You might want to show off how big your dining room is by taking the leaves out of your table and pushing in the chairs. Your thinking may be that the room will look bigger because there is more free space around the table. In fact, as long as there is enough room so that the chairs can be pulled out, leave the leaves in the table. Most Buyers want to know if a crowd will fit around the table at Thanksgiving.
Now look at the floor, do you have hardwood or tile with a puny little rug under the table? If you pull out the chairs to sit down, do the chair legs come off the area rug? If that happens then your rug is too small. It will make your dining room look off balance and odd. The fastest and cheapest correction is to remove the rug. Remember, your house will be a product not a home for you when it is For Sale. No Buyer will care that the rug is there to catch all of Junior’s dropped food.
When it comes to dining room tables and area rugs, size matters.
Whether dancing or eating off of it, your table should be big.
Photo credit: dining room 3
I have this site that is just mine AND I also blog on ActiveRain, an American site out of Washington State that has over 200,000 real estate related members. From time to time a post will address a question or an issue that is common in both countries. The following post from Bill and Liz Spear talks about what happens when you, the Seller, get an offer. It is so worthwhile that I have re-posted it. Please visit my site and Bill/Liz’s site for additional posts related to real estate.
We Got An Offer On Our House. What’s Next?
You’ve gotten us an offer on our house! YEAH!!
Ready to Respond!For right now, the fact that they’ve put something in WRITING says a lot about how these POTENTIAL buyers feel about your home. Now that said, chances are their offer is MUCH lower than you wanted to see!
First off, congratulations on getting an offer on your home! Remember when you trusted us that getting all your condition items addressed PRIOR to going on the market, staging your home, pricing it right and marketing were ALL critical?
Well, now we’re on to the NEXT critical phase, attempting to turn that OFFER into an actual PURCHASE CONTRACT. Whether the process becomes adversarial or cooperative is going to depend a lot on how YOU react and how WE interact with the buyer’s agent.
Your FIRST inclination is to want to go hit them and their agents upside the head with this offer, isn’t it?? But hey…you’ve seen all the articles in the papers and magazines telling them how THEY, the BUYERS, totally own the world right now, doesn’t matter that our LOCAL market has never seen that level of decline. The good news is we’ve got a STARTING point.
So here are your options:
- DO NOTHING. IGNORE THEM. The contract expires at the deadline date and now THEY’RE the insulted ones. The problem with this approach? Your home is no closer to being SOLD, so let’s not use this technique!
- EVALUATE THE SITUATION. Do we expect other offers coming in during the time frame this offer is open? Has market activity picked up recently? Slowed down? How long have you been on the market? How quickly do you need to move? Are they even close to your acceptable price? These and other factors are going to influence your decision making process.
- ACCEPT THE CONTRACT. AS IS, NO CHANGES. HUH?? Yes, this is also an option. You take the contract EXACTLY as it’s proposed, make no changes, sign on the bottom line, now all you have to worry about is the Inspection Phase and that they get Financing. This is a rare approach, but IF the most important thing is less stress and just being DONE, then this may be your path. We’ve had sellers take this road when we were confident we could get them more money and they KNEW we felt that way. Again, we work for you, you tell us this is what you want, we’ll do our best to make it happen.
- COUNTER OFFER. This is the most common approach. Now HOW you counter offer can be pretty critical too. You can counter on ANY term in the contract: Price, Closing Date, Occupancy Date, Items requested (appliances, lawn mower, deck furniture, playset, window treatments, etc.). These are ALL negotiable! That said, tread lightly Grasshopper! Decide just how critical each element is BEFORE changing! Each change is an opportunity for the buyer to decline to pursue further. When you counter offer on price, decide how far you go with your initial response. Moving VERY little off your list price indicates you’re pretty firm on your price, whereas a larger move signals more of a “let’s meet somewhere in the middle” and get a deal done. BOTH approaches are valid based on the situation.
- MULTIPLE OFFERS. It’s YOUR lucky day, because your odds just got better. Now NEITHER offer may ultimately survive (been there, done that just this week!), but even here you have options. You can chose one contract and reject the other(s), or tell them all it’s multiple offer time and ask for “Highest and Best”, and THEN select which one you want to work with. That said, some buyers and agents are scared off by multiple offer scenarios, not willing to risk the hurt of losing, or afraid they’ll “pay too much” in their efforts to beat someone else! A note of caution, multiple offer situations need to be handled carefully to make sure you don’t get more than ONE accepted offer (it’s been done…but NOT by us!). Keeping control of the situation is imperative.
