Sellers Can Hurt Their Sale: 5 Ways This Happens

Sellers Can Hurt Their Sale: 5 Ways This Happens

I have seen many ways sellers can hurt their sale. As a real estate agent representing both buyers and sellers, you start to see a pattern of the same issues coming up. Sometimes certain issues are unavoidable, but it is undeniable: sellers can hurt their sale, even if they don’t realize what they are doing is having a negative impact on the sale of their home. It doesn’t matter whether the damage is done before the house is under contract or after, these situations can still affect the sale of the home in a negative way. Let’s discuss some of these issues.

1. Not Trusting Their Agent

This one creates an interesting dilemma, a homeowner who hires a real estate agent to assist with the sale of their home has already decided that the agent is an expert in their field. Sellers can hurt their sale by not considering the advice of their agent when it comes to pricing strategy, staging, and marketing.

2. Overpricing Their Home

Many home sellers can hurt their sale by insisting on overpricing their home because they have to sell it for a certain amount. The key thing to remember here is that the price a seller wants to sell their home will not determine its value for a buyer or for the ultimate judge on the value of a home, the appraiser. Many home sellers have asked me to list the home at the higher price just for a short time to test the market. This is not a good strategy because a listing typically gets more interest from the market in the first three to four weeks. If the home is overpriced, most buyers will skip over it in favor of more realistically priced options.

3. Not Thinking Like a Buyer

Sellers must think like buyers in order to be successful at selling their home. A buyer will compare all of the homes that are in their price range, location they want, in the condition they want, and have the features they want. A seller’s home has to become the most attractive option to the buyer; if it is, the seller will receive an offer.

4. Insisting on Being Present for All Showings

Sellers can hurt their sale by doing this and they don’t even realize it. Sometimes their agent may be too polite to tell them to leave their own home, or the seller may think no one could possibly know their home better than they do. This can cause so many problems that it should be an article by itself. A seller doing this can negatively affect their negotiating power, keeps their agent out of the communication loop, and could open them up for legal liability.

5. Not Maintaining Their Home

Any home will eventually sell, but if a seller wants to maximize their profits from the investment in their home, they must maintain it properly. Even small things can have a larger negative impact with the buyer. When a buyer notices a minor problem they immediately ask themselves, what else have they not taken care of. Usually buyers will want more of a discount on the price of the house than what it would cost to take care of the issue. Not every home has to be in perfect condition to sell for top dollar, but it certainly does help.

Home Showings: 9 Common Things Sellers Overlook

Home Showings: 9 Common Things Sellers Overlook

First impressions matter when you’re trying to sell your home, so you need to make sure your showings start off on the right foot. Here are nine things that homeowners tend to overlook when getting their homes ready for prospective buyers.

If you’re selling your home, you should never underestimate the importance of a showing. Showings are an opportunity to sell your home, and if you want to make a great first impression, it’s crucial that you take them seriously by preparing for each and every one.

Most people try to make sure that their homes are neat and tidy before anyone sets foot inside, but there are many things that sellers tend to overlook that buyers notice immediately. Here are nine things you shouldn’t forget to do when getting ready to show your home to new people.

  1. Clean the threshold. Don’t forget to thoroughly remove all dirt, dust, and debris from the entryway of your home. Buyers are going to look closer than you think, and they will see any spots that you missed. If your threshold is dirty, it has the potential to make buyers think that the rest of your home is dirty, too.
  2. Clean or paint your doors. After several years of continuous use, doors can (and will) become dirty, faded, or chipped. Take an extra minute to wash down the doors or consider repainting them before you list your home. A new coat of paint can make an old door look brand new.
  3. Check for spider webs. Check every corner in your home for spider webs and dust that has accumulated on them. Sometimes homeowners only pay attention to the entryway corners, but buyers look at everything.
  4. Wipe off your light plates. Every time you turn a light on or off in your home, you add a bit of grease and dirt to the light plate. After a while, that dirt can build up and become visible. You might not notice it, but people who are unfamiliar with a surface are more likely to give it a second glance before touching it.
  5. Don’t neglect curb appeal. Good curb appeal is crucial to any listing, but sometimes people think it’s better to focus only on the interior of the home. Studies have shown that curb appeal can boost a home’s value by 12 percent, so do not ignore it. The exterior will give buyers a first impression of your home, and it does matter.
  6. Replace burned out light bulbs. There’s a high chance that buyers will try every light switch they come across. While a burned out bulb doesn’t seem like a huge problem, it could limit the amount of light in a room, which can make the space seem smaller.
  7. Pay attention to odd smells. You might be accustomed to your home’s odors, but buyers will not be. A light air freshener or an open window can go a long way. Store old shoes, take out the trash, and get rid of anything else that could potentially give off a smell.
  8. Wash your windows. There might be more dirt on your windows than you realize, which impacts the amount of natural light that can get in. More light tends to make rooms look bigger, so give your windows a good scrubbing.
  9. Make sure that your doorbell works. A doorbell can be a hassle to replace, and if a buyer starts the showing thinking about things they’re going to have to repair, they’re more likely to view the home in a negative light.

