How to Sell Homes to Millennial First-Time Homebuyers

by c21commonweath_ldowling 20. June 2018 11:24

Whether you’re a new Realtor or you’ve been in the business for decades, there’s a recent group of homebuyers that have entered the market in a big way. Millennials are now the largest generational group in the United States, having surpassed Baby Boomers around 2016. In this study, the millennial generation encompassed individuals born from 1981 to 1997, who would be 21-37 years old in 2018.

Although millennials don’t yet have the buying power of older generations, they’re the largest group of first-time homebuyers and represent 34% of the market, according to the National Association of Realtors. It’s essential to realize that these buyers differ from other generations and what motivates them to purchase properties. With these important tips, you can sell more homes to millennial homebuyers and expand your business.

Market the Neighborhood

For many buyers in the millennial demographic, it’s not as much about the house as the community. They’re looking for a neighborhood that matches their interests and passions and can support their needs. This demographic’s needs likely differ from other buyers and are focused on urban centers with better public transportation.  

Millennials own cars in fewer numbers than Generation X or Baby Boomers, preferring public transportation. When targeting millennial buyers, focus on the amenities of the area, including local businesses, restaurants, breweries, music venues, whatever appeal to your buyer.

Do your research for your clients to discover which neighborhoods match their desires and find a community that they can participate in that has properties that fit their lifestyle. If you can enter showings armed with the knowledge of the surrounding area, you’ll be off to a good start for your new millennial clients.

Improve Your Social Media

Word of mouth and referrals have always been the bread and butter of real estate. Many Realtors have created social media profiles, but it’s more important than ever with millennial clients. 88% of adults aged 18-29 indicate they use social media, while 78% of those aged 30-49 do according to a recent Pew study. Facebook and Twitter are the most popular though Instagram and Snapchat are rising in popularity.

As a Realtor, you can use social media to engage with potential clients (both sellers and buyers) in a format where they’re already comfortable. Enhance your social media presence by posting and creating unique content for your clients.

Respond and Act Quickly

Often deemed the “instant gratification” generation, millennials expect things more quickly. While it’s not a universal truth, many homebuyers in this generation are impatient and want communication to happen more quickly than may normally occur. Accepting this faster-paced lifestyle and message style may be difficult but can help you secure additional clients.

If you’re ready to answer emails, text messages, and other forms of communication quickly (and at odd times), you can be a resource to your buyers and differentiate yourself from competitors.

Make Yourself a Resource

Many millennials are first-time homebuyers and may not know much about the real estate and purchase process. Instead of positioning yourself as an agent trying to sell a home, first be a resource to your client. Buying a home can seem complicated and overwhelming, so walk them through this daunting process. Build trust and establish good rapport by answering questions and guiding them through the steps toward buying their first home.

One of the easiest ways to be a resource is to have content ready for your millennial clients. Whether you write it yourself or hire someone in content marketing, your real estate articles can be invaluable in building trust with millennial buyers.

Targeting a new generation of homebuyers can be challenging, but with these tips, you can expand your business and sell homes to more millennials.


Negotiating in a Seller's Market

by c21commonweath_ldowling 18. June 2018 11:19

In many parts of the United States, the real estate market has become a seller’s one. This can be a challenge for buyers, as there are fewer homes than buyers. It's difficult to negotiate in such a tight market and even harder to find the perfect home for you. With help from an experienced Realtor, you can prepare yourself to be ready in a seller’s market.

As a buyer, it may be frustrating to feel you’re not in control of your home buying process. However, with the right techniques that address the seller’s market, you’ll more likely get the deal you’re looking for and the home you want.

Have a Prepared Preapproval or Pay in Cash

To properly negotiate, you need to be in a place of financial strength. A seller’s market often has investors and flippers with full cash offers, so you need to have your financing in place. A prequalification isn’t enough for an offer, so make sure you have an accurately written preapproval letter (related to your offer for the home) or offer cash. Your mortgage lender can customize the preapproval letter for you, which will make you look more serious to the seller and their agent.

Negotiate Respectfully

In a seller’s market, you probably don’t want to submit a lowball offer. While this may make sense for a home that’s been on the market for a while or in a buyer’s market, this can insult in a seller’s market. Your Realtor can walk you through the skilled negotiating tactics you need in a seller’s market. The seller’s agent may even bluff, suggesting they have better offers than yours. Be prepared to walk away or provide comparable properties you can purchase if you don’t want to or can’t increase your offer.

