Tag Archives: sell your home

Staging your home to Sell in Summer!

Any home stager will tell you that “staging is staging” and the principals remain the same throughout the year—keep things clean, clutter free and colorful. But that doesn’t each season comes without its own brand of staging magic.

For summer, there are a number of things you can do both inside and outside to take advantage of the beautiful weather.

Barb Schwarz, creator of Homes Staging® and CEO of Stagedhomes.com, suggests adding splashes of color to your porch with potted flowers. She favors larger pots placed on each side of the front door bearing tulips or daisies with greenery in the middle.

Bringing spring colors into a home is just as easy, especially with accessories like throw pillows, area rugs, artwork, towels and bedspreads.

“Change accessories and the whole house changes,” Schwarz said. Swap-out decorative pillows on a sofa for a fresh, new look. “This year nature colors are really in; green is really big and hot orange is an accent that is strong.”

Designers recommend using other knickknacks that speak of spring, such as pears, eggs, sea shells, nature, leaf patterns in fabrics, wicker, real leather and rust metal as contrast.

Schwarz said it’s also a good idea to replace the drapery panels in a home or office. She recently changed a den from a daisy pattern in blue to cream plain panels that went from ceiling to the floor “and the whole room looked bigger and more elegant,” she said.

Of course, all rooms in the house are important and there are ways to liven up each one as the spring season blooms. You want the buyer to buy the whole house, not just one or two rooms staged, so it’s important to create a cohesive design.

Yet don’t forget your “great outdoors.” Clean up your yards, remove fallen leaves and dead plants, and trim bushes and hedges.

Indeed, spring brings more buyers so take advantage of all that the season has to offer.

We can refer you to our own staging and remodeling folks if you prefer not to do it yourself!  Should your home need more than just staging, a bit of cleanup could mean replacing your carpet or changing out the old tired tile in the baths.

We are Sell This Place Now.com and  BuyThisPlaceNow.com!   We can help you if you are buying or selling!

Call us at 713.818.0829

 

 

Home Staging Should Include the Male Perspective

Professional home stagers consult with homeowners on ways to sell their homes quickly and for the most money possible, but often lost in the design process is the fact that men are involved in buying decisions as well.

When having your home staged, it’s important to remember to appeal to both sexes and do some things that will pique a man’s interest just as much as a woman’s.

Professional stagers take into account buyer demographics, buying psychology, and utilize design elements in planning out the rooms and space and the use of lighting and its effect on the space. Don’t be afraid to let them know if the home is leaning too far on the woman’s side.

Women tend to look for cozier settings or rooms that facilitate intimate conversations, while males gravitate toward rooms with gadgets, televisions and electronics.

Open spaces and higher ceilings are also a draw for men as psychologically they have a larger sense of personal space. Professional stagers with men in mind try to create rooms where a man can feel as if he can walk through the house easily without stepping around all sorts of furniture.

When it comes to men, the garage and yard tend to be high up on the priority list, so it’s important to get these areas as perfect as possible.

Garages that have painted walls, clean floors and enough storage for various male-oriented hobbies will impress. Shelf space is almost always looked at as a good thing here and a place to hang tools or a workbench would make a fine addition to attract male buyers. And remember, an empty garage looks much bigger than one with a car parked in it.

With the yard, showcasing a well-maintained lawn will help sell the male. Thick, healthy grass, minimal bushes to trim and easy to clean garden beds will meet the landscaping criterion the male buyer looks for.

Appealing to both sexes when staging and selling a home requires an emotional investment that will pay off in the end for all parties, just don’t forget that men need a connection, too.

At SellThisPlaceNow, we can guide you in getting your home professionally staged. Call us today at 713.818.0829

Norman Frenk can be reached at 713.818.0829.

Why YOUR home did not sell….

 

home1I have been selling Real Estate for 25+ years and I have taken over and sold more than my fair share of “expired” listings – those homes other Realtors had that could not or would not be sold during their original listing term – and for all these years I had the duty to find out why the home did not sell and turn the marketing around to overcome the thoughts that this may now be a stale listing.

How I did this is somewhat proprietary, but I can tell you that it takes a lot of marketing. And therein (marketing and how to apply it to your home) lies the difference between the services of a great marketing Realtor and that of the average Realtor.

If your home was marketed by another Realtor / firm and is not selling or did not sell you may ask: How much marketing was done to ensure the sale of the home?  MLS? Flyers? Real Estate Book? Open House?