The easiest way to catch anything you might miss during showings is to ask a friend or family member to do an unbiased walk-through of your home. Ask them to write down any things that they notice, and then review that list after they’ve seen everything. Fresh eyes can make a huge difference.

Staging for Success: Advice to Help Your Home Sell Faster

Staging for Success: Advice to Help Your Home Sell Faster

To sell your home quickly, you must stage it in a way that showcases its strengths and make spaces attractive to prospective buyers. In honor of Coldwell Banker Home Staging Week, we asked some of our top agents to share their staging best practices, tips and tricks. Here’s what they had to say!

We’ve all heard the adage that it is important to make a great first impression, and the same is true for your home when opening the doors to potential buyers.

While you may have decorated your home in a stylish and comfortable manner, prospective buyers may have a different eye for design. In order for your home to seem attractive to buyers, they must be able to see the space as a semi-blank canvas so they can mentally apply their own style and design to each room. Only then will they be able to picture themselves living there, making them more likely to want to make an offer.

We asked some of our Coldwell Banker-affiliated agents and brokers around the country to lend some staging tips and tricks, and most agreed on the following best practices:

Showcase your strengths:

“Staging is incredibly important because it helps showcase aspects of the home. For example, if a home has a newly installed granite countertop in the kitchen, one should simply put fresh flowers on the counter to highlight it.” – Danielle Moy, Broker Associate, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Orland Park, Illinois

“Staging is as much about ‘editing’ as it is about rearranging furniture. Editing means you can see the space in the best possible way, and not just the stuff within that space.” – Cara Ameer, Broker Associate, Coldwell Banker Vanguard Realty, Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida

Cut the clutter and pay attention to detail:

“Less is more when it comes to staging. Declutter and pack away any items that aren’t necessary for daily living. It’s all in the details – scale back the amount of items on shelves and make sure all lamps have working light bulbs. Lighting is important to making a space seem more open and inviting” – Renae Voda, Sales Consultant, Coldwell Banker Barnes, Franklin, Tennessee

“Don’t forget to organize and declutter closets and cabinets – buyers will peek in there! You don’t want to give the impression that there isn’t enough storage space by keeping those areas packed with items.” – Angel Piontek, Realtor Associate, Coldwell Banker Edite, Fredericksburg, Virginia

Save some pennies:

Jessica Edwards Quote

“You don’t have to hire an expensive staging company to completely redesign your home! Move furniture, change shower curtains, hang clean towels and remove rugs to expose hardwood floors.  Add new throw pillows to couches and beds to freshen up the area!” – Jessica Riffle Edwards, Previews Property Specialist, Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Advantage, Wilmington, North Carolina

“A few cans of paint and fresh carpet are affordable upgrades that can make a home stand out without much of an investment.” – Chris McDonnell, Broker, Coldwell Banker Distinctive Properties, Vail, Colorado

5 Expert Tips for Cleaning Your Windows

Cleaning your windows right means more time spent enjoying the beautiful views and fresh air they provide. Andersen Windows shares 5 tips for the best results!

Brought to you by Andersen Windows

Nothing feels as good as spring cleaning. After a season spent mostly indoors, the chance to clear out closets, refresh seasonal accessories and tackle the occasional cleaning projects feels like a rediscovery of everything you love about your home.

