Don’t Overprice Your Home! And Here’s Why…..

5 Common (but Terrible) Reasons for Overpricing Your Home
Adapted from author Craig Donofrio | Realtor.com
CLICK HERE to find out what your home is worth

We know, we know—you love your house and you know all its special fine points. And of course, you want to list your treasured home at a price that reflects all those good points that you’re sure potential buyers will recognize as truly outstanding.

Perhaps you’ve seen the comps for your neighborhood, but you just know your home is worth more, so you’re going to list it at a higher price.

The following list are reasons sellers overprice their home, and none of them is smart. If you price your home too high, it’ll take longer to sell, raising doubts in buyers’ minds about whether there’s something wrong with it, and you’ll probably have to drop the price eventually anyway. So don’t fall for any of these five common justifications sellers use to inflate the price of their beloved property.

1. You have the Midas touch in decor (you think)

The reason that interiors are often painted white or neutral colors before a sale is because it allows potential buyers to envision their own decorating. Your quirky or colorful touches might not be for everyone, and can actually devalue your house.

Alexandra Axsen, owner and managing broker of Lake Okanagan Realty in British Columbia, Canada, listed a home whose bathrooms were all sorts of strange colors—olive-green toilets, a purple bathtub, and a pink sink. When Axsen recommended to the seller a price that factored in the cost of necessary updates, things got a little heated.

“He got very upset and argued with me that his colorful fixtures added value, because people are tired of the all-white, stale hospital look,” Axsen explains.

So they tried the seller’s way first, listing it for his desired price. It didn’t sell, and buyers gave feedback that the home was overpriced. After weeks on the market, the seller finally agreed to lower the price. It sold within a month.

2. You’re nitpicking comps

Comps (or comparable market analysis) are valuable reference points that allow your Realtor to compare your home to similar nearby homes in order to price it to sell. But some homeowners place too much value on ultimately negligible differences between their home and the comps.

An agent in Atlanta has heard sellers make these statements: “My home has a 60-gallon hot water heater; every other home has 40. My deck is 60 feet larger. My den has real barn wood paneling.”

Small features like this might be worth pointing out to potential buyers, but they’re not going to make or break a deal—and trying to price your home based on the size of your deck is a setup for disappointment. Plus, you might not see the flaws in your home—your deck might be big, but it might also need work.

Your Realtor looks at all the features of your home from an objective point of view, primarily based upon how potential buyers may view it, and by a careful analysis of comps for homes similar to yours. Your idea of the ideal listing price will be based on emotion; an experienced Realtor will deliver a realistic, market-based suggested listing price.  Rely on his/her knowledge!

3. You’re too focused on your ROI

A house is an investment, and everyone wants a return on their investment. Couple that with emotional attachment, and you’re primed to mark up your home’s value.

“Sellers think that their house is worth what they want or need to sell it for, but the harsh reality is that a home is worth whatever a buyer is ready, willing, and able to pay for it,” states another real estate agent.

Even in a seller’s market, there’s no guarantee that you’ll make money on your house. And just because you need $450,000 to buy that house on Greener Pastures Lane doesn’t mean you can sell your house for the same amount.

4. You built it yourself, so you’re emotionally invested

Speaking of emotional attachments, if you built your home yourself, you might have some serious issues with overpricing your property.

Case in point: Ariel Dagan, an associate broker in New York City, co-listed a property for a woman who priced a townhouse she built herself at $18.5 million. Dagan’s team tried to get the woman to lower her price, but she was adamant about sticking with the high price tag and ultimately dropped Dagan and his team from the property.

“Shortly after we were dropped from the listing, the price dropped from $18.5 million to $16.9 million,” Dagan says. “Eight months later, the listing sold for $15.5 million—or 19.35% less than the original asking price.”

So, why does that happen? Dagan calls it the “Ikea effect.”

“Most people who buy furniture from Ikea and assemble it themselves think it’s more valuable than it really is, because they built it,” he explains. “Same thing happens in today’s real estate market.”

