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Selling in 2011? 5 things you MUST know.

Posted on : 30-12-2010 | By : Sumina | In : Sellers


If you are considering selling your house in 2011 here are my top 5 things you need to know as a seller. This is one of my few longer posts, just so you’re prepared! Of course my standard disclaimer applies;

  • Every region is different: What may work well in Austin, won’t necessarily work well in San Fran, or Chicago. What may have worked for your buddy in another subdivision, even in the same CITY, may not be what works best for your home. You get my point.
  • Every ‘time’ is different: What is going to work in Q1 2011, is probably not what worked in the summer of 2006. (Back in 2006, all you probably had to do was open your door and whisper out into the world that you wanted to sell your house, and you would have had 5 offers in 5 minutes)
  • Every house is different.The way to sell a fixer-upper home in East Austin, is going to be different than a house out in Westlake. Even within the same subdivision, the strategy your agent may employ to sell your home vs. your neighbors home can vary.

So onto the meat of the post:

  1. Price your home well

    – I can’t stress this highly enough. Price it to SELL, not to sit on the market for 6 months. How do you know if it’s priced well, the National Association of Realtors rule of thumb is: 2 weeks without a showing (priced too high), or 10 viewings and no offers (priced too high). So let’s break that down further; If we look at the fact that you haven’t had a single blindfold-modshowing in 2 weeks, you are priced so high, that agents are not willing to bring their clients to even see your home. As in, they don’t even want to LOOK. You definitely don’t want to be in this position. If we look at the second reason, some agents did think your home was worth showing, but not enough to make an offer. Your agent should be following up with each and every one of these people to see what you could do to get an offer. There might be things you can’t change (location, floorplan etc), but there may be somethings you are overlooking (staging, cleaning).

  2. Stage your home to SELL!

    clutter-modAlongside price, staging is one of the quickest ways you can lose or make money on your home. I can’t overstate how important this is. There is a reason that model homes look the way they do. The number one tip when staging: declutter.

  3. Online Marketing

    – I’m not just talking about the MLS, I’m talking, craigslist, trulia, googlehomes, etc. It really isn’t enough for your agent to put your home on the MLS and leave it there. Is your agent talking about the property on their facebook and twitter feeds? Do you feel like other agents are hearing about your home?

  4. Hyperlocal Marketing

    So we have the other end of the spectrum. Do your neighbors know you’re selling your house? Have they been through it at an open house?  Most people move within 7 miles of where they currently live. Is your agent marketing to those homes? ‘Just Listed’ postcards and inviting the neighbors to an open house is a great way to gain exposure. Many times neighbors have friends and family members who say ‘I love this neighborhood! If a 4 bedroom, one story home comes up, let us know!’. So make sure the neighbors know.

  5. Know your competition

    You do know you’re entering a competition right? If you live in the burbs where there are about 17suburbs-mod houses with your exact floorplan, and 4 of them happen to be for sale right now, you better know that! How are you going to compete with those homes? Does your home show better? (hint: it better!) Is it priced better? If another home gets an offer and your home didn’t why do you think you lost out? If you really can’t answer those questions, you’re in trouble.

  6. One bonus tip: Think like a buyer.

    Go visit the competition. Go visit open homes. Then come back to your home while keeping your buyer’s hat on, and look at your home through the eyes of a buyer. Dust on the fan blades? Bet you didn’t notice that. Scuffed up baseboards? Better touch those up. These seemingly little things make a buyer think that if you didn’t care enough to clean up your house and maintain it well before putting it up for sale, then what else might you have skimped out on? Too many family pictures? Too much clutter? There is a reason that model homes are decorated the way that they are. The builder wants you to see the home for what it is, not the clutter or the weird doll collection in the china cabinet, or spending time admiring the cute baby pictures.

As always if you have questions about selling your home, contact your best, most trusted real estate professional. After all, this is what we do for a living. Notice that I used the word ‘professional’. In the current market, you want a full-time, committed individual who is going to understand what is is going to take to sell YOUR home. A professional.

No Foreclosures Over the Holidays

Posted on : 15-12-2010 | By : Sumina | In : Sellers


While Bank of America may be looking to resume foreclosures again, at least for the holidays (Dec 20-Jan 3), no one is going to get kicked out of their home. That’s good news coming from Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and several of the larger banks. Of course, if you are risk of foreclosure, check with your bank to see what their process are going to be during the holiday season, not all banks are going to be participating in the foreclosure freeze. 

One more point: If Gingerbread houseyou are behind on your payments (or have friends/family members that are), and think you might be at risk of losing your home, please contact your bank! A large number of homeowners NEVER contact their bank about being behind on payments.