Cleaning windows is one project that brings fresh light into an interior space. Here are a few things to remember when preparing to clean your windows:

  1. Avoid cleaning in direct sunlight. If you can, pick an overcast day to clean your window glass. The muted light is perfect for catching any streaks before they dry.
  2. Know your glass type. Some windows have a special coating to help with energy performance or filtering UV rays, which can be harmed by some cleaners. For Andersen Windows, we recommend checking out this guide, which helps you identify your glass type and which cleaners to use – or avoid – for best results.
  3. Remember to clean the insect screens, too. They are part of your window system and get the same exposure to the elements as the rest of the window. Simply remove the screen unit from the window and place on clean flat surface. A solution of water with mild detergent is all you need: apply with a soft cloth, rinse, and dry with a towel. That’s it!
  4. Check the window hardware. Dust can accumulate in tiny corners; sticky fingers can leave behind residue. A soft cloth with mild detergent can wash away just about anything. For metallic finishes, use a cleanser rated for the metal.
  5. Wipe debris from the sill. A clean windowsill can boost your window’s performance, allowing for a tighter seal and truer fit.

In most regions, homeowners may only need to clean their windows a few times per year. However, some coastal areas, industrial areas or agricultural areas that may contain high amounts of airborne particles may need to be cleaned more frequently.

Taking time to clean your windows right means more time spent enjoying the beautiful views and fresh air they provide for many months to come!

 

What’s in a Name? Defining the Smart Home

What’s in a Name? Defining the Smart Home

As smart home technology enters the mainstream, both sales associates and consumers have asked themselves what truly constitutes a home that is smart. Coldwell Banker and CNET have joined forces to put the debate to rest and truly define the modern Smart Home.

What is a smart home? Ten years ago, the concept of a smart home conjured up images of the Jetsons. Even five years ago the smart home was only for the luxury homeowner. But today, with hundreds of connected home products on the shelves and new innovations hitting the market daily, it begs the question – what is a smart home, really?

That’s why Coldwell Banker and CNET, the world’s largest and most trusted online source of consumer technology news and reviews, collaborated to create the first-ever smart home definition to help real estate sales associates, as well as home buyers and sellers, accurately pinpoint and describe a smart home.

So is your home smart enough to be at the top of its class? Check out the full smart home definition below and see for yourself!

“Smart home: A home that is equipped with network-connected products (aka “smart products,” connected via Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or similar protocols) for controlling, automating and optimizing functions such as temperature, lighting, security, safety or entertainment, either remotely by a phone, tablet, computer or a separate system within the home itself.”

In order to be categorized as a smart home, the property must have a smart security feature that either controls access or monitors the property or a smart temperature feature, as well as two  others from a varied list, in addition to a reliable Internet connection. The definition is outlined below:

Must Have

Category Examples
Internet Connection Cable, satellite or DSL

 

Must Have At Least Three

*One of the categories must be security or temperature

Category Examples
Appliances Smart refrigerators, smart washer / dryers
Entertainment Smart TVs, TV streaming service
Heating / Cooling Smart HVAC system, smart fans or vents
Lighting Smart light bulbs, lighting systems
Outdoors Smart Plant sensors, smart watering systems
Safety Smart fire / carbon monoxide detectors, nightlights
Security* Smart locks, networked security cameras
Temperature* Smart thermostats

 

We already know that over the past couple of years, demand has increased significantly for smart homes in the real estate market. This standardized definition gives us an opportunity to pinpoint exactly what constitutes a smart home for buyers and sellers, so that they can make informed decisions.

8 Ways to Outsmart the Weather In A Smart Home

8 Ways to Outsmart the Weather In A Smart Home

Do more to combat and prepare for the weather–rain, shine, snow–than you thought possible.

You can’t control the weather (yet!) but these smart home devices make sure you’re never caught off guard.

1) Track the Weather Like Never Before

Ambient Weather WS-1400-IP OBSERVER Solar Powered Wireless Internet Remote Monitoring Weather Station

Don’t get left out in the rain with another meteorologist predicting “scattered showers” again. The Ambient Weather WS-1400-IP Observer gives you precise forecasts about the weather brewing in your exact location, so you don’t have to guess. Its solar-powered wireless sensor reads the temperature, rainfall, humidity, wind speed and direction, and UV and solar radiation–giving you all the information you need to track weather patterns like a pro.