Show You’re Serious About the Listing

In a seller’s market, there may be multiple offers on a home. You need to set your offer apart from the others. If you know, you can close, offer a generous earnest money deposit and consider making it nonrefundable. This will show the seller you really love the house and want it more than a flipper or real estate investor. You can also submit a letter and photo of your family to show them why you’d be a good fit for the property. Though this doesn’t always work, it can elevate your offer.

Make a Clean Offer

While you might want to make demands of the seller in another buying scenario, in a seller’s market, this can harm you offer. If you want extensive décor removed or repainting, don’t include this in your offer. The only necessary demand should be a home inspection. If significant issues do come up, you can address them after the home inspection. Keep the rest of the offer clean and free of demands to help your offer stand out, move through the process quickly, and get you the keys.


Sellers’ markets can be difficult to negotiate, but with a little help and advice, you can still find your dream house. You may need to readjust your expectations slightly, but you can still find a good deal on a property you’ll love living in.


Landscaping Trends this Summer

by c21commonweath_ldowling 13. June 2018 13:03

As we march toward summer, it’s time to think about how you’re going to landscape your front and backyard. For many homeowners, summertime is when they show off their home most. You want a beautiful yard, wonderful greenery, and the latest in landscaping trends for 2018.

Here are just a few of the ideas that are making their way across backyards in America:

Amazing Outdoor Kitchens

Why put a kitchen outdoors when you already have a great one indoors? To enjoy the glorious summer weather of course. Whether you’re adding all brand-new appliances or just putting in a firepit or chimney starter, upgrading your outdoor kitchen will encourage you to go outside more—and most importantly, cook there. An outdoor kitchen with grill, seating, and other features will make your backyard the highlight of the neighborhood.

Sustainability in Gardening

As society becomes more environmentally conscious and aware of factors like climate change, many people are considered a sustainable landscape installation. You can incorporate native plants into your green space instead of purchasing something exotic. Landscapers are also enhancing the environmental benefits of urban spaces and restoring habitats to better the world around us. You can take this ethos when designing your backyard installation, choosing plants that belong and add oxygen to the air.

Edible Plants at the Front

Plants and flowers can exist for more than decorative purposes: your backyard can produce fruits, vegetables, and herbs to eat at home and share with your community. Whether you create this space in your yard or in a community garden, you can bring people together and create local, sustainable food. Planting some crops can be space efficient with the use of vertical, rooftop, and balcony gardens. Whether you can plant—do it.

Smart LED Lighting

On the green front, there’s always new and innovative ways to save electricity. Try replacing older bulbs with LEDs. They’ll last a lifetime and they’re often smart, so you can control them from your smartphone if you forget to turn them off and you’re lying in bed (or in another state).

Save on Water

In many areas of the United States, there have been water shortages. In the future, it may get even worse. As cities enact water restrictions, it’s time for landscaping trends to shift to use less or no water. Xeriscaping is a popular technique to create landscaping in a desert landscape, but you can also use native plants that require less water. If you want to invest in your plants, look at smart watering systems that conserve water and check the soil for additional moisture to conserve.

Check out these innovative new landscaping trends for summer 2018 and make your backyard the talk of the neighborhood.



Pros of a Summer Listing: Why You Should Sell Your Home

by c21commonweath_ldowling 11. June 2018 11:32

Summer is not only the hottest season of the year in terms of temperature but also for the real estate market. The weather is beautiful and sunny, children are off from school, and many people take a vacation. So, is summer a good season to put your home on the market?

The answer is a resounding yes. Many buyers search during this season, especially families, for whom this is the easiest time to move. With a smaller inventory countrywide than demand, listing your home this summer could be advantageous. You’ll see increased competition in this unsparing market, as quality homes are bid on quickly.

Here are just a few of the pros of listing your home for sale during the summer:

Additional Buyers on the Market

While it’s definitely warmer outside, summer is the #1 season to move. Adults with school-age children are looking for a home to settle into before the next school year starts (late August-early September). Many families also have more free time during the summer, with summer hours available at work and holiday weekends. This gives them additional chances to look at properties.

