Posted by Philip Dennesen on 2/19/2021

Two of the most important ingredients in a successful house-marketing campaign are competitive pricing and making a great first impression on prospective buyers. Although your real estate agent can assist in achieving both of those goals, keeping your home in "show ready" condition will be up to you and your family.

When your home is actively being shown, the process is not unlike a job interview. The main similarity is that you don't get a second chance to make a good first impression. Potential buyers have a mindset that's similar to that of a hiring manager: They are intensely focused on making the right decision. Since the last thing they want to do is make the wrong choice (or a less-than-optimal choice) it's up to you -- the home seller-- to present your home in its best possible light.

Other than keeping your home squeaky clean and your lawn looking as manicured as possible, it's also to your benefit to reduce clutter. A house that's filled with clutter will definitely send the wrong message to prospective buyers searching for their next home. Clutter takes many forms, so it often requires a concerted effort to identify and remedy it. Here are a few key areas to focus on:

Furniture clutter: Having too much furniture in a room or entryway can give visitors the impression that your home is cramped, too small, or disorganized. If you've had a tendency to add furniture to your home, over time -- without putting some pieces in storage -- then you may have inadvertently created a cluttered "look and feel" to your living space

Surface clutter: Have you ever noticed how things that belong in drawers, cabinets, and recycling bins often end up on tables, counter tops, and bookshelves? If that's taking place in your home, rest assured you're not alone! However, if you're preparing to put your home on the market, you'll make a much better impression on potential buyers if you remove as much surface clutter as possible.

Storage-area clutter: Although there's a lot of truth to the saying "Out of sight, out of mind," that usually doesn't apply to preparing your home for the real estate market! Serious house hunters are pretty thorough, and are generally going to glance in closets, basements, attics, and garages. So if you simply move your clutter to another part of the house, it will still be noticed! Granted, your clutter will be less prominent in storage areas, but it will still have a detracting effect on the overall impression your home makes. The solution involves a combination of strategies, including selling or donating unwanted belongings. In some cases, you might even consider renting a dumpster or calling a reasonably priced junk-hauling service to get rid of things you don't want and can't donate, sell, or give away.

It's not always easy to be objective when staging your home or evaluating its marketability, so an experienced real estate agent can provide you with invaluable guidance, advice, negotiating help, and marketing assistance





Posted by Philip Dennesen on 1/15/2021

Let's face it – selling a home in a buyer's market is far from ideal. In this scenario, a home seller likely will compete with many property sellers to promote his or her residence. And despite a home seller's best efforts, there are no guarantees that he or she will be able to maximize the value of a residence.

A buyer's market often is a dream come true for property buyers and a worst nightmare for property sellers. Lucky for you, we're here to help you navigate a buyer's market and ensure you can get the best price for your home.

Now, let's take a look at three tips that every home seller who is operating in a buyer's market needs to know.

1. Complete a Home Appraisal

A home appraisal offers a valuable opportunity for a home seller because it enables this individual to identify a property's strengths and weaknesses. That way, a home seller can find the best ways to enhance a residence and help it stand out from other available properties.

Typically, a home appraiser will inspect a residence both inside and out. After the evaluation is completed, the home appraiser will provide a home seller with a report that describes problem areas that were identified during the assessment.

A home appraisal report can make a world of difference for a home seller, particularly in a buyer's market. With this report in hand, a home seller can work toward enhancing a house's interior and exterior.

2. Establish a Competitive Price for Your Residence

What you paid for your home a few years is unlikely to match the value of your house today. Meanwhile, a home seller should set a competitive price for a residence to ensure that his or her house stirs up plenty of interest from homebuyers.

To determine a competitive price, examine the prices of comparable homes that are currently available in your area. This will help you establish a price range for houses similar to your own.

Furthermore, check out the prices of recently sold homes in your city or town. This housing market data can help you make an informed decision about how to price your residence.

3. Work with an Experienced Real Estate Agent

An experienced real estate agent is unafraid to list a home in a buyer's market. In fact, this housing market professional knows exactly what it takes to sell a residence in any real estate market, at any time.

Thanks to an experienced real estate agent, you can streamline the home selling process. This real estate professional will showcase your house to the right groups of property buyers consistently. He or she also will set up home showings and open houses, negotiate with property buyers on your behalf and do everything possible to help you optimize the value of your residence.

Take the guesswork out of selling a home in a buyer's market. Use these tips, and you can keep things simple as you sell your residence.





Posted by Philip Dennesen on 1/1/2021

If you want to sell a house in a buyer's market, it pays to allocate the necessary time and resources to differentiate your home listing from others. Because if you create an informative and engaging home listing, you should have no trouble stirring up interest in your residence, even in a buyer's market.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you differentiate your home listing in a buyer's market.

1. Consider the Buyer's Perspective

In a buyer's market, a homebuyer has no shortage of high-quality residences at his or her disposal. As such, you'll want to consider how a buyer may approach your residence and tailor your house listing accordingly.

Think about what led you to purchase your residence in the first place. Then, you can create a home listing that highlights your house's distinct features.

For example, if your home boasts a large, luxurious in-ground swimming pool, you may want to include details about it in your home listing. Or, if your house is located just minutes from many popular attractions, you may want to incorporate this information into your house listing.

2. Be Honest with Buyers

Your goal as a home seller is to craft a house listing that showcases your residence's features. At the same time, you'll want to be honest with buyers to help them make an informed decision about whether to pursue your home.

A detailed home listing that includes accurate information about your house is paramount. Because if your listing is misleading or inaccurate, it may cause problems down the line.

Remember, any problems with a house likely will be identified during a home inspection, a key step in the homebuying process. And if you try to hide these issues, it may slow down or stop a home sale from happening. Conversely, if you are honest with buyers from the beginning, you can make it easy for them to determine whether your residence is the right choice.