5. You’re imagining you’ll haggle

Perhaps the most common reason people overprice their home is because they’re looking to negotiate so they want to price their house 10% higher than it’s market value, fully expecting a buyer to offer a lowball offer which will net them the price they wanted all along.

It doesn’t work like that in today’s real estate market.  It’s better and smarter to price it right and create interest and demand where buyers are chasing you, versus you chasing the market backward [and] searching for the demand. Don’t be afraid to price your home fairly, or even underprice it—which is likely to attract buyers and boost the price to where it should be.  Every home sells when it’s priced right.

If you’re thinking of selling,  CLICK HERE TO LEARN YOUR SUGGESTED LISTING PRICE.   Your home may be worth more than you think, and I will provide you with an accurate estimate of your ideal listing price. Above all, do NOT rely on the generalized pricing estimates provided in the national real estate sites (Zillow, Trulia, etc.).


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Top 5 Home Staging Mistakes

Top 5 Home Staging Mistakes

Joanna Gaines of HGTV’s ‘Fixer Upper’ Reveals 5 Top Home-Staging Mistakes
Adaptation of original article authored by Judy Dutton| Realtor.com

Few home renovation reality show hosts are as enjoyable to watch as Chip and Joanna Gaines from HGTV’s “Fixer Upper.” As the show’s before-and-after pics make clear, they are an effective combo when it comes to transforming standard (read “blah”!) houses into gorgeous homes!

One of the keys to a successful home sale, says Jo, is home staging, where you arrange your furniture and décor in a way that entices buyers to make an offer. However, home staging is a highly misunderstood practice, one where home sellers can easily make missteps that can undermine these efforts.

Here, Jo reveals the top five home-staging mistakes she’s seen, so you’ll know to avoid them when selling your home.

Mistake No. 1: Purging all your family photos

“You’ll hear staging experts say to take down your family photos, kids’ artwork, and anything personal, so that a potential buyer can picture their family in your home, rather than seeing yours everywhere,” says Jo. “Personally, I love knowing that a house is well-loved, and seeing those personal touches displayed reminds me that my family would be happy there, too.”

Mistake No. 2: Including too much furniture

“Trying to put too much furniture in one space makes it look smaller than it really is,” Jo explains. “Try to stick with three large pieces at most per room to keep the house feeling big and open.”

BTW, the above photo features a basically lovely room, but crammed with furniture.  This room SCREAMS “Please stage me!”. It could easily be transformed into a stunning room!

Mistake No. 3: Not cleaning up

“It’s true that leaving your house a mess can keep a potential buyer from seeing how beautiful your space really is, so a quick cleaning blitz before a showing can do a lot of good,” says Jo. “When the house is clean, buyers can see you love your house—and know they will, too.”

Mistake No. 4: Stuffing clutter into closets

On the other hand, “if you’re scrambling to clean up when a real estate agent schedules a last-minute showing, don’t stuff your closets full of laundry, toys, odds, and ends,” says Jo. “Potential buyers will definitely want to know how much storage space your home has, so no closet will be safe for concealing messes. If you’re in a pinch, a last-ditch effort to hide a mess is under a bed.”

Mistake No. 5: Ignoring your home’s exterior


“Simple touches like making sure the lawn is freshly cut, power-washing the driveway, or putting a few freshly potted plants on the front porch can make a big impact,” says Jo. “It’s all about reminding them that your house is cared for, so they won’t worry that you’re also ignoring what they can’t see.

Call me if you’re thinking of selling your home this year and buying a new home.  I have many tips to assist you on both transactions and make the purchase and sale pleasant and rewarding!  You deserve a home that fits your lifestyle!


8 Easy Ways to Start A Neighborhood Crime Watch Program

Courtesy of Realtor.com | Adapted from an article by Kimberly Dawn Neumann

Everyone wants to live in a safe community and a great way to foster safety is to start a neighborhood watch program.