I know it’s hard to swallow your pride and admit you can’t make your payments, and that you may not be able to for a few more months, but the banks are in a position to help you and, although you may be struggling, know that people all over the country are facing a very similar situation. The banks are generally well equipped (at least better than a 12-18 months ago) to deal with homeowners in distress and there are TONS of resources to help you, but you’ve gotta ask.

DO NOT sell your home without consulting your bank. There are many, many scams out there, and like you’ve probably heard a thousand times, if it sounds too good to be true, there’s probably a reason why. And when you feel desperate, and lost, you are easy prey for some of these scams to seem plausible and feel like they are going to ‘save’ you from the situation  you are in.

If you do decide that selling is the best option for you, contact an agent you trust who can guide you through the process. We are prepared to guide you through the complicated process and work with the bank to get the most favorable terms for you.

Consider this advice my holiday gift to you. :)

Buyers are happier, sellers are grouchier

Posted on : 29-07-2010 | By : Sumina | In : Buyers, Education, Sellers

Tags: , , ,


J.D. Power and Associates have been tracking buyer and seller satisfaction rates for the past 3 years, and since last year, buyer satisfaction has gone up while seller satisfaction has gone down since 2009. Makes sense to me. Most people having to sell in this market aren’t the the happiest frame of mind (loss of job, forced downsizing, etc).

Whereas buyers are able to take advantage of the large amount of available inventory and often desperate sellers, so why wouldn’t they be happier and more satisfied with the process.

imageOf course, seeing Keller Williams as one of the highest ranked companies across the board fills my little heart with glee. Here are a few things I think help make me a better agent for you, dear client.

  • Education: I know the emphasis on education (our office has at least 6-10 classes a WEEK) on various types of topics allows me ample opportunity to catch up on an issue I’m not familiar with.
  • Networking within the industry: chatting with other top producing agents across the city on a regular basis through the networking groups I belong to all help to keep me on top of my game
  • Local issues: meeting with local state representatives and city council folks helps me keep abreast of issues that may be trickling down the pipeline in the near future. This is a direct benefit to you if I know a water treatment plant may be coming in down the road, or that their are plans to turn that quiet country road into a 8-lane mega highway.

In my opinion, long gone are the days of the ‘lone ranger’ type of mentality that I see many agents subscribing to. Especially in a city like Austin, being connected and working together with my peers is a bigger and bigger part of getting transactions to closing. Yes, we are all competing for business in this city, but there is not only a lot of business, I need the expertise of my fellow agents to help me through some of the situations I run across.

I think that as clients get more savvy (as they should), and do their research online to find the right agent (as maybe you are doing now), doing their research by googling me, and seeing what they find, finding a good fit in an agent is going to rank pretty high. Looking for an agent that is knowledgeable, and informed about their industry is going to become more and more important. 

I for one, am glad that the bar is being raised for my industry, and I’m proud to be one of folks working hard to raise it.

Stressed out home sellers

Posted on : 25-05-2010 | By : Sumina | In : Education, Sellers


It’s always interesting from an agent perspective to see an article like this one featured recently on MSN’s Real Estate website. Briefly, the article talks about the top 5 stressors that sellers face.

Now, to someone in my industry, dealing with these stressors on a daily basis and guiding my clients through many of these, it’s nice to see the mainstream media giving us a hand and explaining what a lot of people are feeling and some very useful tips to help.

Selling a home can be stressful. Surprised? Don’t be. Although Austin has been very well insulated from what is going on around the country, we all know people who have been going through a hard time in Florida, California, Nevada or Detroit.

It is the job of a good agent to guide (read: someone who cares about the CLIENTS, not just the PAYCHECK) their clients through what can sometimes (often) be a sticky situation. Although, when dealing with peoples’ most important asset, that’s easier said than done. Throw in divorce, job loss, or a multitude of issues, and you can see why an already stressful situation can ‘border on becoming a traumatic event’.

My top 3 tips to sellers:

  1. Pick an agent that is going to tell you the TRUTH. Not sugar coat things, and not list your house at the price you want to get a sign in your yard. Often when an agent is telling you something that makes you uncomfortable, it’s often because it’s the truth.
  2. Choose an agent that is serious about his/her business. I study the stats on a daily basis, so I know inventory levels, average price/sqft and other market data. The benefit to a seller is that I’ll know what it’s going to take to get your home sold quickly and for the most money possible.
  3. Remember if you are on the market for sale and your home hasn’t sold and has exceeded the days-on-market for your area, then you are helping other homes sell. Agents are using your home as a comparison to get other, better priced & better valued homes sold. Yes, you read that right.
  4. (A bonus tip!) And lastly, if you are not serious about selling your home at a price that is going to get it to SELL, take your home off the market and stop clogging up the works. You’re making it harder for the homes that are active and buyers who are serious.

Sorry about being hard in this post, but this article hit home with a few clients I am working with now.