2) Get Sprinklers That Know When It Is Sprinkling

Conserve water with smart sprinkler controllers like Rachio. These systems monitor local weather patterns and adjust your watering schedule to suit the conditions. They’ll switch off automatically when rain is in the forecast, and for those of us who live in drier areas, these systems turn up the water when you can’t count on the rain. Headed out of town? Make changes and control your sprinklers from a web browser or a smartphone app while you’re away.

3) Keep a Better Eye on Your Pipes

Winter brings every homeowner the fear of frozen pipes. But you’ll sleep better knowing the Lyric Wi-Fi Leak & Freeze Detector is monitoring things. Its detector connects to WiFi and sends an alert to your phone when frozen pipes, leaks or excessive levels of humidity are threatening you with a lot of hassle–and expense.

4) Monitor Your Home’s Air From Anywhere

With winter comes dry air and the flu bug. The Holmes® Smart Humidifier with WeMo® keeps your home’s air clean and breathable effortlessly. It’s WeMo enabled, so you can check and adjust the humidity levels from a smartphone app before you even get home. Set a schedule, and when the humidifier is out of water or needs a new filter, the app sends you an alert and makes it easy to reorder the right accessory online.

5) Sleep in a Bed That’s Just Right, No Matter the Season

Designed to personalize and improve sleep, the Eight smart mattress cover warms your bed when it’s cold and can adjust the thermostat to keep you cool when it’s hot. Set your prefered temperature in the smartphone app, connect Eight to your favorite activity tracker and thermostat, and watch your sleep improve. With more than a dozen sensors, it monitors your sleep for things such as humidity, temperature, ambient light, and noise to determine what will improve your sleep. Wake up well rested, with a detailed report to prove it.

6) Stay Cool with Fans That Know How You Feel

You might not notice how smart the Haiku L Series Fan is at first. You’ll probably just think, “Wow, that’s a good looking fan.” But it has brains, too! It knows when you enter the room and adjusts to your preferred temperature by syncing with your Nest Learning Thermostat. Feeling warmer than usual? This fan also integrates with the Amazon Echo smart speaker so you can give it commands until you’re feeling just right.

7) Turn Over Lawn Chores to Your Smart Mower 

When it starts heating up, don’t break a sweat mowing the lawn. Like a Roomba for your backyard, the Robomow Robotic Lawn Mower is controlled by a smartphone app. Drive it via remote or let it work independently while you recline in the shade with a lemonade. Its heavy-duty steel blades, wide cutting widths, unique edging mode, built-in safety features, and remote diagnostics make a much better mower than you ever were.

8. Come Home to Ice Cream on A Hot Day

The Breville Smart Scoop Ice Cream Maker serves up dessert in less than an hour. While most ice-cream makers require you to freeze a mixing container overnight, this bad boy’s built-in compressor cools things off quickly instead of keeping you waiting. The Smart Scoop is easy to use, and has a dozen automatic hardness settings for everything from super soft to extra-firm ice cream. Watch the deliciousness in action through the clear lid on the top of the tank. The Smart Scoop will even keep the ice cream ready for up to three hours, assuming it lasts that long.

5 Common Closing Day Surprises and How to Deal

5 Common Closing Day Surprises and How to Deal

Sharing from Realtor.com

walk through

picturegarden/Getty Image

I was thrilled when the sellers accepted my offer on a tear-down lot in McLean, VA, the perfect place to build my own “Downton Abbey”–style manor. And the deal went forward without a hitch—that is, until closing day.

Soon after I arrived at the title company’s office on the big day, my real estate agent sheepishly handed me a set of 40-year-old covenants that restricted what I could build on the site. Looking back, I know that I should have smiled politely at the six people gathered and suggested we reconvene later after I’d studied this giant wrench in my plans. But I didn’t want to inconvenience everyone, so I closed the deal.

It was an agita-inducing mistake. Even though those covenants didn’t derail my dream home’s construction, they caused me constant anxiety.