Now depending on how offers proceed, you may feel like you’re playing ping pong. Offer, counter, counter to the counter, counter to the counter to the counter…..AACKK! Can’t we just BE DONE?? And even in this process you have options. You ALWAYS have the option of going straight to your bottom line and saying: “This is my final offer”. The buyers may accept, they may not. And here’s what they may not want you to know…they MAY be back later. They MAY not find a home they like better and come back and restart the process. We’ve seen it happen MANY times. Remember, the end goal is a SOLD sign in your yard!
If you have further questions on how to sell your Warren County home, don’t hesitate to contact us! And don’t worry, it’s NEVER about us, it’s about YOU and WHAT we can do for you!
Serving Warren County’s residential real estate needs,
Liz and Bill aka BLiz
The Liz Spear Team
Elizabeth & William Spear
Two locations: Lebanon & Mason, OH
Office direct: 513-248-3660
Liz direct: 513-265-3004
After a full week of work, Agent Valerie finally had an afternoon to spend at her desk doing paperwork and research for her real estate blog. She had not heard from Home Seller Mark and had decided not to call him. Some investigating was necessary. Could a grow op go undetected? Did the police really raid the house?
With a few minutes available, she first went to the City’s Grow Op registry. Unfortunately, only current convictions were listed and the site did not go back four years. Valerie called the police, was transferred to the drug enforcement section and identified herself as a real estate person in the throes of possibly listing the house. The woman who answered the call said that there had been a conviction from the address four years ago but she would provide no further information.
Valerie thought she would test the power of the internet. According to recent newspaper articles about privacy, information never fully disappears from the internet. Information was always ‘out there’ and waiting to be found. She entered a number of possible search words with no results. Finally, she put in Mark’s address. Holy Hannah, there was an article about the drug bust in the community paper from four years ago. It specified the address, along with three others in the same neighbourhood. The home owner was not identified nor was the renter(s). It was clear that something had been going on in the house. The next step was to look at the land registry to see how many people and who had owned the home in the past four years. It appeared that the house had sold twice in the past four years. Finally, Agent Valerie decided to look at the listing for the house at the time that Mark bought the house. There, in a small part of the agent’s comments, was a disclosure that the house had been used to grow marijuana. Well that did it. Now it was clear that Mark was also trying to sell his home without disclosing the house’s history and possible defects.
At the weekly office meeting, Valerie decided to let others in the office know of the issues with the house, in case they were taking their clients to see the place. It seemed that that would be the sum total of her involvement as she did not hear from Mark since she left him with the news about his pricing. However, having done just a little investigation, she decided to give Mark a call and warn him that he would be committing fraud if he continued to sell his home without disclosing the house’s history. He could be sued by a Buyer when the history of the house was discovered and it was evident that Mark knew the history in advance of the sale.
Valerie was to learn later that week that
No good deed goes unpunished.
Photo credit: Something Wicked this way comes
When last we talked about Mark, he was unable to sell his home for his high asking price and by trying to do it himself. He had asked Agent Valerie to come back and talk about what may be limiting the sale. As we heard, he listed too high, the house was on the market too long and Mark had thought that all the good houses would eventually sell so that his would start looking good. Agent Valerie left Seller Mark with some things to think about as she headed out for another appointment.
After leaving the house, Valerie noted that the next door neighbour was sitting on his stoop and seemed to be waiting to talk to her. She went over and introduced herself. It turned out that Mr. P.T. Barney and his dog Bailey had lived next door to Mark’s house for several decades. P.T. told Valerie that the house had seen many owners and some owners had rented the home for periods of time. P.T. was a friendly guy and he liked Valerie. He decided to give her some information she might want. He asked if the problem with selling the house was the drug bust four years ago. Valerie did a double take on the words drug bust. Oh yes, according to P.T., the police arrived and found 200 marijuana plants growing in the basement. The renters were not there at the time and never returned. After the bust, the owner (according P.T.) had fixed the house and then quickly put it on the market. Seller Mark was the second owner since the bust but had likely bought it knowing that it had been a marijuana growing house.
P.T. talked to Valerie, because that is what neighbours do, they observe and they comment. He said that he and two other neighbours had noted that there were odd coming and goings from the house, the renters were seldom there, a radio played all the time, there was no garbage out on garbage day, the window blinds were always drawn and, he said, that there was an odd humming noise that they could hear day and night. At the annual block party, they mentioned their observations to the policeman that lived down the street. Wasn’t it a surprise that two days later the police showed up and broke down the doors?
P.T. had to go in and have his tea. He left Valerie thinking that Mark had a lot more on his plate than just an overpriced home. It was time to do a little investigation to see how much of P.T.’s story was fact and how much Mark knew. This house could now have a history, be stigmatized and had owner legal requirements of disclosure of possible latent and patent defects.
Agent Valerie drove away thinking about P.T.’s comment that watching Mark try to sell his house was like
Watching the greatest show on earth.
