Spring Selling Mistakes You Don’t Want to Make

Everyone knows Spring is the “best” time to sell a home.

spring houseWell, statistics actually vary from place to place but in Charlotte the spring selling season tends to be the most active and houses generally get snapped up more quickly than in other seasons. But just because spring is a good time to sell doesn’t mean there aren’t mistakes to be made. Don’t be the kind of seller that overestimates the selling power of the season and inadvertently talks yourself out of a sale.

Here are a few of the most common mistakes spring sellers make. Avoid them when you can.

Banking on the “Spring” Push

Yes, spring is generally a good time to be a seller! But if you live in one of Charlotte’s popular neighborhoods like Dilworth or Plaza Midwood you know that homes haven’t lasted long on the market for months now. In fact, bidding wars are breaking out all across town and have been since back in 2014 because inventory has been historically low. Since so many sellers wait until spring to put their homes on the market you may actually be competing with more homes now, not less…that means your dream of an overnight, all-cash, full ask offer may be out of touch with reality.

Money in hand

Refusing an Open House

Open houses are one of the best things you can do to get your home sold quickly. Spring is actually one of the best times of year to hold open houses since the weather’s nice and your home’s likely to get better light. Don’t forget to consider “off” days like Saturdays or even weeknights (thanks, daylight savings time!) that might lure buyers who otherwise wouldn’t visit open houses. Foot traffic is essential to selling your home fast and for a great price so it’s important to have an open mind.

Putting Off Repairs

Another side effect of a low-inventory market is that all too many sellers leave small fixes on the table for buyers to deal with. One or two tiny home repairs usually aren’t a big deal but given the choice between a move-in-ready home and one that needs a little TLC, most buyers will take the home that’s good to go, even if it costs a bit more. NAR put out a useful fact sheet on cost vs. resale statistics last year that’s a worthwhile read if you’re selling and trying to decide how much time and money to put in. Don’t let your rush to get your home on the market “in spring” leave you listing it before it’s ready.

home repair

Overpricing

Always a peril for sellers, overpricing can be particularly tempting in the spring season when homes are “flying off the market.” Don’t get greedy with your asking price lest you risk alienating buyers who look at a house once then immediately discount it or consider it. You don’t want to be the only house in your neighborhood that’s reducing, reducing, reducing…listen to your agent’s advice on pricing to get offers on your home within the first few weeks. They know what they’re talking about!

 

Thinking of listing your home this spring?
Give us a call to talk about the benefits and drawbacks to selling your Charlotte home right now and get more info on pricing, timeline, and why you need a great real estate agent. We’re always ready to chat!

 

 

14 Things You Should Always Tell Your Agent

Hiring a real estate agent is a big decision.

We’ve talked before about why you need a real estate agent and given you plenty of advice about how to choose the right agent, when to sell/buy, and what the Charlotte market is like. Once you pick an agent, though, what should you discuss? Here are 14 things you should always, always tell your real estate agent whether you’re a seller or a buyer.

stucco house

  1. Be upfront about whether or not you’re planning to update any aspect of your home. Adding a porch? Fixing the gutters? Having the fireplace serviced next week? Tell your Realtor.
  2. Tell your Realtor why you want to buy or sell. Need more space? Downsizing after the kids left the nest? They need to know these things to serve you well.
  3. Are you just starting to look for homes or have you been looking for a while? How many houses have you been shown…and are you under contract with another Realtor?exhausted
  4. Likewise, sellers should disclose whether or not the home’s been listed recently (as in, anytime in the last year) and what happened. If you couldn’t get any interest, say so.
  5. Tell your agent your concerns about the area. Are you worried about the new middle school going in, or have you noticed neighbors’ homes selling for less than usual?
  6. Your agent should know about your past experience with Realtors. If you prefer to work with a team rather than a single agent, say so. If you’ve only had negative Realtor experiences, tell them why.
  7. Along the same vein, tell your agent if you have a preferred method of communication. Hate checking voicemails but read your email constantly? Let them know how best to get in touch with you.
  8. Similarly, be upfront about how often you want to stay in communication. Some clients like weekly check-ins…some prefer only to be bothered when there’s news to share.
  9. Talk to your agent about your dealbreakers, buying or selling. As a seller, do you have a bottom-line price? As a buyer, would you never consider a single-story home or a house with a pool?OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
  10. Your agent should know what you expect from them. If you chose them because you liked the way they marketed listings via Facebook, tell them that’s important to you.
  11. Be honest about marketing hurdles they may face. If you’re absolutely opposed to having an open house be upfront about it. If your neighborhood has outlawed For Sale signs they need to know that, too.
  12. Tell them what your #1 priority is when it comes to your transaction. Do you need to be in a new house within the month? Or is it imperative you get a certain price for your home to satisfy your mortgage debt? Knowing where they have wiggle room gives agents room to work for you.
  13. Be clear about whether you’re interviewing other Realtors, and also talk about how you plan to make your decision.
  14. Talk to your agent about mortgage issues you’re facing. If you’ve been denied pre-approval, they should know that (and they also may have some resources available to help you navigate the current problems.)