With more buyers on the market, your home can sell more quickly than it might sell in late fall or winter when there are fewer buyers actively shopping. In some cases, enough demand for a home can lead to a bidding war, getting you money over your listing price.

More Sunlight Hours

For those who don’t have extra time enough, one of the benefits of summer in the United States is longer days. Your Realtor can schedule viewings for potential buyers into the evening, giving you a better shot at receiving offers. It’s also great weather and time for an open house, which can take place during the day and run longer than normal to facilitate more people’s schedules.

You Can Showcase the Outdoors

Whether you have a great deck, beautiful backyard, or in-ground pool, summer is a wonderful time to display these features to potential buyers. You can highlight them with inexpensive fixes, like adding pillows to patio furniture, mowing the grass, and adding some additional flowers. A well-groomed outdoor space can increase the selling price of your home—and may be a deciding factor for some buyers.

You Can Get a Better Price

Perhaps the best reason to sell during summertime is you’ll often get a better price. Your Realtor will help you decide a listing price based on comparative properties in your neighborhood, and there will be more recent sales to base that number from in the summertime. With aggressive demand for homes and more data, summer is the best time to list your home and get a great price in the process.

When you list your home is ultimately your choice, but if you’ve been waiting to make it move, now is the time to talk to a Realtor and get it on the market.


4 Things You Should Know Before Buying a Second Home

by c21commonweath_ldowling 6. June 2018 11:29

When you start thinking about buying a second home, you might think you already know all you need to know. After all, you successfully bought your first home. You’re already familiar with the best practices for buying a home. However, buying a second home puts you in a unique position that requires new considerations.

Fools Rush In

It’s easy to fall in love with a dream home, even when it’s your second home. You’re familiar with the buying process, so why not just dive in? The fact is that buying a house on a whim means you’re not committing to the same careful research and financial planning that went into buying your first home. Also, you’re probably not able to buy it just to have it, so you need to ensure that there’s a real purpose for it that means you’ll actually take advantage of the property. Be sure it matches the requirements of that purpose as well: weekend getaways mean a reasonable drive, vacationing requires access to events and locales or enough space for extended family, investment properties need to benefit your portfolio, and retirement homes ought to have easy access to care or other family members.

Fractional Ownership Can Trim Costs but Shares Benefits

“Fractional ownership” simply refers to the fact that there are multiple shareholders – probably friends or other family members – buying the property cooperatively. That means those friends and family will be responsible for part of the purchase price, easing the financial burden on you. However, "shareholder" is the key term: each person involved in the purchased has a right to benefit from the property in terms of income, priority access, usage rights, and more. You’ll probably want to discuss this option with a real estate attorney to ensure the contracts and any other documentation are drawn up properly.

Renting Out Your Home Comes with Responsibilities

Owning a second home opens the option of renting out one of your homes for some or all of the year. However, it isn’t as simple as just advertising the space, choosing a renter, and collecting rent like a paycheck. Renting out the home makes you the landlord, which saddles you with various responsibilities. Be sure you review the Fair Housing Act or talk to a real estate attorney who can explain it to you. You also need to review landlord/tenant laws at the local and state level for where that home is. The ordinances covering your primary residence won’t apply if your second home is in a neighboring state. You need to know which expenses are your responsibility, as well as how you need to notify the tenant of their responsibilities. You will at least need to have the finances available for certain levels of maintenance.

How You Rent It Out Changes What You File in Taxes

If you do choose to rent out your home, it’s important to understand how that income is filed on your taxes and whether you’re eligible for any deductions. As of early 2018, the IRS defines a property as a residence if you’ve utilized it for personal use either for more than 14 days or for 10% or more of the total days rented to others per tax year, whichever is greater. For instance, if you rented the home out for 200 days and used the home for 30 days (more than 10%), it’s considered a residence and deductions are restricted. If you only used the home for 19 days (less than 10%), it’s considered a rental dwelling, and you can file for deductions. However, if you rented it out for 180 days and stayed there for only 17 days (less than 10% but more than 14 days), the property is considered a residence again, and deductions are restricted. Be sure you’re keeping reliable records of when the home is used and by whom.

Buying any home is an investment in your future and buying your second home can expand those opportunities. By addressing each of these four elements in turn and following the same best practices you used to buy your first home, you can ensure you’ll be happy with your purchase.