Frankly, very few homeowners know how much (or how little) their Realtors really do in actual marketingDo you think you received more marketing or more excuses?

Over my 23+ years, I have developed a list of why homeowners became dissatisfied with their Realtors. Simply e-mail me from this site and I’ll send you the list..

There is much more marketing that we do that gets your home out there to 97+ websites and in front of thousands or hundreds of thousands of potential buyers and their Realtors.  One of the best is personal contact.  Having sold for 23+ years, I have developed quite a list of buyers, sellers and other prospects.  Whereas I use the trendy “social media” (10,000 twitter followers, for example – www.twitter.com/normanfrenk, www.twitter.com/sellthisplace) ), I still rely on the good old fashioned face-to-face and telephone marketing to qualify leads personally.

There are 3 reasons that YOUR home did not sell:

1) Price

2) Location

3) Marketing / Staging

Within these 3 categories are sub-categories.  Such as:  if you own a home that floods occasionally and flood insurance rates are high you have a combination of 1 and 2 above but as such, there is only one factor that is in your control: Price.  The value of a home that floods or is in a flood zone that is not optimal is less than one that does not have this noted problem.

GIven, however, that your home is in a subdivision, for example, and does not back to a busy road or have other problems and that the location of the neighborhood is desirable we are left with items 1 and 3 to contend with.  Poor marketing, staging, upkeep will certainly affect price. The staging and upkeep of the property are the Listing Agents’ responsibilities as it is incumbent upon them to ensure that the sellers are aware of what needs to be done to get the home sold.

Keep in mind:  “Price cures all Objections”.   This simply means that any home will sell at some price.  A home – no matter what condition will sell at the right price – whether it backs to a busy highway or has flooded or has not been updated.

75%+ agents do NOT give homeowners the guidance with regards to how the property should look in comparison to the competition and 50% of those that do have little knowledge about design and how to make a home stand out in the crowd.  That would leave approximately 12.5% of the agents that not only give the homeowners advice as to how to ensure their home stands out, but also give the correct advice.*

Was your agent one of the only 12.5%?

Norman Frenk, M.B.A., I.R.E.S.  of the Frenk Team at Better Homes & Gardens Real Estate – Gary Greene Realtors has not only successfully re-marketed homes but personally has shown homeowners how to stage homes – in many cases with reasonable effort – to ensure a sale. Additionally, while working for many years with interior designers, stagers, painters and other trades people from within the remodeling industry, has recently applied to become certified himself by the American Society of Interior Designers (A.S.I.D.).

It takes more than a yard sign, lockbox, flyers and an open house to sell a home.  It takes more than a weaker agent willing to give up their commission because that is all the know-how they have.  It takes knowledge of the market, knowledge of design and ability to fight for your home and negotiate.

You don’t have to wait to call us to re-market your home – call us in the first place!

see other posts on this blog site to find out about Staging Mistakes, Why Discount Brokerage may NOT save you money at all, How to Sell a House & so much more!

 

* data compiled over last 23 years in the industry from homeowners whose home did not sell with their previous listing Realtor. Data from 1992-2016.

 

 

Will my Home Sale close on Schedule?

That’s the million dollar question these days.   Everyone needs to schedule their move.  Sellers have to have the movers and buyers have to have their funds to close.

What happens when the bank can’t get the papers done or there are still conditions to be met?  Closing is delayed.  And how many closings are delayed?  Actually, in the real world, about 50% to 60% of the loans close on time.  Others may be a day late, a week late or even several weeks late.

Who is responsible for charges incurred if a buyer does not close on the home on time?   Well, we’d like to say the buyer because 9 out of 10 times it is the buyer’s mtg company that delays the closing due to various reasons (buyer did not get paperwork to them in time, underwriting came up with new requirements, appraisal wasn’t ordered because buyer and seller were still negotiating repairs, etc.), but that is not always the case and here’s why:

IF a closing goes past the agreed upon date, neither party is obliged to close.  It is wise to get an amendment to the contract immediately upon knowledge that a closing will not take place as scheduled.  IF it is a seller’s market – the seller could demand that the buyer pay for holding costs of the home until the closing date.  IF it is a buyer’s market, the seller would probably not be negotiating from a position of strength in asking the buyer to pay.   In either case, without a signed amendment, the seller is perfectly within his right to sell the home to another party and buyer is perfectly within his right not to close (unless he had something to do with the closing delay such as failure to get documents to the mtg company in a timely fashion, etc.)

