Friday, June 26, 2015

Sell It With Summer Sizzle

Is it possible to sell a house easily in summer?

Spring tends to be the hottest selling season because it gives families the time to pack up and move while school is out so studies are not disrupted. Summer is a little trickier. People tend to go on vacation, when school is out most families want to spend time together and everyone wants to enjoy the summer activities and festivals!

If you can wait until fall, most real estate professional will encourage you to wait. However, sometimes situations arise where people need to sell during the summer. The owner might be transferred to a new job, or decide to return to college in another area. There may be other pressing family or financial issues that could necessitate an immediate sale.

While most transactions take place between February and May, it is still possible to sell your house fast in the summer. If done efficiently, you still have the opportunity to get to your now place and settle in before school starts.

Summer Strategies

Be Ready!

One of the best strategies for a summer sale is to always be ready. Some people work less hours in the summer and some may have Fridays or Mondays off. Don’t forget that buyers may not go away on vacation. Those buyers that have vacation time may use it to continue their search. Be ready!

First and foremost, make sure that your house is in the best condition possible. Do any necessary repairs as quickly as possible and do as much of any major repairs as possible before putting it on the market. Sellers need to understand that buyers generally are not looking “for potential” and do not want to tour houses that are in need of repair or being repaired.

Many sellers make the mistake of thinking that if buyers see work being done, then they will believe that the house is maintained and in good condition. Nothing can be further from the truth. It gives the atmosphere of desperation! In addition, you would not want anyone visiting your house to be injured by any tools or materials that may be left out for the work!

When buyers see a house that needs repairs, they see dollar signs – as in how much extra it will cost them to maintain that house. Instead of a broken hinge on a kitchen cabinet or a blemish on a counter top, they tend to see the need for a new kitchen with all the expenses of trending upgrades. 

Fix what needs to be fixed to make the house completely functional. The advantage is that you will be able to choose the extent of repairs and decide on the contractor or contractors of your choice. If left until the offer process, the buyer will generally have an over inflated list of repairs that will have to be completed quickly before the sale is completed. When there is a deadline for work, there is usually additional cost!

Bright and Airy

It is important that a summer viewing shows the house at its best. It important to have the house decluttered with all unneeded items out of the way during visits. Keep any equipment for house or yard maintenance out of sight as much as possible. You want buyers to see your beautiful lawn – not thinking about a day of mowing every weekend!

In addition to keeping your house as open and uncluttered as possible, it is even more important to keep it clean! In most areas of the country, there are additional daylight hours in summer. The angle of the sun has changed. Make sure that your house looks clean and fresh and that you haven’t missed any area during that big cleaning you did in the spring when the sun tended to be lower.

Keep flooring clean and sparkling. There is usually more traffic in and out during the summer months. Make sure that floors are free of dust, dirt and other unwanted debris such as grass clippings tracked in on shoes or pet’s feet.

With the kids home from school over the summer, keeping things in check can be challenging. Get kids into the habit of storing their possessions immediately after use. When you get that call from an interested buyer, you don’t want to be scurrying around trying to pick up loose toys!

If you live in an area that gets a lot of rain in the summer, keep an eye on window exteriors. Keep the glass clean. Remove any bugs, leaves or other debris immediately after any precipitation. In that way you are not scrambling when you get the call requesting a visit.

If you open windows about the house, be mindful of extra dust that can accumulate on surfaces near the windows. Keep sills clean and polish or vacuum any nearby furniture as frequently as needed.

TIP: get a squeegee to clean your windows. For a few dollars, you will save yourself hours of time!

Decorate Summer Style

Unless there is a problem with the view, remove any heavy drapes and hang something lighter so the sun light is maximized. If that is not an option, hang shears and tie the drapes back back for viewings. Keep blinds up and neat for visits.

Keep colors that are suited to summer - think beach or blossoms. Switch out throw pillows, curtains and even rugs. If you never got rid of that bowl of pine cone, it's time! Bring in cut flowers and place some in every room. If you live near the coast (or have visited) use shells as part of your accessories to evoke summertime. 

Look at interior design magazines for the hot trends to keep your furnishings current. Updated decor will help give the impression of a well maintained house.

Keep It Cool

Depending on where you live, open windows to keep the house breezy, turn on ceiling fans or set up portable fans. If you keep the windows closed, go easy on the air fresheners, and if you must use them, opt for summery or tropical scents. Bringing in cut flowers from your garden would be a much better choice, if possible. If you have air conditioning, do not set it too cold – just keep it chilly enough so buyers don’t want to go back outside.

Curb Appeal

Now is the time to show off your house’s exterior. Keep the landscaping sharp by mowing, pruning and weeding at least once a week. You want your potential buyers to see the beauty and not all the work involved with maintaining a yard. If anything is under-performing, remove and replace as soon as possible. You do not want any questions about soil condition or disease!