“Neighborhood watch programs are one of the most effective crime-prevention programs in the country,” says Justin Lavelle, a safety expert for BeenVerified, an online background check platform.

With that in mind, here are some tips for starting your own neighborhood watch.

1.  Get to know your neighbors

Next door and down the block, it’s good to become acquainted with your neighbors. Get outdoors and walk through your neighborhood.  Be friendly and greet others you meet.


Welcome new neighbors and organize an annual or semi-annual block party—it’s a great way to interact with and get to know your neighbors and build a solid community.

2.  Compile a neighborhood list

“We hold a party twice a year where we have an opt-in neighborhood list with email addresses and phone numbers,” says Andy Weisser of Woodland Hills, CA. “There are about 70 families, and people can post things like lost dogs, LAPD neighborhood watch summaries, and road resurfacing details.” Having an email chain is a great way to spread the word of any news that affects the neighborhood as a whole.

3.  Create a neighborhood safe-watch Facebook page

“Choose a social media–savvy neighbor to serve as the Facebook page moderator and ask residents to post any criminal incidences (such as home or car break-ins),” says Lavelle. Make the group private so personal information isn’t visible to those outside the neighborhood.

Once you create your official neighborhood watch Facebook page, it’s time to get the word out. “Canvass your neighborhood door to door, and invite everyone to follow the page to stay up to date on meetings and events,” says Lavelle. A simple postcard or flyer will help let everyone know your intentions for the program.

4.  Be on the lookout for out-of-the-ordinary occurrences

“Members of a community are in the best position to notice variances in the environment,” says psychologist Thomas Boyce, founder of the Center for Behavioral Safety in San Carlos, CA. “That is, neighbors typically know neighbors, and other people or things that look out of place can be addressed before they become problems.”

5.  Hold regular neighborhood watch meetings

Getting all of your neighbors together can be tricky due to scheduling, but it’s also one of the best ways to keep communication open.

“Plan meetings well in advance (e.g., monthly or quarterly) at a neighbor’s home or the local library, and offer a baby sitter—it will boost attendance,” suggests Lavelle. “These gatherings will keep everyone in the loop on current problems, plan strategies to combat criminal activities, and help residents get to know each other.

6.  Establish ‘safe homes’

Designate a handful of safe homes that children playing or walking home in your neighborhood can come to in case of an emergency.

It is ideal if the safe house belongs to someone who is retired or works from home. Make stickers for the front door or window, and make sure the kids in your neighborhood know which homes are safe zones.

7.  Limit door-to-door solicitation

Discourage door-to-door salespeople and other strangers from soliciting in your neighborhood. Lavelle notes that many burglars will use this method to case properties. This could be a good topic to bring up at a neighborhood meeting. Ask residents to put a small sign on their door that says “No Solicitation” to make it crystal-clear.

8.  Distribute a safety reminder sheet

People get busy and sometimes forget basic home safety practices. It’s a good idea to create and distribute a flyer with safety reminders like turning on exterior lights at night (a well-lit neighborhood makes crime less likely), locking cars that are parked on the street, and systematically checking that all your doors and windows are locked. And don’t forget to lock your garage doors at night.

I love to share important information for homeowners, and neighborhood safety is a top priority.  If you’re considering buying or selling a home, give me a call.  I have all the information you need on neighborhoods and values within these neighborhoods.


Got Pets? Tips for Selling Your Home for Pet Owners

Adapted from RE/MAX Blog

Lingering animal smells and fur can be a turn-off for potential buyers. Be sure to remove all signs of your furry friends before showings. Here are some tips:

  1. Holey backyard

Does your dog bury bones in the backyard?  Search the yard to find your pup’s landscaping efforts and fill them in.

  1. Scoop the poop

One misstep can ruin a buyer’s impression of your yard (and possibly home). Make sure your property is clear of any pet-related landmines.

  1. Mend fences

Check your fencing, deck, porch and exterior doors for any marks from scratching or chewing. Most can be erased with elbow grease and a bit of sandpaper, stain and paint.