Small House? Here’s 5 Ideas for Creating a Small Garden

by c21commonweath_ldowling 4. June 2018 11:43

Living in small spaces can mean making all kinds of concessions. Maybe there’s not enough counter space in the kitchen, or not enough of a backyard to play in. A garden may seem out of the question, but it can be the perfect element to tie your design together.

Living Art

You love flora, and there’s no reason why art must be relegated to paintings and photographs. Wall-mounted planters are available at gardening and home improvement stores in various sizes and materials, including fabric. Planters add versatility to match the other décor and tone of the room, whether it’s scant patio space or the cozy reading room of a tiny house. They’ll make a gorgeous accent piece that brings a vivid pop of living colors right into the home. An alternate take on this is a free-standing wall garden. Framed grids of metal mesh or fence panels can add that little extra something to tie the room together.

Spice Up the Kitchen

Great recipes are elevated by using fresh herbs but living in a small space doesn’t always make an outdoor herb garden possible. Bring the garden into your kitchen with small pots for each of your favorite herbs. There’s a wide variety of options on the market, so it’s easy to find a design that lets you take the best advantage of the space you have. For instance, some wall planters are separated from each other, allowing you to space them out or place them on different walls as needed. Look for ones that suit your tastes – mason jars, mugs, and metal cans each provide a different aesthetic. Others hang from the ceiling either singly or in a cascading cluster of planters, which can be perfect for doubling as decoration near windows.

Flower Beds that Multitask

You may have a little bit of space for a garden but think there’s not much you can do with it. The truth is that you can utilize a single flower bed for multiple plants at once. If the plants you choose won’t monopolize the water and soil, you shouldn’t be afraid to pair ornamental flowers with edible plants to make the most efficient use of that space. Similarly, you may be able to pair plants that bloom at different times of year, ensuring that your garden is a beacon of design year-round.

Let Privacy Go Green

Small homes usually mean close neighbors, especially in urban environments. Rather giving up on any hope of privacy, let your garden act as a shield. For instance, on your patio, you can use planter walls as a privacy wall. The planters are positioned close together, and with lush greens and blossoms, they’ll be difficult to see through. They’re also a great conversation piece. You can also leverage your existing privacy wall as a piece of your garden. Similarly, you can partially block out a smaller window with rows of plants, either in individual planters or box planters, so you can really put all that natural light to use. Depending on the construction of the window and how strong your curtain rod mounts are, you can pair hanging plants with gauzy curtains that diffuse light. Be sure to vary the types of plants you use to bring a vibrant and interesting space.

Hedge Your Fences and Railings

Whether it’s railings or a fence that frame your balcony, patio, or deck, that’s vertical space you could use for a garden that still preserves your entertaining space. Head to your local garden or home improvement store to find planters made for attaching to the top of fences or railings. Even chain-link fences can be elevated to garden status with planters designed to attach to the body of the fence. Just remember that many times, fences and railings are in place for a reason. If people need to hold the railing, don’t block it, and if the fence is to keep your dog in the yard, keep plants out of reach.

Owning or renting a small home doesn’t mean you have to give up on your dream of a garden. It just means you need to think creatively. Our tips make the perfect starting place to launch your project but be sure to make each idea your own. It will make even small spaces lively, beautiful, and uniquely your home.


How to Get Listings in a Low Inventory Market

by c21commonweath_ldowling 30. May 2018 11:19

Low inventory is an issue on every realtor’s mind. It’s a dry market for buyers almost everywhere in the United States, and hot metropolitan areas like Boston have an even more limited selection for single- and multi-family homes. If you’re wondering, “Where am I going to get my next listing?” you’re not alone.

Realtors listed low inventory as their #1 challenge in a recent National Association of Realtors survey. It’s been a significant problem since the Great Recession, and it doesn’t seem to show any signs of letting up. So, how can you take steps to get listings from potential sellers and sell them to your buyers? Despite what you may think, a tight market can provide an opportunity to Realtors. With some dedication, creativity, and tips, you can increase your listings and sell more.

Referral-Generation Systems

If you want to capture listings in a low inventory market, you can’t wait for referrals to come to you, you must cultivate them yourself. Create a process using a CRM (customer relationship management) for building and awarding referrals from past clients. Engage with your past clients in a productive way to procure referrals.