 

All real estate agents are not created equal. Every great client/Realtor relationship begins with dialogue and it’s as important for you to be as upfront and honest as you expect your agent to be. Good agents will use your honesty to more effectively, efficiently market your home.

Want to talk to a great agent about buying or selling your Charlotte home? Call us now.

 

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This Month in Real Estate: February 2015

Wondering what’s going on in the real estate market right now?

The folks at Keller Williams have just released a video full of stats and facts about the real estate market in February 2015. As always, call us if you have questions about what this means for your purchase or sale!

We’re always happy to hear from you.

Holiday Season is a GREAT Time to Sell Your Home

No, really!

There’s a pervasive myth out there that if you miss the critical spring or summer listing windows you may as well wait until next year to put your home on the market. That simply isn’t true! There’s some data behind it: Home sales are highest in the spring, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of willing, motivated buyers out there this time of year. In fact, there are plenty of good reasons to specifically wait until the last few months of the year to list your home. Here are just a few.

 

  • The very fact that people assume holiday season’s a ‘dead zone’ for real estate will work in your favor. There are actually less homes on the market this time of year which means your home’s more likely to attract attention and command a good price from buyers who need or want to buy now. Plenty of people  wait until January 1st to list their home to “get a jump start on next year’s market.” Why not beat the influx of inventory by listing now?
  • People plan moves at the beginning of the year. Especially for out-of-town hires set to start after the new year, the time to look at property is now, not later. Listing your home during the last few months of the year ensures your property gets seen by highly-motivated buyers who intend to move in by January 1.

holiday table

  • Emotions run high over the holidays which is a good thing for sellers. It’s festive, it’s cozy inside, and people can really imagine what living with their families in your home would be like. On top of that, family members are more often in town which is great news for showings and open houses. Additionally, people tend to have more time off to see properties, oversee inspections, and the like.
  • There are several financially-motivated reasons to sell over the holidays. Tax incentives abound for both you and the buyer, particularly if any incentives are set to expire on 1/1. Interest rates also tend to be very low towards the end of the year and lower interest rates typically mean buyers will offer a higher asking price.
  • Finally, selling now means you’ve got more flexibility later. Particularly if you can push your close off until late in the year (most people don’t want to actually move over the holidays), you can enter the market as a non-contingent buyer come January. That will give you more power when it comes to bidding, buying, and settling into your new place.

Leigh Bryant, Realtor®
Convinced yet? There are plenty of great reasons to list your home right now as we ease our way into the holiday season. New homes hitting the market this time of year get lots of attention next to stale summer homes and that’s great news for your bottom line. If you’re ready to try your hand at the surprisingly-hot holiday market here in Charlotte, give us a call!

 

 

How Often Should You Clean Your Window Screens?

Spring cleaning, summer clean-out, fall spruce-up?

Certain elements of your home probably get cleaned more often than others. You probably pay lots of attention to your floors and your kitchen countertops, for example, because they’re really visible! It’s easy to imagine your house is clean when it smells great and your hardwoods are gleaming. But many of the oft-overlooked aspects of your home get cleaned just a few times in as many years, and some not at all.

Let’s look at a couple of aspects of your home that need a little more attention than you’re probably giving them:

Window Screens: You should clean your window screens about once a year. Use a soaking wet, soapy sponge to thoroughly soak them, then tap with a dry rag.

Baseboards: Unfortunately these are dust magnets. Clean once a month with your vacuum brush attachment and wipe thoroughly with a damp cloth about once a season.

Oven: Clean your oven at least once every six months. If it doesn’t have an automatic cleaning setting there are plenty of natural, smell-free products available nowadays.

Carpet: You should have your carpet professionally shampooed about once a year – and skip the grocery-store shampoo rentals! They’ve shown high levels of bacterial contaminants. And consider the benefits of replacing your carpets completely before listing your home, too (because it’s cheaper than you think.)

Grout: Washing your grout twice a year will keep you from spending a whole weekend scrubbing once every five. Simply spray a solution of 50/50 water and bleach on white grout and let it set. Rub gently with a rag to remove dirt then rinse fully.

Vent Hood: You’ll be shocked how gross your vent hood can get! Wipe it and the tops of your kitchen cabinets with a soapy wet cloth at least once a month to remove oil deposits and dust.