  1. Stash the evidence

Collect your pet’s toys, bowls, beds and litter boxes and keep them out of sight.

  1. De-scents-itize

Ask your Realtor to sniff out any animal scents you may have become accustomed to. Light candles, use room fragrance plug-ins and hire a professional carpet cleaning crew to deodorize your home.

  1. Need a buffer?

If claws have scratched up your lovely hardwood floors, professional resurfacing is a good idea.

  1. Don’t leave pets home during showings

Not only is there a chance they may bolt through an open door when strangers stroll around, there’s also a liability issue. Find a neighbor who will petsit for an hour or so, or take your pet for a car ride to the ice cream shop!

If you’re looking for a home with a bigger yard for Fido, call me at 682.551.0336.  I can help you find homes with the features all members of your family will love.

Inexpensive Landscaping Ideas

adapted from Realtor.com, author Daniel Bortz

A home with a gorgeous yard is not only a source of pride and enjoyment to the homeowner, but will help your home sell for more if you decide to put it on the market.  A beautiful lawn and plantings will create an awesome first impression to a prospective buyer.  Using a professional landscaper to get your yard in top-notch condition can be expensive, but here are several inexpensive ideas for DIY landscaping

  1. Show your lawn a little TLC

    While overgrown plants and weeds can make a home look run-down, a well-manicured lawn signals to prospective buyers that the house is maintained well inside. So start by cutting the grass, trimming shrubs, and pruning hedges. Finish off by applying a weed killer for both the lawn and planting beds.

  2. Install drought-tolerant plants

    One of the hottest trends in residential landscaping, and so practical for north Texas yards, is sustainable design (i.e., one that requires low maintenance and less water).

    Since we live in an area with hot summers and little rain, check out the internet for suggestions on plants that thrive in hot, dry conditions. You’ll be surprised at how many there are!  By using drought-resistant plants, you’ll enjoy less maintenance of your yard and create a nice selling point to buyers.

  3. Use mulch

    Laying down fresh mulch in a flowerbed and around the base of trees can make a yard instantly more appealing. Not only does this layer of bark and compost enrich the soil and retain moisture, it also looks nice. It’s a relatively small investment for a big impact in the appearance of your yard.

    Some cities offer free mulch to residents, so check with your municipal office to see if there is a program available in your area.

  4. Buy plants in bulk

    You don’t need a wide array of foliage to make your landscaping shine.  Instead, select just a few varieties and buy in bulk to save money.

  5. Brighten up outdoor lighting

    Be mindful of how your home’s exterior appears at night. You don’t need an elaborate exterior lighting display, but a few strategically-placed foundation and bedding lights can do wonders. Your home will welcome you when you return at night, and exterior lighting is also a great deterrent to burglars.

  6. Hire a landscaper … for free

    For DIY landscaping, you don’t need to consult with a landscape architect. Both Home Depot and Lowe’s, as well as many local garden centers, provide landscaping consultations for free or for a small fee if you buy plants from them. You may not need to pay a penny to get expert landscaping advice from a professional.

  7. And finally…

    Working together in the yard is a hot and dirty job, but oh-so-gratifying at the end of the day. It may even bring out your playful side!

If you have some DIY landscaping tips of your own, please Comment!


Dallas Morning News Reports the DFW Housing Market is “Blazing Hot”!

Adapted from Dallas Morning News, author Steve Brown Real Estate Editor


Spring has just sprung but it’s already blazing hot in Dallas’ housing market.

The Dallas-Fort Worth area once again is on the list of Realtor.com’s hottest U.S. home markets where the most people are shopping for homes.


“Calendars might say spring is only a week old, but we’re already in the thick of the most frenzied spring home buying season on record,” Realtor.com research manager Javier Vivas said in the marketing website’s March report. “The median days on market for homes on Realtor.com in March saw the biggest drop since the end of the recession, and half of homes are now selling in less than 69 days nationally.