Getting referrals isn’t a passive process. As a Realtor, you need to constantly network and engage with clients and build relationships, so you always have a referral or several in your back pocket.

Find Expired or Withdrawn Listings

There are often sellers waiting for the right Realtor to help them sell their home. They might be attempting FSBO (For Sale by Owner), or they may have withdrawn their home from the market. You can check the MLS and sites like Zillow and Trulia to find expired listings.

If you find veritable properties that could sell in today’s market, contact the owner and offer to help them sell. You can make a tidy profit and offer up a home that may have never been sold otherwise.

Social Media Marketing

There’s no question social media is essential in today’s real estate market. An active social media presence on Facebook, LinkedIn, and other platforms can be the difference between securing a listing and losing it to a competitor.

Successful Realtors will have valuable information on their pages, including useful posts about the housing market, local articles, listings, client reviews, and much more. A prospective client should want to hire you based on your social media profile.

Target Moving, Estate, and Garage Sales

It’s probably been a while since you’ve looked at ads for moving sales in your local newspaper or on Craigslist. However, it might be a sign if people are trying to get rid of a lot of their furniture and possessions. They might be moving; they might have to sell their home or be going through another life change.

You can run the address through the MLS and find out if the home is listed or not. If it’s listed as FSBO or isn’t listed, you can offer a home value analysis and try to secure the listing. Keep an eye on these sales and you can secure some listings you wouldn’t get by other means.

By following these tips and putting in some hard work, you can get more listings than ever in a low inventory market. There might be fewer properties available to sell, but that doesn’t mean you have any less opportunity, so get out there and sell some houses.


How Long Does It Take to Close on a Home?

by c21commonweath_ldowling 29. May 2018 11:34

You’ve done all the steps correctly. You got pre-approval, you searched and found the perfect home, and you negotiated with the seller, and your offer was accepted. Now what? How long will it take for closing—and what needs to be done? You’ve already done everything, right? Not so fast, be patient and be prepared for an average 44-day closing.

With steps including deposit of your earnest money, home inspection, appraisal, escrow, and significant lender activity, every day is essential. If you’ve already been pre-approved, you can speed the process up somewhat, but be prepared for delays.

What Can Slow Down a Closing?

There are plenty of necessary items that must occur during the closing process, and upsetting any of them can affect the timeliness of the process, including:

  • Home Inspection Issues — You may have found something negative during the inspection, like bad electrical, plumbing, or even a foundation issue. These problems will require further negotiation or a repair before you can move in.
  • Lower Appraisal than Expected — If you’re financing your home, you’ll need an appraisal for the lender. If it comes back lower than the selling price, the lender can refuse your loan, and you may need to renegotiate terms.
  • Credit Issues — Your credit will be checked multiple times during the homebuying process, don’t open new lines of credit or stop making payments on anything. If your report shows any issues, like new debts or recent late payment, it can be a kink in the works.
  • Problems with the Title — If there issues with the title, such as additional liens or other claims to ownership, this can slow down your home sale
  • Additional Required Documents — Depending on what you’ve provided for your pre-approval and your credit situation, your lender may require additional documents and letters of explanation for your finances. Any name changes, divorces, or bad marks on your credit will need documents for an explanation.

By anticipating these issues, you can expedite the closing process as much as possible. Some problems, like home inspection issues, can’t be planned for, so make sure you have a buffer of time and a place to live if closing does take longer.

How You Can Close Quickly

While you certainly can’t control all aspects of your financial history or the lives of financial professionals, there are certain steps you can take to close more quickly, in as few as 30 days:

  • Keep Your Finances Clean — Don’t miss any payments or open a new line of credit during the mortgage process. If you’re planning to celebrate the new house, wait until after closing to buy a new car or open a new credit card.
  • Communicate Quickly — You’ll be called on to answer a lot of questions, provide documents, and go to meetings. Make sure to answer your phone and be ready to provide whatever is necessary. Staying on top of any issues will speed up the process.

Closing can be a stressful time for any buyer. Follow these tips and don’t make it take longer than it needs to. Be prepared for all eventualities, and it won’t be too painful.   


