This is just typical – the weather gets cold and she takes us to the groomer’s and has all of our hair removed. On top of that she finds these awful headbands that make us look like White West Highland Terrier fools. Oh well, there is often a treat involved after the humiliation so we endure. I have the angel on my head and Hoover has the snowman. He certainly looks like he would prefer to be miles away. We have enjoyed having her home more this year with her strange real estate hours. I know she likes all of her clients and helping them look for or sell their homes. We hope she has even more fun next year. Maybe she will stop getting us these ghastly headbands.
HAVE A WONDERFUL HOLIDAY AND A HEALTHY AND HAPPY 2009.
You can say all you want about winter but one good thing about having snow on the roof of a house and icicles is that they are indicators of whether or not there is adequate insulation in the attic. If all the houses on the street have snow on the roof and one does not (and it has a similar pitch) then there is a likelihood that heat is escaping through the roof and melting the snow. As the snow melts, it forms the icicles at the edge of the roof. While fascinating, 1) do not stand or park your car underneath these as they could impale you and your car and 2) as they melt, skating rinks of ice form underneath that are sneaky accidents waiting to happen. Notice in the picture that the dormer window does not have snow on top. This is an indication of poor insulation. Dorm windows are particularly difficult to insulate.
The home inspector will take the lack of snow (sometimes in only spots) and the icicles possibilities of heat loss and will look in the attic to determine what type and what depth of insulation has been used. Buyers are shocked at some of the insulation types. Old newspapers were sometimes used in very old homes. From time to time, buyers will find old Eaton’s catalogues. What? We think of the pink bats of fibreglass but vermiculite and sprayed in cellulose are just two more types. As a Buyer, you want a decent amount of insulation to prevent heat loss and keep your heating bills in the winter and air conditioning in the summer in a reasonable price range.
Embrace winter for what it can tell you about your house.
Photo Credit: Weather Watch – Ottawa 0308 @ http://www.flickr.com/photos/mikeygottawa/2311107448/
Valerie Zinger ~ Ottawa, Canada ~ 613-723-5300 ~ firstname.lastname@example.org
Leave your outside lights on while your house is for sale. This will make it easier to find your house in the evening and will prevent potential buyers from tripping on your walk or steps due to inadequate light.
Don’t depend on moonbeams to light the way to your sale.
What do reindeers say before telling you a joke?
“This will sleigh you…..”
Photo credit: santa’s sleigh @ http://www.flickr.com/photos/pkeleher/336752314/
If your shower or tub shelves have a myriad of bottles of shampoo, shaving lotions, bath oils and conditioner, you may want to buy a plastic carrier that keeps the bottles together and can be put under the sink after each bath. Don’t have the buyers think you are a Shoppers Drug Mart shareholder.
Work to get a clean deal.
Have you got some old, oddly coloured carpeting installed in your home? Have you spent time trying to decorate around the carpet, finding furniture that will go with putrid green, orange shag, purple morning mist, etc. If you can’t stand the carpet, why do you think buyers will like it? My advice is to get the carpet removed and, depending upon the value of your house either install hardwood or, if the market will not defend hardwood, then new linoleum or wall to wall carpet. If there is carpeting in the bathroom, please, please remove this. It just makes people a bit queasy to think of what may be in the carpet. Here are two examples that should have you thinking linoleum and hardwood.
Photo credit: Stairway to heavan @ http://www.flickr.com/photos/yarhargoat/1796838151/
Photo credit: carpet in the bathroom? @ http://www.flickr.com/photos/spine/2103894277/
It is so annoying to think that you are fixing up the house just so someone else can enjoy it. Now, why are you waiting? Fix it now. Enjoy it now. Hope for a good return when you sell at some later date. There was one home I lived in that had a large hump in the middle of the living room wall to wall. It bothered me every time I was in the room. When did I get the carpet stretched and fixed? Yes, you guessed it. I had the carpet guy come to the house and kick out the hump just before putting the sign on the lawn -
Valerie Zinger ~ Ottawa, Canada ~ T 613-723-5300 ~ E. email@example.com
When selling a home there are some emotional stages that sellers may go through. In 1969 Elisabeth Kubler-Ross wrote about the stages of grieving after a death. The loss of a home or of an ideal may elicit some or all of the same grieving emotions. If I use these same emotions for listing a home and then going through the selling process, the stages may be:
Denial: “The price is not too high. Someone will buy this house because I think it is worth the asking price. There is nothing wrong with the location. We have lived here for years.”
Anger:“What? No one has made an offer on my house. It must be the agent. Is every buyer stupid? I got one low ball offer. Are you kidding? I will not accept this!!”
Bargaining: “Okay, bring in an offer and I will actually entertain it. I might just be willing to sell for less than my asking price if the buyer also………?“
Depression: “What is wrong with this wonderful house. Why is no one interested in buying it. Maybe I should just stay here. No one is going to buy it. I am so tired of trying to sell it.”
Acceptance: “Well, we have an offer. I know it is never as much as we hoped for but at least now we can move. It is time to move on and this will all be in the past. Now I will say good-bye to this house and move on.”
Some houses sell in days – the right price, the right buyer and all the forces collided to make it happen. For those homes that take longer to sell, be ready for a bit of an emotional roller coaster. Remember, when you are most angry with low offers or no offers, that this is just one more phase you are going through towards selling your home. In the end, I want all sellers to find something that will make them happy to move out and buyers for to move in.