Here, too, take another look around to make sure the house shows well with the additional sunlight. The setting rays of the summer sun should not highlight anything unwanted, such as a wasps nest tucked in the eaves! 

Perform a routine check for any sign of infestations around the house, plants and trees and the lawn. Remove any cob webs at least weekly and especially before a visit.

Keep all paths and drives swept and weed free. Edging should always be crisp and clean. Check for and remove flyers and business cards each time you exit your house.

Summer Living

Summer living has great appeal. If you have a grill or fire pit, set up an inviting entertainment area up to let buyers imagine themselves outdoors. Or just put out comfortable chairs and drink tables out into the garden. A sweet bench well placed amongst the flowering plants will give the impression of relaxation time. If you have a spectacular view, make sure buyers notice it.

When buyers do visit, stage it as though there is always time for entertaining in the garden. Have a colorful pitcher of drinks and pretty glasses strategically placed to draw their attention to the garden’s highlights. 

Fill a pretty container with ice and add some bottled water or other drinks. Light some candles and put out some fruit and snacks. 

If your front yard is a great asset, set up a table in the driveway with refreshments for your visiting buyers. Invite your buyers to stay and refresh themselves. 

The longer they stay, the better!

While the kids are home from school, keep their outdoor toys and projects under control. If buyers see toys and crafts scattered everywhere, they will have the impression that there isn’t enough storage space in the house. The same is true for pool and yard equipment. Keep it stowed away so buyers don’t think of maintenance.

Give It Summer Sparkle!

Add some colorful glazed, brass or copper planters to your landscaping – filled with fantastic blooming plants, of course! Consider adding interest in other ways. Add a mirror to your garden or place large glass reflecting spheres in strategic places to draw buyers in. 

Put out polished metal objects in silver, gold, brass or copper to catch the buyer’s eye. Arrange any artful combination of vases, candle holders, picture frames, goblets, pitches, trays or other decorative objects. 

Look in decorating magazines if you need some inspiration. Hang some tasteful wind chimes to create pleasant welcoming sounds. 

If you have some great trees or topiaries that you would like to feature, consider adding some fairy lights for night time visits.

Keep It Positive

Most buyers will expect you to be desperate this time of year. Avoid any reference to how long your property has been on the market – if possible. This may be easier if you are selling by yourself as an agent’s listing will show the Days on Market.

Continue enjoying the summer in your house but keep it showcase ready. When asked about your house, keep the responses positive and upbeat. 

Be open to all offers and try to find a way to make it work!

Above all, remember that summer sales ARE possible! People need to move at all times of the year!

If you have come to the decision that it is time to move right now to have a better life. If you are juggling too many responsibilities to sell your house yourself this summer, then there are people who specialize in the sale of properties "as is" - usually within a week to resolve the situation quickly. Contact me for details.

Next time we will take a closer look at curb appeal for the summer months.

So thanks for reading my post. I'm so glad you're here! 

And I really look forward to getting into more great stuff in future posts -- so that you can 
Turn Your House To $OLD!

Feel free to ask me any questions through the contact info below. I would be very happy to help.

Linda  623-335-2662

Article Sources:

Lynda Bathory

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Dump this house!

Congratulations on getting your dream job!!! But wait…it’s on the other side of the country?

That is just one reason why a person may have to sell their house quickly. It is actually a pretty exciting reason! 

Some distant relative just named you as their only living relation and left you a little bungalow in their will! A nice wind fall! Except you have a home and don’t have the time or desire to become a landlord.

Some other reasons may not be so great. Maybe you’re close to losing your house because you lost your job and now you are struggling to make your mortgage payments. If you bought your property at the peak of the market, and your house is still worth less than what you owe, you may be getting nervous about the proposed interest rate hikes looming on the horizon. 

Or that little bungalow you inherited is in such bad shape you are having a hard time even getting people to look at it, let alone buy it. You thought having a little rental property was a smart investment, but your tenants trashed the place and now you are stuck with huge repair bills. Maybe you've had some unexpected expenses that you need to pay off.

You might have contacted a traditional Realtor, but he or she hasn’t been of much help. Realtors factor in their commission into the asking price. If you have no equity, you typically have no help from them!

Do not despair! Even if your house has no equity or negative equity, it is still possible to sell. If it is in such bad condition that no bank is willing to finance any potential buyers. Or even if it has legal problems and code violations, you still have some choices.

So what do you do?

If you have a little equity or have broken even on the value of your house compared to what you owe, your best bet may be to sell your house by yourself.

Not just an old game show, any more…The price has to be right!

If you have to sell, this is not the time to speculate. Put your house up for sale with the

lowest price you can live with. Compare your neighborhood’s houses for sale with similar features and use a critical eye and price your house LOWER. Nothing makes you look more desperate than making small price reductions again and again after months of being on the market.