9 Ways to Save on Renovations

by c21commonweath_ldowling 23. May 2018 18:06

Home renovations are unquestionably expensive. When looking to cut corners on prices, it’s important for owners to be careful that they don’t cut the quality of work on their house. We’ve put together nine great tips to help you save money while truly enhancing and improving your home.

Seek Architect or Contractor Consultations

Before you’re ready to bring in a contractor, you need to have set ideas about what you want done in your home. Even if you’re going the DIY route, you’ll probably want (or need) advice from experts. While there’s plenty of resources to help you learn different techniques, sometimes it’s better to have in-person, hands-on advice. Either way, it can reduce a several-thousand-dollar fee to several hundred.

Architects are often willing to do a one-time consultation, usually based on a flat fee. It should include visiting your home to review a specific problem, some insights, and a sketch (or more) of possible solutions. These can then be brought to your contractor to clarify your needs.

Contractors may or may not offer consultations and/or mentorship, but when they do, it’s often for an hourly fee. This opens the door to professional insights and in-person training for handling the parts you want to change, all without needing to hire a contractor and their team for the full project.

Hire for Off-Season Work

Spring and summer – and in some cases, early fall – are the prime seasons for home improvement. The weather is often warm enough to keep the house open while working, and the daylight hours are longer than in winter. However, demand for contractors is much higher and so are their prices. If it’s feasible, wait until the off-season to work on your project. You can save thousands of dollars in the process.

Consider Sweat Equity

“Sweat equity” refers to sharing in some of the labor of your project, even though you’re hiring a contractor. You can do this in several areas, including early on (e.g., handling the demolition yourself) or daily (e.g., handling the cleanup yourself). Depending on the size of the project or how long it will take to complete, this can save you a thousand dollars or more.

Aim for Long-Term over Short-Term Goals

Given just how much money is involved in these projects, it’s no surprise that many home renovators want to skip the pre-primed, pre-painted materials in favor of unfinished ones. That lets them save now, but you need to think in terms of long-term maintenance. For instance, in terms of siding, pre-sale finishing is handled in a controlled place, with no elements like wind or moisture to interfere in its application. That makes it stronger, and it will last longer before you have to refresh that paint. Only needing to worry about one paint job in the next twenty years allows you to save one to three thousand dollars over that time.

Think Efficiency over Size

When you’re looking to add more space, the secret may not lie in knocking out a wall to extend a room. Instead, redesign the interior storage options. Cabinetry that takes up too much space can be changed out for more space-sensitive solutions, especially custom ones suited to the contents they’re going to contain. They can also be put in more optimal locations to help the room feel larger, all without actually having to change the size of the room itself. This will save tens of thousands of dollars, and may even cut the cost of the project in half.

Utilize Your Contractor’s Unused Materials

Contractors often end up with unused material from previous projects, and unlike the aversion to reusing materials pulled from a home, these fresh materials pose no liability and can be shaped to suit your needs. Depending on the size of the project and the materials in question, this can save around ten thousand dollars versus buying a new stock of material for your project.

Use Light Tubes instead of Adding Windows for Natural Light

If you have a room against an exterior wall but doesn’t have a window, adding a window to let in natural light is naturally tempting. However, that’s not the only way to enjoy sunshine. Light tubes, sometimes referred to as light pipes, are a type of optical wave transmitter that fit between roof rafters. As the name implies, it carries natural light to rooms that don’t receive any. It can save around a thousand dollars over the installation of double-paned, insulated windows.

Consider Posts and Beams over Additional Foundations

This tip requires you to look at local ordinances, so be sure you know what kind of construction is required for making additions to your home. Generally, when you’re making a small addition, it’s cheaper to do it without adding a foundation. Instead you use posts and beams, much like when you’re adding on a deck. If local code permits this kind of construction, it can save five thousand dollars.

Don’t Move Plumbing

When redesigning a kitchen or bathroom, you may imagine your sink, shower, tub, or toilet in a completely different place than where they are now. Unfortunately, that’s usually what stacks up the price because all the underlying plumbing has to change, too. If you need to, or decide that’s simply how you’ll be happiest, this is another point where you need to think of long-term savings – pay to upgrade the piping. If you’re having to change things up anyway, the new plumbing will be more efficient and durable.

