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Business Booming? Agent Safety Tips to Remember

As brokers it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of the  busy season.

We’re as guilty as anyone of letting agent safety slip when calls start coming in left and right and we’ve got tours lined up back-to-back. Summer, especially, is an easy time to let your guard down and accidentally open yourself up to risks!

Here’s a quick reminder for all you agents (and for sale by owner folks!) to stay safe using some of these easy to remember tips.

open house1. Never Lead

We’ve all been there. The master bath is to die for and just wait until you see this closet space! But it’s always safest to let the interested buyers/sellers lead the way, particularly in an unfamiliar property. Not only does it ensure we’ve never got our backs turned, it keeps the client up front and excited to lead the tour!

2. Check for Service

Before your open house or property tour starts, check to ensure you’ve got adequate cell service before relying on your phone as a lifeline. Not only do you need service, you need a decent charge so always keep a car charger and a backup battery on you! Remember that your phone’s only useful if you have it handy – and never rely on a tool you’re unfamiliar with (like pepper spray) to keep you safe, either.

3. Don’t Block Yourself In

If you end up in a situation that makes you uncomfortable at a showing or open you’re going to want an easy exit. Don’t allow your car to get blocked in when parking in a driveway, and try to back in if you can for easy egress. Parking on the street may make it easier to get in and out, too.

cell phone4. Host Opens Near an Exit

As we always say, encourage your clients to think ahead when holding an open house (hiding their valuables, finding somewhere else for the dog, etc.) so you don’t have to monitor the back recesses of their home. Staying near an exit at an open house not only keeps you safer, it allows you as the broker to keep tabs on who’s coming and going from their home.

5. Safety in Numbers

If you’re ever unsure about your safety, invite another agent to come along. If you’re holding an open house, having a lender on-site is a good way to get safety in numbers while also adding value for potential buyers! Safety in numbers is a real thing and it’s always more fun to have someone else along for the ride.

 

Being in real estate is very safe. Like any profession, ours has its risks but most of them can be mitigated by being vigilant and thinking ahead! We’re all about safety – for our kids, our clients, and our colleagues.

Now get out there and enjoy this hot selling/buying season in Charlotte!

 

 

7 Reasons NOT to Try “For Sale by Owner”

for sale by ownerWith a noticeable uptick in home sales in the Charlotte market, the On the Move Charlotte team has seen more and more “For Sale by Owner” signs posted around town. While it may seem tempting to try to sell your house yourself to save on listing fees, there are dozens more reasons why you’ll probably ultimately lose money (and time) by going it on your own.

We hear the same complaint from clients again and again. Many assumed it would be a breeze to sell their own home between online listings and the hot Charlotte real estate market. Time after time they come to us looking for help selling their house after weeks and even months spent lingering on the market to no avail.

Here are seven reasons you should always use a professional Realtor when selling your home. Forget “For Sale by Owner.” How about “SOLD by On the Move Charlotte?!”

7. You are not a real estate professional.

No matter how well you know your neighborhood and how many hours a day you’re on Zillow, you’ll never have the knowledge and experience a professional Realtor has. Between the legalities of selling a home, pricing specifics that aren’t available to the general public, and long-term market knowledge that only comes from experience there are plenty of reasons to pay a listing agent for their services. Afterall, you wouldn’t think of trying to perform your own root canal; you’d visit a licensed dentist! Is the sale of your home any less important?

6. Pricing is hard business.

Every homeowners knows what they’d like to get for their house but unfortunately sometims that number is rather far away from what the market actually dictates as the house’s value. A Realtor is exactly the objective eye you need to help determine what your house is really worth to buyers. Starting at a slightly lower list price now but selling in 5 weeks as opposed to 5 months can actually save you money. Let a qualified Realtor perform a CMA on your home before you ever think of listing.

5. Your home needs to be on the MLS.

The Multiple Listing Service is a crucial resource for real estate agents and the first place your buyers’ agents are going to look when they’re searching for homes. If you try to “Sell by Owner” you won’t be on the MLS listings (there are some ways around this but they can be very expensive!) and your home may not be as visible as it could be. Likewise, don’t count on your house being listed correctly in online databases like Trulia and Zillow.  Realtors work hard to manage your home’s visibility which is something you simply can’t do on your own.

open door4. A Realtor can help keep you safe.