Blinds: We hate to be the bearer of bad news but experts recommend dusting your blinds about once a week. Once a week! Regular dusting will help keep you from deep-cleaning struggles, but be sure to wipe with water and disinfectant about once every six months, too.

 

There are plenty more things to consider, too. Your siding, your driveway, your fireplace, and even behind your appliances all need regular attention, but don’t get overwhelmed. Try to tack on one extra cleaning task each time you clean your home and you’ll never get stuck with a laundry list of cleaning chores at once.

And, of course, you’ll need to make sure every inch is spotless before you consider selling your home – it may be the perfect time to call in a professional cleaning crew! Come to think of it, so would next Tuesday…

 

 

What Do Millennials Want in a Home?

millennialsMillennials are all over the news.

Their home ownership rates are in decline and they’re also waiting way later than the previous generation to become first-time home buyers. But that’s okay! Ignore all the scary headlines about how millennials can’t afford to buy homes and aren’t interested in property ownership. Every home buyer is different – millennial, retiree, family, bachelor – and what you need to focus on as a seller is making your home appealing to every buyer on the market.

So, what are millennials looking for in a home? Nothing you can’t offer!

Interior DesignStylish Surroundings

Millennials are more affected than other generations by dated, worn out homes. They grew up in the age of DIY and HGTV and they’re looking for rooms straight from a magazine! Some aesthetic changes to your home can go a long way to enticing this demographic: switch out brass fixtures for polished silver, get rid of musty furniture, and take down all that wallpaper. Millennials want homes that have charm and character, yes, but they also want a space that feels fresh and new.

Amenities

And no, not a neighborhood gym! This group wants in-home amenities like built-in closet systems, heated flooring, and smart thermostats and they’re willing to sacrifice space to get them. Millennials are big into efficiency and they want to make the most of the space they have. They’d rather see your formal (unused) living room turned into a media room they’ll enjoy every week and they can overlook other flaws if you’ve got a state-of-the-art kitchen.

central locationCentral Location

Okay, so the location of your home isn’t really anything you can change but it is something you and your Realtor can market to your advantage. Why not talk about the walkability of your home to the grocery store, any restaurants, and it’s proximity to the gym? You don’t have to live right in downtown to have a desirable location but you do have to tell millennials what’s nearby to get them to think outside the box. If they can see themselves living the millennial lifestyle with ease in the home they’ll be more likely to buy.

Flexible Spaces

More and more, millennials are using their homes as an extension of the rest of their lives, not just as a refuge from work. They want home offices that can one day convert to a game room and large attic spaces that could eventually be finished as a playspace. They don’t mind spending the money to customize their homes as long as the space they choose gives them options. The less defined the floor plan of a home, the more millennials are willing to make it their own.

partyEntertaining Possibilities

Millennials are really, really into entertaining. They want a home they can show off but also a home that functions as an entertainment space for their friends – from fire pits to open floor plans to pool table rooms. While Generation X before them was more concerned about family friendliness, millennials are more likely to be childless when they first buy and looking for a place to entertain. Show them how they can use your home to throw a great party and they’ll be hooked.

 

Did we miss anything?
Some of our favorite clients ever have been millennials and we just love this group’s endless energy and optimism. Don’t discount and entire generation of folks as “unlikely home buyers” but instead try to meet them where they are! You’ll be glad you did.

Call us today to talk more about marketing your home to millennials.

Quick Take: Team Dynamic Comes Through Big for the Fede Family

How cute are these two?

Fede and key pic

Jim and Erin Fede are some of On the Move Charlotte’s most recently satisfied clients, and we’re so happy they’re happy!

Last month, Jim and Erin worked with Leigh to list their gorgeous home in Stonehaven…as she was finding the right buyer they found the perfect next house in Pineville with Michelle, who acted as their buyer’s agent. Of course, the On the Move Charlotte assistants worked tirelessly to ensure all the Is were dotted and the Ts were crossed – it was a whole team effort.

The Fedes say they couldn’t be more thrilled with the process and that they’ll never go back to working with an individual agent again (And why would they? They got a whole team of brokers and office assistants for the same price!)

Congrats on your home sale and your new house, Jim and Erin!

 

Top 5 Tips for Sellers from a Charlotte Staging Pro

staged home

Room staged by Creative Home Stagers

Just the word “staging” strikes fear in the hearts of so many sellers.

Having a professional stager come to your home is actually less expensive than you probably think, but many homes can reap huge benefits from just a few simple updates! We asked our friend Carol Smith at Creative Home Stagers, one of Charlotte’s premiere staging companies, to give us her top 5 tips for sellers from a stager’s perspective.