Valerie Zinger ~ Ottawa, Ontario ~ T. 613-723-5300 ~ E. firstname.lastname@example.org
Can you hear the toilet tank refilling all by itself. Your rubber flapper is either worn out or not sinking on centre. Don’t let the buyer get in a flap and think you have major plumbing problems. Buy a kit to replace the flap. Do a little repair job
Stop leaking water and buyers.
As I go out with Buyers and host Open Houses, there are things that Buyers will notice in homes. This series looks at the good and not-so-good things that Buyers notice.
Everyone knows that the Buyer is not buying the furniture and decorations. Sellers will often argue that there is no payback in “staging” their home. The hope and feeling is that Buyers can look beyond the owners’ decorations and personal items. In fact, there is a payback. Look at the picture of how a hotel bed is made. What does a bed that looks like that, with crisp linens and fluffy pillows, say?
To a buyer, who is spending time imaging themselves living in your home, a bed like this will have the Buyer saying:
I can see myself sleeping in this room.
This bedroom is a retreat where I can go at the end of the day.
Look honey, we can put a lock on the door and keep the kids out.
If the bedroom is any indication, the rest of the house must be as neat and clean.
Well, the bedroom is updated so I am expecting this same level of maintenance to extend to the rest of the home.
…All of this just from a bed. So, as an owner, you are right that the people are not buying your furniture but they are interpreting the value of your home from how you set it up. The bed is only one area where your attention to detail will pay off.
Don’t let your house become a market sleeper.
Photo credit: Caesars Palace Hotel Bed @ http://www.flickr.com/photos/zesmerelda/1429950406/
Many many sellers want to set a high price for their home and then promise themselves and their realtor that they will consider reducing the price at a later date - if the house does not sell. God forbid.
Here are some reasons why listing your house above market value is not a good strategy:
1. A high price will keep buyers away. Your wonderful home is just what a buyer wants but not at the price. The buyer will not put in an offer in case it insults you. If the offer that the Buyer wants to make appears too low, the buyer is uncomfortable with the thought that their offer may insult you so they will continue to look elsewhere. Most REALTOR® will tell you that trying to get a buyer to put in this type of offer is one of the most difficult things to accomplish. Some people will not even look in your home because the price is outside of their MLS® criteria that they have used to screen homes. Your price has eliminated potential Buyers before they have even seen your home.
2. The first people to see your home are often the most serious buyers and a too high price will not have buyers return when there is a price reduction. The initial flurry of buyers slows down the longer the house is on the market. It will be a struggle for your REALTOR® to call back all of the initial buyers – even people who have put in a low offer and been refused – when you finally decide to lower the price. In one case, over 60 people toured an overpriced home, when the price was reduced twice, only one person was still in the market. Real potential buyers were lost when the price was too high.
3. Too long on the market. Most buyers ask their REALTOR® how long a house has been on the market. This gives them an indication of problems with the house or with the price (otherwise the house would have sold). Too long on the market and buyers don’t want to buy a “picked-over”. In addition, owners start getting weary of always having their home in show home condition. The state of cleanliness and orderliness may start to deteriorate.
4. Signs of greed and then desperation. A price that is set too high looks to buyers like greed and then, when there are one or more price reductions, the buyer starts to think that desperation has set in for the seller. Some buyers do not want to be a player in either setting.
5. The REALTOR® sign on the lawn starts to look old. Okay, this is from my perspective but I want the neighbours to think that I can sell homes. If my sign is on your lawn too long, everyone who goes by on a daily basis is going to start thinking that I have failed to bring you an offer and sell your home. I want to sell your house and to make you and your neighbours think positively about my skills.
6. Fishing – not really selling. Sometimes a seller will put an unrealistic price on their home – just in case. The thinking is ” There is a sucker born every minute.” (P.T. Barnum). While the seller will sell if someone is naive enough to buy the house, few buyers with agents will take the seller and the price seriously. These are the houses that buyers skip over.
7. Your value and the bank’s value. Most offers are conditional upon arranging financing. This means that the mortgagee will be valuing the house to determine what mortgage level is appropriate. So…. If you have overvalued your home, found a naive buyer and think the sale will go through – think again. The bank will let the buyer know if the house is overvalued (as, hopefully, their realtor will already have done). This is a case of “nice try”. You think: ”So what? I will always find another buyer.” Well, under the MLS® this will appear as a Conditional Sale that did not go through which will alert REALTOR® that there is something going on with the home, one problem may be the value. Also, while your home is conditionally sold, not as many people will be interested in viewing it. You may continue to lose buyers.
8. No amount of advertising will overcome the wrong price. Some sellers think that, with the right advertising, anything will sell. This is not K-Tel. You cannot chop, slice and dice the house for a “low – low – never before seen price”. Buyers will have REALTOR® buying agents. Agents will have access to information. People spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on a house may do some investigation that will say that .. “You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.” Abraham Lincoln.
Finally, when setting a sale price for your home, ask for – demand to have your REALTOR®‘s expertise. Look at comparable houses in your area. Look at the economy. See if your home has plus or minus features compared to other homes and see if these features will require a price adjustment. If you want a sale, set your price to attract buyers.
Valerie Zinger ~ Ottawa, Canada ~ T 613-723-5300 ~ E. email@example.com