Photo credit; Circus Tents
Once upon a time a fellow decided to sell his home. His name was Seller Mark. He wanted a maximum price for his home because he had his eye on a newer bigger more expensive home in the best neighbourhood in town. Seller Mark was torn between getting a real estate agent and listing the home on his own. He interviewed a number of agents. They all gave him an idea that his home should be listed for no more than $400,000. But Mark wanted more.
With each agent, Mark said that he wanted a discount on their commission plus he had decided to sell his home for $480,000. Most agents debated the price, knowing that it would be difficult to sell Mark’s home for that much money. Some agents agreed to reduce their commission, if Mark agreed to buy his next home through them. Mark thought he knew better.
Mark’s final decision was to sell the home on his own and he lowered the price to $475,000 because he thought it might be a more attractive and lucky number. Mark believed in luck. Mark also told the agents that, despite their comparables and the price of other homes in his neighbourhood, he was willing to wait until those homes sold and then his would be the only home available. He believed that it only took one buyer to come along and love his home and pay what he was asking. Seller Mark considered himself an entrepreneur.
Time passed. The sign in front of Mark’s house started to get sun bleached. The initial Lookie Loos who came to his Open House were no longer showing any interest. Mark was still waiting for all the homes in his neighbourhood to sell. He got calls from real estate agents asking if he would pay them commission to bring in a Buyer but Mark wanted his money so he said no. He stopped cleaning the house. It was months and there was no interest in his home.
Four months into trying to sell his home, Mark asked one of the original agents, Valerie, back for a discussion. She told Seller Mark:
- While he was waiting for all the homes to sell in his neighbourhood, others were coming on the market. He could not stop other listings and these were priced competitively. The market was not asleep while Mark’s house was for sale.
- The comparables were a basis for pricing and for Buyers to determine value. When Mark priced his home too high, Buyers knew it. They also knew that Mark did not have an agent so no commission was involved. Buyers were avoiding Mark’s house. The drop from $475,000 to $400,000 was too significant to generate an offer.
- Finally, Agent Valerie told Mark that his house had become stigmatized. It had lingered on the market too long and now Buyers wanted to know what the problem was with the house. They were concerned that there may be major structural issues or a haunting or a belligerent Seller. No one wanted to see or buy Mark’s house.
Finally, Agent Valerie told Mark that he needed a new selling plan. He should not expect:
ANOTHER MARK TO COME ALONG.
Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/eivindw/4208845685/
Then the next day, at about the same time the street was back to normal.
There are some years when staying home and having a cozy dinner and a movie is the perfect answer to wooing your loved one. Then there are years when you want to get out and enjoy the creative talents of some of the city’s leading chefs and restaurants. This year, we are going out!!!! On February 14 we will be dining at Absinthe, a wonderful restaurant only a block from the Royal LePage office. We love this place for its amazing service and the creative menus. Here is a photo from the Absinthe website and the proposed Valentine’s Day menu……
Having a menu in French and English does allow you to practice your French and be just a little bit bilingual.
Royal LePage Gale Real Estate, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
As your Buyer’s Agent, I will:
- Give you 100% loyalty to your interests at all times throughout every stage of the transaction
- Promptly respond to your phone calls and emails – before, during and after representation
- Explain/discuss what to expect during a home search
- Provide you with an explanation of what your costs will be
- Assist with mortgage preapproval – whether that means referral to a qualified mortgage lender or assist with answering questions about the mortgage preapproval process
- Show you properties that you request to see or that I help select that meet your criteria
- Disclosure and discuss aspects about the property and its characteristics even if it means that you will decide not to purchase the property
- Talk to you about Condo Board or Home Owners’ Associations requirements and restrictions.
- Provide advice and consultation on a negotiating strategy
- Work with you on coming up with an offer price based on current market conditions and sold comparable properties
- Negotiate on your behalf to get the best price possible
- Provide you with a list of referrals for licensed home inspectors, home stagers, lawyers and mortgage brokers
- Attend the home inspection and help you ask questions
- Negotiate with the Sellers and Listing Agent on issues raised at home inspection – whether it be a request for repairs or re-negotiation of price
- Assist with meeting requests of the lender during the loan approval process
- Provide you with an explanation of the closing process and what to expect
- Give you information regarding service providers (gas, water, electric, cable, etc.) so that you can make necessary arrangements prior to move
- Coordinate follow-up visits and inspections, if additional work is required, scheduling and attending the walk through prior to closing
- Attend any meetings you request at the closing and provide you with assistance, if necessary, with issues that come up at or prior to closing
I will visit you in your new home, get the tour and see how you are settling into the neighbourhood.
I will come to your housewarming party!
Photo credit: DSC_0831
This list has been reviewed and modified from a posting by Christine Smith , a Buyers’ Agent in Canton MA.