Frequently Asked Questions

Can’t I go online to determine my home’s market value?

As much as I appreciate and enjoy technology, websites such as Zillow and Trulia nearly always grossly over-estimate the market value of a property. Those websites use basic data algorithms such as square footage and number of bedrooms and baths, but algorithms cannot gauge other important factors that affect values, such as:

  • Kitchen and bathroom upgradesWomanWithHeadphones
  • Quality of windows, doors, and floors
  • Roof age
  • Lot features
  • Neighborhood desirability
  • Style of home

Over-pricing your home by a considerable amount has several damaging effects. One of those is turning away potential buyers before they’ve even had a chance to view the interior. We can’t get offers if no one is looking! In addition, the longer your home stays on the market, the more potential buyers believe something “must be wrong” with the home.

How long does a sale typically take?

Even in a sellers’ market, there are a number of factors that affect how quickly your home sells. For example, some neighborhoods are hotter than others. Even a house in good condition will be more difficult to sell if the occupied home is cluttered, dated, or (just being blunt!) dirty. A home with deferred maintenance (aka a distressed home or a fixer) will only appeal to investors (house flippers) or experienced do-it-yourselfers. They’re also harder to finance and may require a cash-only buyer, which narrows the pool of buyers and drives down the market value of the property. To ensure a timely sale of your property when you need to sell, be sure to consistently maintain it. Check out my tips on how to get your home ready for a sale before it hits the market.

Do I need a For Sale sign on my house?

If you’re concerned about security, we can leave this off. However, buyers often drive neighborhoods they’re interested in, then contact their broker (or me directly!) for more information if they like the look of your home. (Another good reason to keep the landscaping and exterior of your home in top condition!)

Is an open house necessary?

No, it’s not. (Watch my sister and me address this on YouTube or read on….) According to the National Association of Realtors, less than 1% of buyers for your home come from an open house. Many real estate agents hold an open house for only two reasons: 1) To build the agent’s own business, 2) To make the seller happy because of the perception of open houses. An open house is yesteryear’s method of marketing, i.e., before the Internet. Here’s a list of who is most likely to visit an open house:

Neighbors and Lookie Loos. Leisurely Sunday drives to peruse open houses is practically a national pastime. Many people simply love looking at other people’s houses, especially nicer homes.

Passersby. These are people who might be driving or walking by the home and notice the open house sign. They are probably not in the market to buy a home and are simply curious.

Real Estate Brokers. This is especially true of newer agents who are educating themselves on their market.

Future Home Buyers. Many first-time home buyers start by touring open houses to figure out which neighborhoods they might prefer and what kind of house they might want to buy. It gives them good ideas for when they are ready – which is not now.

Robbers and Thieves. What better way to case out a home than to attend an open house and examine the goodies a thief might want to stuff into an empty pillowcase in the middle of the night, than in the comfort and convenience of an open house, where such people can be unknowingly welcomed inside by the seller? Thieves give open house sellers two thumbs up.

Plus lately it has been dangerous for me as a broker to be a sitting duck inviting unvetted strangers into your home while I’m alone. The risk is not worth the 2% chance of reward.

How should I respond to low-ball offers?

jason-briscoe-332507-unsplashThe best thing to do is try not to take it personally. Instead, look at this as a business decision only. Respond with a counter-offer. Some buyers are simply testing the waters to try to get a “good deal,” but truly are interested in your home. Exercising patience while negotiating is very important.

What does my 1% commission pay for?

As an independent contractor, I’m paid by commission only after a sale is completed. Therefore, I really do want to sell your home for the highest price in the least amount of time. I retain only a portion of the 1% commission I earn, however. I split my commission with my brokerage, pay for professional photography, each property’s online marketing ads, sign installation service, flyers, directional signage, replacement directional signage that gets stolen, MLS dues, monthly lockbox fees, insurance, continuing education class fees (required to keep my license), gas, technology, auto maintenance, general marketing costs (it’s how I get the word out to you about 1% listing commission!), and of course I’m fully responsible for self-employment tax. Plus sick and vacation leave time is entirely on me.

I can’t wait. I need to sell my house for cash now! Can you help me?

Yes! As a member of the Real Estate Investors Association of Washington and, I have access to many investors ready to buy your home NOW in cash. Contact me today. Often, a property can be purchased in a matter of days, not weeks.

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