 

 

Color Psychology for Homes

 

            I frequently suggest that homeowners paint before placing their homes on the market. Don’t be offended!

I want my customers to understand “color psychology,” which focuses on color’s effect on human behavior and emotion. Since people’s reaction to color is immediate, color has a tremendous influence on the choices they make every day.

            Color choices are very personal and when selling your home, it’s critical to appeal to the greatest number of potential buyers. With so many people beginning their search for a home on the Internet today, your home and listing photos must stand out from your competition. Color is one very simple way to do this.

            Painting your house’s exterior before you put it on the market will give the biggest bang for your fix-up buck, as long as you are using colors that conform to the neighborhood’s decorating tastes.

            Colors affect human beings in many ways, and by using the principles of color psychology, you can make your home stand out from the competition, sell more quickly, and at a higher price. In short, the stimulus and effect of colors normally cross cultures. Blues will feel cool, reds and oranges feel warm. Deeper shades of color imply intimacy and serenity.

Your home’s exterior color is the first thing most potential homebuyers see when they drive up or inspect the property on the Web. The correct color may be the most powerful and cost effective design tool at your disposal.

What is “correct” these days? My research shows that homes painted in pale yellows with cream or beige accents have sold fastest during the past few years.

In general, lighter colors are favored for exterior as they make the property seem larger. Conversely, painting your sideboards with a darker color will make the house seem smaller, though dark colors can draw more attention to home’s details.

            For those painting an older home, you may want to consider historical accuracy, as this could be a big selling point as well.

            When choosing interior colors for the home, consider the purpose of each room. Kitchen and dining areas painted in “food colors” such as coffee browns, celery greens and scrambled-egg yellows will make the rooms feel more natural.

            Hallways are a great place to bring in the exterior colors for overall harmony.

According to Jeanette Fisher’s book Joy to the Home: Secrets of Interior Design Psychology, since, deeper shades of color imply intimacy and serenity, she recommends painting master bedrooms a medium shade of green or blue for warm selling seasons, and rouge red for cooler weather. Other bedrooms can be painted in creamy tones of green, blue, or a pale shell pink.

            For your bedroom and bathroom, cool colors can form a relaxing atmosphere with paint. Consider shades of blue, green or even lavender.

            Of course, common sense should help you with any color choices. You need to match other things in your home and keep a comfortable environment as well.
Call Me for more color tips and to get a no-nonsense review of your home!


Flood Insurance for Coastal and higher risk areas

A little known act which is only now rising to the attention of all of the U.S. coastal cities is now becoming a nightmare to homeowners. The Biggert-Waters flood insurance reform act of 2012 is now set to affect millions of homeowners from the coasts of Maine down to Florida through Texas and then over to the west coast.

This act appears to have the effect of raising insurance rates from $500 to $2500 to $10,000 and higher. In addition, the increased amount of homes drawn into the flood plains by raising the base flood elevation (BFE) in areas means that homes that did not previously require flood insurance may now require it or those that already required it are now placed in even higher risk categories – all of this with just the stroke of a pen – increasing the BFE.

The Biggert-Waters Act is first reforms began Oct. 1 and the first round of people affected are those with subsidized flood insurance.

For years, homeowners with subsidized insurance were allowed to pay lower rates because their homes were built before the original flood maps were adopted decades ago. Now, those with subsidized insurance on businesses, secondary homes, or homes that have flooded multiple times are seeing rates increase substantially.

Rates are also spiking for new purchases, dating back to July 2012. Thus, if you purchased a home prior to July 2012 that is your primary dwelling your rates could be grandfathered in. If you purchased a home in August of 2012, for example, you probably have already received your notice of rate increase. Grandfathering of current rates for those homeowners who purchased before July 2012 is also set to disappear in a future round of the reform act.

Donald Matter, former Mayor of Nassau Bay said that his rates could hit as high as $30,000 per year just for flood insurance on his $685,000 home.

Congress passed and President Obama signed the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act. It extends the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) for five years. It also calls for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and other agencies to make changes to the way in which the NFIP operates.

The act makes several major changes. Higher insurance premiums will be charged for homes and businesses below the Base Flood Elevation (BFE). Rates for some homes in high-risk areas will increase 25% of the newly established premium each year over the next four years starting in 2013. No discounts will be given to homeowners for properties below the BFE, even if they met the building code at the time they were built.  Older structures built before a community’s first flood map was issued are known as pre-FIRM buildings. The grandfather rule applies to homes that were built in compliance with the flood map that was in effect at the time the structure was built. Finally, subsidized insurance rates will be phased out for all properties except pre-FIRM primary residences that have not lost their qualification for the rate.