This is not just a concern for those building a home from scratch: For many home buyers, closing day is daunting, and coping with last-minute surprises can be tricky. Some problems are minor and easy to solve; others can wreck a deal. So which are which? Let’s take a look.

Ugly walk-through revelations

The dreaded walk-through is the top reason for surprises on closing day, and for good reason: This final inspection of the home happens the day before your settlement—or even the morning of—so there’s little time to prepare for whatever problems might pop up.

Who knows? A sudden storm could have poured water into the basement, or now that the furniture is all gone, cracks in walls or other flaws may be exposed.

How bad is it? If the problem is serious, like flooding, you should definitely proceed with caution. To avoid this snafu, make sure to inspect a home as thoroughly as possible before your final walk-through to avoid last-minute surprises.

Don’t be shy about asking for another look-see after a big storm to vet for dampness or flooding. But a last-minute discovery of a problem is not necessarily a deal breaker. Just ask the seller to cover the cost of those repairs, and put the funds in escrow. Be sure to come with estimates from professionals on how much those fix-its will cost.

What stays, what goes

Another common issue that crops up during the walk-through is misunderstandings about which items get transferred with the sale. For instance, maybe you loved the seller’s antique stove, ceiling fan, or other household item and assumed it would stay—but you find out the sellers took it with them.

How bad is it? Unless you’re really attached to the item, you may want to let this one slide if you want this deal to go through. The easiest way to avoid these misunderstandings is to delineate in a contract what remains in the house or must be moved out, says Ben Niernberg, executive vice president of business development at Northbrook, IL–based Proper Title, LLC.

“Be very detailed on what’s staying and going,” he says. “Washer, dryer, ceiling fans, fixtures, appliances—be diligent during your initial inspection.” Also, make sure the contract reflects your expectations.

Credit challenges

Even though you were probably approved for a mortgage a month or so earlier, even small changes in your financial picture since then can affect your credit score and create problems up to the moment you close on the property. Changing jobs, applying for a credit card, falling behind in paying bills, even sudden infusions of cash can red-flag your deal.

How bad is it? Pretty bad. If a lender withdraws the offer, you won’t be able to close until you secure another mortgage, which could take weeks. Or, if the lender wants to increase your interest rate, as it usually does in these situations, then you’ll have to decide if you can still afford the purchase.

To head this issue off at the pass, contact your lender the day before closing to discuss and solve any issues that may have turned up. Also, try to avoid making any sudden financial moves in the weeks leading up to the close, like quitting your job or receiving a $10,000 “gift” from a family member to help out with home buying—that could, ironically, throw a wrench into the process.

Money transfer misunderstandings

On closing day, the chief order of business is to transfer funds. Some financial institutions and title companies prefer cashier’s or certified checks; others want funds to be transferred electronically. Show up with the wrong paperwork or account numbers, and you’ll be left scrambling.

How bad is it? This misunderstanding should be nothing more than a speed bump. To avoid it, ask your agent and lender before closing what form of payment is required. Also bring your checkbook to pay for small items that might crop up, like an unpaid electric bill.

Title trouble

A title company—which confirms details about your property such as past ownership, liens, and the aforementioned covenants—could bring up issues on closing day. If that happens to you, don’t be afraid to step back and insist on taking time to digest any details, problems, or stipulations attached to the property.

How bad is it? It depends on what the search turns up. Some problems, like tax liens or a claim on the property from a relative or co-owner, can postpone a closing. Other things, like the covenants I mentioned above, or unpaid HOA dues, may be surprises but not deal breakers. But any and all title defects must be fixed before you can close on the property. It may be frustrating, but when you leap into homeownership, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

Turn Your Basement Into a Fun Game Room without Breaking Your Budget

Turn Your Basement Into a Fun Game Room without Breaking Your Budget

Proper lighting and acoustics are a must to enhance the video game experience. To contain the gaming activities in one area, it may make sense to convert part of your basement into a game room. Here are a few tips to do so.

Video game enthusiasts need their own space to play in your Philadelphia home. If you love video games, or live with someone who does, then you’re probably aware of the basics required for this fun-filled hobby. On top of one or more gaming systems, you probably own a large collection of individual games, controllers, and of course a television. Proper lighting and acoustics are a must to enhance the video game experience. To contain the gaming activities in one area, it may make sense to convert part of your basement into a game room. Here are a few tips on how to do it without breaking the budget.