In Dallas-Fort Worth during March, it took only 38 days on average to sell a house listed for sale with property agents.

Realtor.com said the usually strong spring housing surge around the country is coming about a month earlier than usual.

In March, the nationwide median home list prices rose above $250,000 for the first time to $260,000 — 8 percent higher than a year earlier.

North Texas median home sales prices during the first two months of the year shot up 14% compared with the same period in 2016 and are at an all-time high.

I know EXACTLY what’s happening in the Arlington area housing market, and I’m poised to put my knowledge to work for you!  If you’re thinking about a new home this year, the time to make that move is NOW!


 

Sellers Discuss Their Mistakes & Regrets

Adapted from an article authored by Jennifer O’Neill , Realtor.com

Homeowners who’ve successfully sold their home often look back and wish they’d done certain things differently.

Author Ms O’Neill recently interviewed some real-life sellers to tell their stories so you can learn from their mistakes! Read this rueful list of home sellers’ biggest regrets, and remember them when you decide to place your own home on the market.

Take the time to put your home in top-notch condition

Regret No. 1: Not fully preparing your home for marketing

Serious about selling your home? Three phrases apply: Fix it up!  Freshen it up! And Clean, Clean, Clean it up!

One seller reports: “I didn’t spend enough time prepping our house for sale—purging, staging, or doing small repair projects. And I regret not planning ahead or getting real about what had to be done, and it ended up costing me precious time and money.”

Regret No. 2: Skipping the staging

It’s easy to see how staging impresses a buyer!

“I really regret not paying the money to stage my home right off the bat,” confesses a Chicago seller.

“The money that it cost us owning the home longer was far more than the price it eventually cost to stage it.” That jibes with the stats on staging–professionally staged properties spend 73% less time on the market.

Regret No. 3: Jumping at the first offer

Antsy to exit her condominium, another couple acted with their hearts rather than their heads. More than a year later, she regrets it.

“We were so anxious to move, we accepted the first offer before it even went on the market,” she confesses. “We went for it because we thought it was quick and easy, but I’m we would have gotten much more if we’d just taken a breath and let the market find our house.”

Regret No. 4: Caving to a buyer’s whims

Sellers often learn the hard way that it doesn’t pay to bend over backward for a demanding buyer.

“Our buyer was really difficult and wanted us to give on so many items,” another seller reports. “We also agreed to give the buyer money toward updating the roof so we were very frustrated on the day of closing when he wanted even more.”

That seller stood firm, and after a few hitches, the sale continued–thanks to an agreement between the two participating Realtors to appease the buyer by reducing their commission. This was a last-ditch effort to save the entire transaction from falling apart, but it is seldom done.

Regret No. 5: Expecting your new buyer to love your house

If your hope is that your buyer will maintain and lovingly care for your old house as you did, you may be in for a huge disappointment. You have an emotional attachment to your old home and may feel a twinge of resentment if you find that the new owners don’t love the house as you did.

If you encounter this situation, your best approach is to concentrate on your NEW home. You moved for a reason!  Rejoice in that new home!  Resist the urge to drive by your old house—relegate it to your fondest memories, but recognize it was in the past.  Although you have an emotional pull, remember that the sale of your home was a business decision with a successful ending.

Regret No. 6: Trying to sell without an agent

This sign is an open invitation to strangers to get inside your home. Do NOT take the risk.

You may be tempted to sell your home by yourself. There are many valid reasons this is not the correct approach.  To maximize your profit and get your home sold in a timely manner, while keeping the transaction legal and your rights protected, you need to work with an experienced agent.  Laura has addressed this topic on her website, and she invites you to read her article “Why Do I Need an Agent to Sell My House?

If you are planning to sell your home and buy a new one that better fits your lifestyle, please contact me, Laura Van Meter. I will guide you through all these steps and create a smooth and successful transaction.  I’ll save you time, reduce stress, and maximize your profits!