What does this mean to you?  Even more – what does this mean for the country?

If the Biggert-Waters act continued, homeowners would be driven from their homes in (pardon the pun) floods – leaving because they cannot pay the insurance rates. Foreclosures would rise and no one would be there to purchase those properties anywhere near the previous values.  Values along all coastal areas would plummet to land value where people could obtain the land and build structures that are higher than the current BFE.  Biggest losers?  Current homeowners, banks holding those mortgages, cities and businesses wherein those homes are located.

Will this really happen?  Well, this IS a government program and let’s see how the Post Office is doing. How about Social Security?  Freddie MAC? FannieMAE? Now let’s throw Obamacare in the mix – and, well – you see how this is going – all programs that are government run are failing or destined to fail.   FEMA is no different – another failed system.

In all actuality we will see increases in insurance rates for those on the coast.  Will it ultimately be $30,000 as Matter believes will happen for his home in Nassau Bay – leading to devastation across the country?  Very doubtful.  We will finally have some resolution that makes sense and keeps home values virtually intact.

Norman Frenk, M.B.A. is a Realtor at Better Homes & Gardens Real Estate – Gary Greene (www.SellThisPlacenow.com and www.BuyThisPlaceNow.com) and owner of Modern Home Designs (www.RedesignMyPlace.com)

 

How to Sell a House!

Still a tough market.

Words of wisdom:  Listen to your Realtor.  If he or she isn’t talking – get a new one.

Getting your home sold requires effort.  If you have your home on the market and there are no showings – there could be a number of things wrong. Price, condition (people see the photos online), poor marketing (poor photos), bad location or all of the above.

To get your home sold now for TOP DOLLAR, your home has to have “WOW” factor.  No “wow” factor and you’re just a plain Jane!

Granite, travertine, stainless appliances, iron stair railings, pendant lighting, paint that “pops”, exciting decor all sell homes.  Have one but not the other?  Probably not enough WoW to be considered.  How about your furniture?  Not up to par?  Then get new or vacate.  You’re not selling your furniture but neither are the new home builders.   They’ve got furniture and they didn’t put in the old stuff.

It costs to sell a home.  It may cost you even more if you don’t get everything done.  Reduce the price by $10,000 after 90 or 120 days?  Why not spend that up front and get the home sold NOW!

I can Help you!  We can get estimates for everything. We can install.  You’ll be on your way to selling your home in no time!  Improving your odds to sell is the smartest and best way to outsmart the competition.

Is it time for a Discount Broker?

Why not hire a discount broker?  One who charges less – in some cases, apparently a lot less.

This has been asked time and time again.   All agents are the same, right?  Then why not just put my home up for sale with a discount broker and sell and save?  After all, I’ve seen ads that say “We’ve saved our clients Thousands of $$ over conventional brokers..”

First, let’s show you the break down of how agencies get paid.

Let’s assume a $310,000 home sells for $300,000.00 and there is a 6% commission.   Usually there is the listing broker and the selling broker splitting the 6% (3% + 3%) equally, or $9,000.00 each

Would you want to offer less to the agent that has the buyer?  say just offer $3,000?  Maybe $6,000 or so?   Probably the buyer’s agent would not show your property.  You would lose out.    True – the buyer’s agent works on behalf of the buyer but is going to direct traffic to homes that will pay the “standard amount” of 3%.   Thus, cutting down on the buyer’s agent commission is dangerous.

That leaves the listing agent fee.  Your marketing money.

The discount broker as a listing agent would have to cut the amount of marketing to sell your home.

Is this a good idea?  MAYBE – if we are in a true Seller’s market.  In a true seller’s market “the buyers are going to come anyway” might be the thought.  Few homes for sale –  many buyers.   You may just put a “For Sale By Owner” sign up and you will be flooded with inquiries.

How do you know if you priced your home right?  Are you planning on calling a Realtor to use their “free” services (take advantage of their services without expectation to pay for any of it?).  Are you planning on taking on the risk of doing paperwork and disclosures in this litigious society?     You will probably find that the cost of the Realtor could be beneficial in the long run!