Make Gaming the Focus

Budget-wise, you’ll probably want to spend the most on your game system and television. Certain televisions are more suited to video games than others, so you’ll want to do some research to find a good gaming television within your price range. Next, give thought to location of the system and the television. Make sure the television is installed at the correct height to avoid eye and neck strain. Often, this means purchasing a television stand or other piece of furniture to ensure your television and game system are placed correctly and located in proximity so it’s easy for them to be wired together.

Acoustics, Lighting, and Other Important Gaming Elements

Once the system is set, consider acoustics and lighting. Bad lighting and tinny sounds can ruin the overall experience of gaming. If your basement doesn’t already have good acoustics and lighting, this may be another area where you want to invest your game room budget dollars. Overhead lighting for a media room doesn’t have to be ornate. In fact, it can be something simple, yet functional, like recessed lights. Sound-wise, the range in speaker prices is quite large, but you’ll want to invest in something providing good sound throughout the entire game room. Placement of electrical outlets is another concern with video game equipment, along with a reliable Internet connection that reaches into the basement through wired or wireless access.

Stylish Comfort is Key

The game room may also function as a gathering place where you watch movies and socialize with friends. You’ll want everyone to be comfortable in this area of your basement. This means that seating is essential. Movable game chairs can be used for video game sessions, along with bean bag type seats for kids. Adults will want something nicer, and may wish to invest in a quality sofa that will hold up well and last for years.

Decorating Your Basement Gaming Area

Since the focus is on entertainment, minimal background decor can work well in a game room. To carry through the video game theme, hang posters featuring classic games or video game characters. Brightly colored wall paint can help turn a dark basement into a bright and fun game space. In addition to video games, you may also want to purchase other related items, based on your budget. Storage towers to house a game collection can help organize the space. Shop Philadelphia-area stores for a retro arcade game or Foosball table provide another outlet for fun and a break from the television.

A great game room is a place where everyone can relax and have fun. If you’re moving into a new Philadelphia home or have decided to finish your existing basement, you can still create a great gaming area on a budget.

You’ve Never Felt Power like coldwellbanker.com

You’ve Never Felt Power like coldwellbanker.com

With unique features unavailable anywhere else, coldwellbanker.com puts the power of the real estate process back in your hands.

Sometimes it can feel like you need mutant powers to find that perfect home. But, the Official Real Estate Partner of X-Men: Apocalypse, and the listing partner for the X-Mansion, Coldwell Banker Real Estate provides a platform that puts the power of the real estate process back in your hands. Even the X-Men can recognize the power of searching for a home on coldwellbanker.com, which allows you unique features unavailable anywhere else.

Buyers’ group
Unlike Mystique, we can’t shape-shift to become all the members of our family that are stakeholders in the decision to buy a home. With the buyers’ group oncoldwellbanker.com, you now have a simple way to invite your friends and family on your journey to home ownership. This easy collaboration brings a more personal touch to the buying process, especially for first-time home buyers. This interactive feature empowers your group members to share notes and pictures directly on the listing page. The best part? Your group notes and pictures are exclusively visible to your group only. You can even include your real estate professional, providing more insight on what you like and what you don’t.

Seller Stories
Every home has a story and the X-Mansion is certainly no exception. Just like Hank McCoy, Charles Xavier and Raven Darkholme recount their memories from inside the storied halls of the X-Mansion, with the Seller Story functionality, you too can share fond memories and provide rich details about your home as only you know. As the seller, you now can be an active participant in the process. And who better to share the home’s story than the homeowner themselves?

Seller Dashboard
You no longer need mind reading mutant powers to decipher what potential buyers think of your home. Coldwellbanker.com gives sellers access to a private dashboard of property activity, including property views and how potential buyers rate the home. These proprietary analytics allow you to engage with your real estate professional in critical and continuous conversations about staging, pricing and marketing your home.

Start your home search today or find a Coldwell Banker agent near you by visitingcoldwellbanker.com. And don’t forget to catch X-Men: Apocalypse in theaters May 27.