If your house is priced right, you will likely get multiple offers. If this still makes you nervous, say you are looking at all offers and will decide the “highest and best” on a specified date (make sure this is legal in your state). Consider all the offers and pick the best one.

Don’t make the mistake of thinking that a better buyer will come along at some later date. The longer your house is up for sale, the lower the offers will be. People will think there is some major problem with the property if it is available for too long. If it was a good deal, someone would have already bought it, right?

Get out as soon as you can

This year, property prices are slowly rising, and more and more people are reaching zero or positive equity. That means that there will be more and more people who have lived through the same hardships and will be looking to sell. Combine that with the announced interest rate hike, and that puts the real estate market in a period where there will be sufficient supply with possibly weaker demand – depending on what the increase in interest rates will be.

Here are some Ninja house-selling tactics that will get you the highest price!

A picture is worth 1000 words –or maybe even a couple of extra 1000 dollars!

Hire a professional real estate photographer for a couple of hours. Be sure you house is in PERFECT shape before they get there. Don’t make them stand around while you fluff pillows or trim that over grown bush!

Can’t afford it? Keep that cell phone camera away from your house! Be resourceful. Call local photography clubs and find someone who will do it for a nominal charge (ask to see their photos first). This is your second best bet because these enthusiasts will probably still have great equipment - particularly a wide angle lens which will make all your rooms look bigger! If that fails, find a friend or colleague who took those great vacation pictures with their new camera and ask them to come and help you out.

This is important! Do not discount the power of pictures. Buyers now look at photos on line before they ever go to see houses. If they don’t like your pics – no matter how nice your house is – they will never come to see your house!

Take lots and lots of pictures. Lights on, lights off. Curtains open and closed. Slightly different angles. Then sit and pick ONLY the best ones.

Even better? Take a video tour of your house! Plan your route through the rooms and be as steady as you can. Try not to move the camera too much as you walk, but pan through each room. Do this a few times, the watch all the videos and pick the best one. More on what to do with this video coming up!

Now for part II of the plan…sell your house yourself on line!

Put your house on YouTube

Make a slide show of your best pictures, or upload your video. Add a description with essential information – square footage, number of rooms, lot size, taxes, etc. just like a regular listing. Then share, share, share the link!

Put pictures and links on the following sites and repeat daily (so they don't sink to the bottom):

  • Facebook – ask your friends to share it!
  • Ebay classifieds

Put an ad in your local news paper directing them to your Youtube video!

Buy a listing on ebay

Don’t be frightened! It’s not going to sell for a buck like that old CD! There is a fee for this listing, but the auction is noncommittal, so even if someone meets your asking price, you can cancel.

Organize an open house

Hold your own open house and tell all your neighbors in advance. Ask them to invite their kids, parents, siblings, good friends who always loved the neighborhood – anyone who likes their house and wants to move nearby. Put up posters on lamp posts, any store bulletin board, or other location to announce the day and time. Ask neighbors if you can put signs in their yard to direct traffic. Follow what the pros do and put out balloons and streamers so drivers can find you easily from the intersection. Don't forget to offer drinks and snacks to keep people in your house. And above all, be sure your house is immaculate for the buyers!

Be open to creative financing

Maybe a buyer needs a little more time to get the sale done. Try to work it out so that the deal can go through. Sometimes buyers don’t have enough of a down payment for a traditional mortgage. Think about letting them pay you over time.
Offer incentives if the deal is close to what you want. Offer to prepay taxes or closing costs. Throw in a few months of landscaping or pool service till they settle in.

That’s all fine and good, but I am under water!

If you are under water you may be able to refinance your mortgage to lower payments. If that is not possible and you need to get out; creative financing is your best bet.

Offer to let the buyer take over your mortgage. In your ads, say you are open to creative financing. This is attractive to buyers who may not have enough of a down payment for a traditional mortgage. Typically they pay you a lump sum and then pay you your asking price over time. These payments should cover your principal, interest, and taxes. If the house stays in your name make sure it covers your insurance, too. Depending on how much you owe and your monthly payments, it could offer you a little extra, too.

Your title company can set it up so that this is a safe transaction. Speak with several title companies to understand what all your options are in your state before you put your house up for sale, and certainly before you agree to any offer!

If you have come to the decision that it is time to move to have a better life. If you are juggling too many responsibilities to sell your house yourself, then there are people who specialize in the sale of problem properties "as is" - usually within a week to resolve the situation quickly. I am one of these people. Contact me for details.

Next time we will take a look at what to do to prepare your house for a summer sale.

So thanks for reading my post. I'm so glad you're here! 

And I really look forward to getting into more great stuff in future posts -- so that you can 
Turn Your House To $OLD!

Feel free to ask me any questions through the contact info below. I would be very happy to help.

Linda  623-335-2662

Article Sources:

Lynda Bathory