Additionally, a buyer looking to work with you directly may not be qualified.  Are you going to help them become qualified?   Is a buyer who is not working with a Realtor already very motivated? (95% of all buyers use Realtors when purchasing resale homes.  Buyers working with Realtors are usually qualified and are buyers and not lookers).

What about in a Buyer’s Market?   Lots of homes for sale – few buyers.  Should we skimp on the marketing?

We all know what happens to other companies when things are tough. They cut their advertising budgets and then fewer sales.  Cut some more. Even fewer sales.  Finally the company may have to close down.

Does it not make more sense to advertise MORE to attract the most possible buyers?

What does Sell This Place Now and Better Homes & Gardens – Gary Greene offer that discount brokers do not?

1) A large sales force.  City wide we have over 1,000 agents going to work for you.

2) Home in at least 79 different web sites with expanded photo coverage (look at Realtor.com  web site and compare number of photos offered by discount companies and the BH&G brand.

3) Bundled Services:  Mortgage, Sales, Title, Renovations all under one roof

4) Postcard mailers with your home on it mailed to thousands (with the price of postage now, this is quite expensive – but effective)

5) Known name in the industry.  It is important to have the leverage of the name brand when dealing with other agents, mortgage companies and relocation.

6) Worldwide relocation.  The BH&G network is worldwide.  With one of the largest arrays of corporate accounts feeding us sellers and buyers – we may have that right buyer for your home. Now with even more relocation buyers and sellers!  Better Homes & Gardens Real Estate Gary Greene is part of the world’s largest relocation network and works with employees from prestigious firms such as Shell Oil, Exxon-Mobil, the U.S. Military branches and many, many more!

7) Internal marketing departments.  At discount brokers, the one agent takes care of everything from planting the sign to running his/her own copies to carrying mail to the post office.  Additionally, most discount brokers are individuals themselves with no other staff.  We have an entire department dedicated to marketing!

Which one of these items would you like to cut?  The Relocation?  The Advertising?  The large Sales Force?  The Marketing Department?

The  TRUTH is:  More marketing money= more potential buyers attracted = more offers = higher sales price potential!

 

Norman Frenk and the Sell This Place Now team have the education, expertise, marketing plans and marketing dollars to get your home positioned correctely on the market and exposed to thousands of potential buyers.  Call to get your places sold now!

Short Sale Guidelines are Making a Difference

 The theory behind short sales seems simple enough: If a homeowner owes more money on a house than the house can sell for, and the homeowner is struggling to pay the mortgage, the lender will allow the house to be sold for less than is owed. For obvious reasons, lenders are not big fans of short sales and often make it a complicated process. In April 2010, The Home Affordable Alternatives Program (HAFA) released new guidelines designed to streamline the short-sale process and allow more delinquent homeowners to sell their homes and move on with their lives. In its first year, participating servicers initiated 12,266 HAFA agreements and completed 5,447 transactions. According to the National Association of Realtors, the share of distressed homes—bank-owned properties and pre-foreclosure short sales— in April 2011 dropped to 37% of total sales volume, down from 40% in March and an average of 39% over the first quarter. HAFA complements the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP), a loan modification program designed to reduce delinquent and at-risk borrowers’ monthly mortgage payments by providing alternatives for borrowers who don’t qualify for or don’t complete a trial modification. “[HAFA short-sale guidelines] are designed to help people who are unable to keep their home under the HAMP loan modification program,” said Jeff Lischer, managing director for regulatory policy for The National Association of Realtors. “Let’s say you can’t keep your property under HAMP, the next step is a short sale, which is better than a foreclosure.” It’s estimated that lenders lose about 40% of a property’s value on a foreclosure, whereas the figure is reduced to about 19% on a short sale. Moreover, the short sale is a graceful exit from the ownership, which is better for people’s credit scores. New rules also add incentives for the short-sale process. One incentive helps sellers relocate by providing them with $3,000 for moving expenses. A second incentive is for mortgage servicers, who receive $1,500 from the federal government for each completed short sale. Under new guidelines, homeowners can secure a short sale approval in advance from the bank representing a minimum net amount the bank will accept. Lenders participating in the HAFA program maintain the following requirements for homeowners considering short sale: The loan must be less than $729,750, made before Jan. 1, 2009, and the home must be the owner’s primary residence. Also, the homeowner must be delinquent and unable to pay the mortgage, and the homeowner’s mortgage payment must be more than 31% of his or her before-tax income.

Call Norman Frenk at 713.818.0829 today to get more information on short selling your home.