until summer that things really get cooking. While there are pros and cons to buying and selling homes at various times throughout the year, summer can be, on average 25 to 30 percent more active than the annual average.

In summer you have a real mix of buyers and sellers… some serious and some not-so-serious. In the winter months, many buyers searching for homes would only do so if they absolutely had to. In the summer, there are often a larger number of buyers just toying with the idea. (Many of the serious buyers are eager to get settled before school starts in the fall.)

Selling homes in the summer requires its own brand of seasonal marketing and showing. Here are a few tips you’ll want to keep in mind as you invite buyers to consider your home:

  1. Keep it cool, but don’t keep it dark. Your instinct may be to close the blinds and draw the drapes, but making your rooms feel dark and shut-in is counterproductive. Run the A/C and keep the air circulating. While your wallet may not appreciate the bump in your power bill, imagine how expensive it can be to keep the house on the market.
  1. Stage it inside and out. Have a pool deck? What about a garden patio? Make them as inviting as you would the living room or kitchen. Stage them appropriately and tell the story of what it might be like to live with such nice amenities. Think magazine photo shoot!
  1. Make the lawn sing. Curb appeal can be king in the summer months, especially when the neighbors’ lawns may be looking a little brown by comparison. Find bright flowers that can withstand the heat and provide a high-contrast to your green grass.
  1. Ride the sunset. With the longer daylight hours, you may have buyers who want to check out your home closer to dinner time, once the hottest hours of the afternoon have passed. Try and roll with the disruption… buyers prefer to see a home when the owners aren’t around.

Take advantage of the summer sales activity! I’d be happy to guide you on the buy or sell side of this white hot market: Teresa@TeresaButler.com or 614-565-8161

Is Summer Truly Housing’s Hottest Season?

Fotolia_32750180_XS-267x300The spring is traditionally real estate’s busiest time of year. But one real estate economist believes that this summer may trump the spring as the most robust time of buying or selling a home for 2016.

“From a buyer’s perspective you have more choice, but you’re also competing against far more buyers,” says Ken Johnson, a real estate broker as well as a professor of finance and associate dean at Florida Atlantic University’s College of Business. “Sellers are also looking to sell over the summer, particularly if they have children and want to get a deal done before school starts again.”

The groundwork for a booming summer market has already been laid out. New-home sales in April posted their strongest month in more than eight years. Existing-home sales were up for the second consecutive month. What’s more, historically low mortgage rates may increase the demand for housing this summer.

“In some cities, especially in the Midwest, prices have plenty of room to go up,” says Johnson. “Real estate is still a really good buy in places like Cincinnati, Chicago and Cleveland.”

In some markets – like Dallas, Denver, and Houston – home prices are rising rapidly and some people are concerned prices may be overheating. However, Johnson doesn’t predict a downturn in prices any time soon, and he believes most markets will continue to perform strongly due to strong demand. That said, he does believe that those looking to buy into real estate as an investment may have a more difficult time finding a good deal.

“In markets like South Florida, Seattle and Portland, you may find you’re going to start to see lower probabilities that you’ll be able to successfully market your property,” Johnson says. “But while you may see extended marketing time and prices going flat, there’s no reason to believe there’s going to be a big dent in prices in these cities.”

Source: “Economist Says Summer May Be the Hottest Season to Buy and Sell,” RISMedia (June 5, 2016)

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