3. Consult with a Real Estate Agent

A buyer's market can be tough to navigate, regardless of where you live. Luckily, real estate agents are available to assist sellers in any buyer's market, at any time.

With a real estate agent at your side, you can craft a home listing that hits the mark with the right groups of homebuyers. In fact, a real estate agent will guide you along the home selling journey and help you identify and address any hurdles along the way.

Typically, a real estate agent will learn about your home selling goals. This housing market professional then can help you put together an in-depth home listing that highlights the key features of your house. Perhaps best of all, a real estate agent will share this home listing with dozens of buyers, thereby increasing the likelihood of a quick, profitable home sale.

Ready to list your house in a buyer's market? Use the aforementioned tips, and you can create a top-notch home listing that helps your residence stand out from the competition.





Posted by Philip Dennesen on 12/25/2020

Image by Sue Smith from Shutterstock

House owners frequently remodel, upgrade, or otherwise make changes in their homes for which they do not secure a permit. While some changes do not require permitting, others do. The challenge comes when you attempt to sell the home. You may run into a problem when a buyer makes an offer on such a property, and their inspector discovers unpermitted changes. Their mortgage lender may be unwilling to give them a loan until you remedy the permit issue.

Additionally, since building codes often change from year to year and certainly from decade to decade, and the property may have changed hands more than once before it came to you. Even if the upgrade occurred before you purchased it, you might be the one responsible for fixing it with your municipality.

What can you do? When you believe your home has unpermitted construction, learn as much as you can about it:

  • When did installation take place? Before you took ownership of the house? After? 

  • What is the construction? A pergola? A sunroom? That necessary second bathroom?

  • In the year or era of construction, was a permit required? Is there a permit in place of which you're not aware?

  • Can it be grandfathered?

What is “Grandfathering”?

The term “grandfather clause” refers to an exception to a code, restriction, or legal requirement. It allows anything already done legally “at the time” to continue even if a new limitation would not allow it. Regarding unpermitted home upgrades, if the construction was before the change in the code, check to see if the code requires retroactive compliance. In that case, exceptions typically pose a danger to anyone living in the home or on the property and need remediation. When code changes do not require retroactive compliance, knowing the date of the construction puts you in the clear.

Retroactive Permitting

When you discover retrofits, additions, upgrades, or renovations in your home, search city or county records for a permit. Ask for help to see if that type of work in the year(s) of its completion required one. If it needed a permit, and you do not find one in place, either request a retroactive authorization or plan to sell your home "as is" to a willing buyer. Municipalities often have methods in place to offer retroactive permits. Check to determine the total cost of the permitting process. In addition to the permit fee, you may have to pay fines, inspections, and other fees. Any modifications required because of the permitting process become your responsibility. When the total cost of obtaining retroactive permits and related fees and construction costs is higher than the return on your investment, consider the “as is” process.

Selling Your Home "As Is"

When you choose to sell your property "as is," you no longer need to disclose to the municipal building department that you may have unpermitted construction. Until you are sure you want to request a retroactive permit, do not disclose information when you communicate with building code offices that might trigger an inspection. 

In the selling process, however, fully disclose to your real estate agent all items you know about for certain. That is, tell them about additions or upgrades you installed while in ownership. Make sure a sale is not delayed or falls through because a lender requires a permit. Have an appropriate "as is" clause written into the sales contract. 

Confer with your real estate agent to determine if seeking a permit is in your best interested when selling with unpermitted additions.





Posted by Philip Dennesen on 10/30/2020

Looking to add your home to the real estate market sooner rather than later? Ultimately, you'll want to look beyond the potential price of your residence as you get your house ready for the real estate market.

For home sellers, price is one of several factors to consider before they list their houses. In fact, some of the top home selling factors to evaluate beyond price include:

1. A Home's Location

A home's location may dictate how quickly you're able to sell your residence. And if you understand the benefits associated with your house's location, you should have no trouble promoting your residence to the right groups of homebuyers consistently.

For example, a home that is located near a big city may prove to be an ideal choice for those who work in the city. On the other hand, a house that is located near top schools could prove to be an ideal option for families.

2. A Home's Condition

Although you've tried to maintain your house's interior and exterior over the years, you may still be uncertain about how your residence will stack up against other houses in a competitive real estate market.

Fortunately, a home appraisal can help you take an in-depth look at your house's condition and map out your home selling journey.

During a home appraisal, a property inspector will examine your residence. The appraisal may take several hours to complete, as a property inspector will investigate your house's interior and exterior.

When a home appraisal is finished, a property inspector will provide you with a detailed report that describes his or her findings. Then, you can use the home insights contained within this report to prioritize myriad home improvements.

With a home appraisal, you can gain deep insights into your house's condition. That way, you can better understand your house's strengths and weaknesses prior to adding your home to the housing market.

3. The Current State of the Housing Market

The current state of the housing market may impact your ability to sell your house, and for good reason.

For instance, if you're operating in a seller's market, there may be an abundance of homebuyers and a shortage of top-notch houses. This means there will be high demand for the best residences, and you may attract plenty of interest in your house as soon as it becomes available.

Let's not forget about a buyer's market, either. In a buyer's market, there are many home sellers and few homebuyers. Therefore, a home seller may need to allocate significant time and resources to stir up interest in his or her property.

For those who are unsure about how to navigate a seller's or buyer's market, hiring a real estate agent usually is an excellent idea. A real estate agent can teach you about the current state of the housing market so that you can get the best results possible during the home selling journey.

Look beyond price before you list your residence, and by doing so, you can boost your chances of a fast home sale.