Bonus Tip: Not Everything Is Trash

While it’s true that most contractors won’t reuse materials removed during demolition and renovation, that doesn’t make everything you’re getting rid of is trash. According to This Old House, roughly 85% of a house can be reusable. Depending on condition, you can donate just about anything that DIY enthusiasts might be looking for to Habitat for Humanity. They’ll resell it at one of their 400 ReStores nationwide, which helps fund their work. You can find their closest affiliate or ReStore program at Habitat’s website. There’s no cost to you, and you can deduct the value on your taxes.

Home renovations are already expensive enough. Trying to find ways to cut costs or make corrections mid-project can be even more expensive. Have a solid and realistic plan beforehand, including knowing how and when you want to save.  Be sure you take advantage of these tips to help mitigate some of those costs without compromising on the quality of your results.


Tips for Being an Extraordinary Agent

by c21commonweath_ldowling 21. May 2018 12:12

 It might be a buyer’s market right now, but as an agent, it’s your job to help a seller pass their keys to a new owner while getting exactly what they need. This can be an extremely stressful process for them. They’re going to look to you for help and reassurance. The tips we’ve provided in today’s post will help you take your assistance to the next level.

Provide Guidance about the Selling Process

Be ready to step in and let sellers know what their next step is, even if that means telling them where they need to start. If they think they have the right idea, but don’t, you should be ready and willing to gently correct them. The point is to make the process as quick and painless as possible, while still getting them the best price.

Arrange for Legal Advice as Necessary

There’s a lot of advice that you can give, but that doesn’t make you a lawyer. Be sure you understand the limits of what you can speak to, while also building relationships with real estate attorneys that you recommend. This can build trust with your clients, as they see you’re willing to do things the right way. Real estate law can include drafting various types of contracts necessary throughout the process, so don’t stick the seller with a generic form if that won’t cover their needs.

Determine the Listing Price

As the agent, you’re the person who understands the market best. Commit to doing up-to-date comparative market analyses and remember that sellers may be comparing your documents to another realtor’s. They want to know what a truly competitive listing price will be.

Stage the Property

You know what’s going to influence buyers most, whereas the seller might think in terms of what appeals to them about their own home and yard. Amp up the curb appeal, ensure the home is clean, and stage every room for the utmost success. That can include tactics like making part of a two-car garage show off it’s potential for being a workshop, adding flowers and a rocking chair to the porch to make it look cozy, or placing mugs for coffee and books on the recliner by the window to stage it as a reading nook.

Arrange for Photos and Videos of the Property

Media is essential when selling a property, so don’t let sellers skimp on how it’s accomplished. Professional photos and videos can make a world of difference when appealing to buyers browsing online. Keep mobile devices in mind and consider new media options, too. For instance, 360-degree photo or video can bring a home to life in an engaging way, as can drone videos taken from above the home.

Promote the Listing Online

You have access to a host of tools and resources that your sellers haven’t even thought of. List the home in online listing sites in addition to your agency’s site to amplify how the home can be found by potential buyers. These should offer photos of the property’s exterior and interior, in addition to other forms of media you have available.

Find Interested Buyers

Don’t be afraid to do a little legwork! Be proactive in finding the best possible buyers for the listing. This is another way to help make the selling process move along, rather than staying sluggish or stagnant. Sellers will be happy to know that you’re doing everything you can to make selling their property a reality.

Hold Open Houses and Private Tours

While photos and video engage digitally, there’s nothing quite like actively being in the home. Sellers probably need you to take the lead here, so be sure to remind them to have the home clean on the right days. Be ready for all types of questions from visitors, especially on a private tour. Take steps to understand what’s going on in the neighborhood and community at large, especially if there’s anything that could be of concern. That includes neighboring properties that are an eyesore.

Lead Contract Negotiations

Negotiations are the point when it becomes a tug-of-war between what the “best” price is – a buyer wants the lowest, and the seller wants the highest. Of course, your seller may have other considerations, like a quick or delayed settlement. As the expert, you need to represent the seller’s best interests during these negotiations.

Remember, selling a home can be a stressful process for home owners. As their agent, your expertise is key to providing an experience that is as smooth as possible. Using our tips can help establish a positive working relationship, ameliorate any problems, and ensure both buyers and sellers walk away happy. It can solidify your relationship and is likely to raise the likelihood you’ll get referrals.