Here’s what she had to say:

1. Make a plan

Don’t jump blindly into home staging. Make a list and prioritize between what is necessary and what is a dream. You may want to focus on a central room in the house such as the kitchen instead of the master bathroom.

2. Small updates can make big differences

Start small – painting your second bathroom a neutral color and adding some nice touches such as rolled up towels and nice candles can make a big difference. You don’t have to gut the entire house to make it suitable for sale.

neutral3. Keep it clean!

It’s always a good idea to keep your house clean, but when you are in the middle of selling a house, you should go through every nook and cranny with a toothbrush if you have to. Potential buyers will notice little spots of dirt that you’ve grown not to notice any more. A big spring cleaning is necessary.

4. Stay neutral

It is difficult for a man to walk into a master bedroom filled with ruffles and an excessive amount of flowery pillows and imagine it as part of his future bachelor pad. Try and keep your decorative additions gender neutral so you don’t polarize potential buyers.

5. Pack it up

Moving out furniture that crowds a room can really help potential buyers visualize their own furniture in a house. Simple is better than cluttered in the staging game and that extra chest of drawers you keep in your small office space is not helping.

carol-smith

Carol Smith of Creative Home Stagers

Staging your home for sale doesn’t have to be daunting. You’ve already made the big decision to put your house on the market; simplify the task of staging by following these tips. For more home staging tips from our friends at Creative Home Stagers, visit their blog here: http://www.creativehomestagers.com/charlotte-home-staging.

Why a Real Estate Team is Better than an Individual Agent

People chose real estate agents for a variety of reasons.

Team 2.13.2014Sometimes they choose based on past experience; sometimes it’s because they saw an ad; other times it’s because of a personal recommendation from a friend. All too often, people pick brokers without giving too much thought to the reason they’re choosing them, or about the ways in which particular brokers may offer certain benefits. Selling or buying a home is one of the biggest decisions you’ll make in your life, why shouldn’t you give some serious thought to who you choose to partner with you during these transactions?

Real estate teams are growing in popularity across the country and for good reason. Keller Williams Realty is one of the more team-centric agencies in the world and its agents say they love the camaraderie of the team atmosphere, rather than the competition of working essentially as individual brands.

So, if you’re thinking of buying or selling a home, why should you think very seriously about working with a real estate team? There are plenty of reasons. Here are just a few:

  • The #1 benefit of working with a team of agents is that at any point, the client has several professionals, each with their own strengths, at their fingertips. For example, perhaps their primary Listing Specialist has a question about lot lines…they can simply consult with the rest of the team for an educated consensus on the issue before proceeding.
  • team 2Each member of a real estate team has a different set of skills. Some teams, like On the Move Charlotte, have dedicated technical and administrative support which means the individual agents won’t get bogged down in time-consuming logistics and in turn will be more available to assist with real estate-specific questions and needs.
  • Teams typically have buyer and seller agents on board. If you’re a seller, working with an agent who’s part of a team may open doors to ready buyers looking for a home exactly like yours. In this sense, transactions often happen faster and more smoothly since everything’s accomplished within one team of professionals.
  • More “hands on deck” means more marketing for your home. Each agent can market (and search for) homes using their own databases and training. It’s never a bad thing to have several people with different perspectives working on your behalf.
  • Traditional real estate agents report working 40-80 hours a week, on average. That means, particularly if you’re a client working with a “high-profile” agent, you may not be getting the attention you deserve. Teams are able to work more efficiently and have the ability to compensate for one another when times get busy or overwhelming.
  • In today’s hyper-competitive market, a few hours can make all the difference. If you’re working with an independent agent and they’re in a training seminar all day, who’s around to show you the house down the street that just hit the market? There may be multiple offers on that house by the time you get a return phone call. Working with a team means there’s always someone available to tend to your time-specific needs.
  • In general, clients who work with teams say they feel they get superior customer service. They’re not being “juggled” with other clients – they’re always the sole focus of someone on the team at any given time.

…you get the idea.

team 1Essentially, teams allow clients to tap into the potential of several real estate experts rather than just one. No matter how amazing any individual agent is, there are only so many hours in the day to focus on separate clients, and the more popular traditional agents become the less time they have to devote to each client. Teams are the solution.

So, the next time you’re ready to buy, sell, or invest in a home, why not consider a real estate team like On the Move Charlotte? Getting a plethora of real estate professionals at your service for the same price as one? That just makes good sense.

 

final-logoIf you’ve got questions about the dynamics of working with a real estate team, contact Leigh Bryant and her team of go-getters at On the Move Charlotte. They’re ready to help you buy, sell, and everything in between.