Imagine your hesitation to list a piece of furniture online only to be bombarded with calls and emails from strangers looking to show up at your house. Using a Realtor helps keep your family out of harm’s way by providing a vetting system for potential buyers and eliminating the need for you to allow complete strangers into your home. Working with a Realtor ensures only qualified buyers ever get past your front door, protecting your family as well as your privacy.

3. Negotiating is difficult work.

You may consider yourself a keen negotiator but all bets are off when you’re suddenly asked to make a very emotional decision involving hundreds of thousands of dollars, all while keeping a good “poker face.” Realtors are specially trained in negotiation and have years of experience handling tricky situations between buyers and sellers. An objective third party is exactly what you need when you’re trying to get the most money possible for your house but you don’t want to lose a deal.

2. Marketing takes more than a “For Sale” sign.

Efficiently and accurately marketing your home is an incredibly specific process. Many “For Sale by Owner” sellers assume that because they live on a busy street people will surely see the sign and call! Not the case. Between making flyers, hosting open houses, networking, and phone calls, marketing a piece of property is hard work. Particularly if your home has any hard-to-love aspects (i.e. strange layout, dated kitchen, small yard), having an experienced Realtor to pitch the property is crucial. You may think your house is so great it will sell itself but even in the upturned Charlotte market, it won’t.

frustrated1. Being a real estate agent is a full time job.

Odds are, you’ve got enough on your plate without adding to it the tens of hours a week that come with selling your own home. Even in the best markets, selling a house takes work – contracts, showings, negotiations – everything about the home selling process means time. Consider the opportunity costs you’re incurring by giving up precious family, work, or leisure time to struggle through a home sale you could simply hire a professional to do. Isn’t your time worth it?

 

When you decide you’re ready to sell,
contact Leigh Bryant at On the Move
Charlotte to talk about your options.

Harold’s Back With Charlotte’s (Great!) Market Stats for May

On the Move Charlotte’s mascot Harold is back with some great news for both buyers and sellers in the Queen City.

May is looking up…and it’s prime time to sell your current home or “move up” to a bigger house! Call the On the Move Charlotte team today to talk about your Charlotte neighborhood.

How to Know When You’re Ready to Buy Your First Home

 

Buying a home is one of the biggest decisions most people will ever make. It’s a commitment that requires research, forethought, and a lot of financial planning. Knowing when you’re ready is an entirely personal decision, but it doesn’t have to be subjective.

Here are a few signs you may be inching closer to the decision to buy your first house…

YOU’RE STABLE

Of course, being stable financially is the #1 precursor to buying a home. It’s important to have a steady source of income as well as a handle on any outstanding debt – mortgage lenders will want to know everything from your student loan payments to your tax write-offs before giving you a loan. In fact, most major lenders require those with less traditional streams of income (i.e. freelancers, all-commission salespeople) to have at least 2 years of stable W-2 income before they’ll even consider a loan.

YOUR CREDIT IS GOOD

You don’t have to have perfect credit to buy a home, but the better your score the better your APR is likely to be. A good credit score is a sign you’re responsible enough financially to manage the burden of a mortgage, both to lenders and to home buyers themselves. Of course, there are all kinds of loan packages available to people who don’t meet traditional requirements but be very wary of any deal that seems too good to be true and always talk to a financial adviser before signing.

YOU’RE STAYING PUT

The general rule in home buying is that purchasing a home is a safe financial investment only when you know you’ll live there for 5 years or more. There are exceptions to this rule in every state but if your job’s in flux, you may need to change school districts, or you’re just not sure you like the neighborhood, consider waiting a while to dive into a home.

 

YOU’VE DONE YOUR RESEARCH

Say you happen to wander into a beautiful open house one Sunday and you fall in love…this could be your first home! Never let home buying become an overly emotional experience and be sure you do thorough research on the area, other homes for sale, and mortgage rates before you pen an offer. On average, a home buyer spends 12 weeks searching for a home before finding the right one, looking closely at at least 10 homes before buying.

YOU HAVE THE CASH FOR A DOWN PAYMENT

Typically a 20% down payment is needed to secure a traditional home loan. There are packages available that don’t follow this guideline but if you’ve got enough money to put down 20% odds are you’re in a good position financially to invest in a home. Never, ever “stretch” yourself to buy the perfect house – don’t scrape together an extra few thousand to have enough for the down payment only to find yourself struggling each month to meet the mortgage.

YOU CAN HANDLE THE COSTS

Home ownership comes with all kinds of costs renters are simply unaware of. Even brand new homes will need maintenance every month – lawn care, trash pickup, cleaning services. Be sure you’re ready to handle the sudden onslaught of bills from a plumber or the cost of a broken fridge. Research different home options; condos typically cost less to maintain than single-family homes. Buying a home means becoming your own landlord which requires dedicated time and money.

 

First time home buyers account for over 39% of all home sales in the US each year. While 51% of these buyers are married couples the single buyers account for over 36% of the remainder.

If you’re interested in discussing the options for your first home, contact On the Move Charlotte today! We’ve been successfully representing first-time home buyers in the Charlotte area for years.

Why You Should Visit Open Houses

Get out in your Charlotte neighborhood and visit some open homes!

Did you know that over 45% of all buyers say they visit open houses in their search for a new home? Charlotte has a particularly vibrant open house “scene,” especially in Spring. Buyers in the South are statistically more likely to find a home from an open house than in any other region! Home prices are rising in just about every neighborhood in town – if you’ve considered buying a home in the near future now’s a great time to get out and explore your options. The market is changing quickly!

 

So, why should you spend your Sunday visiting Charlotte’s open houses?

  • Open houses are a great way to see what’s available on the market in a particular neighborhood
  • Learn what’s reasonable to expect at a certain price point by visiting open houses
  • If you’re a seller, find out more about your “competition” by visiting other homes
  • Haven’t found a broker to work with yet? Open houses are great places to connect with agents

 

 

 

6 Things You Must Do Before Listing Your Home

Spring is upon us! It’s one of the best times of the year to put your house on the market and many areas (including Charlotte) are posting their best numbers in years. If you’ve been considering selling your home, there are a few things you must do to appeal to buyers even in the best of markets, most of which are quick and relatively inexpensive.

Here are six tips from the On the Move Charlotte team to help get your house sold!

 

6. Get an Inspection Before Going to Market.

Traditionally, a home inspection is only ordered once an offer is on the table. Smart sellers are now getting their own inspections before ever even listing their home – it’s a great way to identify issues that could sink a sale once a contract’s been drawn up. A couple hundred dollars spent on a quality inspection now could save you months of lost time if problems are identified down the road.

5. Staging, Staging, Staging.

It’s impossible to underestimate the effect of proper staging! Home buyers find it notoriously difficult to imagine what a home will look like filled with furniture, and staging’s a great way to transform ambiguous parts of your home into purposeful spaces buyers can appreciate. Nothing confuses buyers more than an empty shell of a home, particularly when compared to a warm, homey, lived-in house.

4. Know Your Market Well.

Of course, your real estate agent will have a thorough understand of your neighborhood and comparables in the area but as a seller it’s important to check out the “competition.” Walk your neighborhood with buyers’ eyes and try to look at your home objectively. Check out online listings of homes within a few miles and see how they’re presented. Even consider asking your broker to take you through a few comps to check out the way they show relative to your home.

3. Clear Out, Clean Up, and Freshen Your House.

You don’t have to undergo a complete kitchen renovation to get your home sold. Consider which aspects of your home are the most glaringly negative and tackle those first. Does your bedroom look totally outdated? Change out the curtains and bedspread. Carpet look worn and dirty? Bring in a steam cleaner. A few hundred bucks goes a long way when preparing your house for market. And don’t forget to ‘de-clutter’ your house before showing it: remove family pictures, clear off countertops and shelves, and of course, keep the house clean at all times in case of an impromptu showing!

2. Pay Attention to Curb Appeal.

The fastest selling houses are always attractive from the moment a buyer pulls up. Spring is a great time to plant a few colorful flower beds or bring in a lawn care pro to spruce up the grass. Keep the yard clear of debris like pinecones and branches to make it look maintenance-free. It may be expensive but is often worth it to consider having your home repainted for a fresh, clean look.

1. Listen to Your Broker.

Sometimes sellers have a hard time hearing constructive criticism regarding their home. Remember, your broker has your best interests at heart and they want to sell your home for you as much as you want it sold! If your broker is telling you something needs to change – be it your price, your dining room table, or the litter box – listen carefully. Experienced brokers know what buyers in your area are looking for and are typically the best source of information you can hope to have.

Picture of Leigh Bryant, Realtor - Keller Williams Realty

Thinking about listing your home? Call Leigh Bryant today at 704.513.3318 to find out more about your particular neighborhood and discuss your options as a seller. There’s no better time to sell than Spring!