Chicago buyers

What to do with shortage of inventory? That’s the dilemma of buyers out there. In the chicago market and across the the nation the real estate market is experiencing this low inventory epidemic. A good comment remains for real este practitioners and the real estate community: you cannot sell what you don’t have. So I like to pose the question, why?

Chicago agent magazine article a 4 point reasoning.
1) low equity
2) locked-in rates
3) investor owned
4) refinanced/ bought in last 7 years

Low equity is the one point we will focus on because that’s 19% nation wide. Americans still owe more than 80% of what their home is worth. Why is that? Could be due to many factors. Low down payment. Qualifications of lender too loose and buyers bought something they really couldn’t afford. Market plummeted the value of homes. Or simply buyers are not buying because it’s not in their life goals now. And thus, the value of homes are increasing but not at the rate of seller’s or improving market.

Conclusion? Buyers have the right to be choosy. However, how long will they wait will be up to them. But sellers must join those market conditions to have a recovering market.  What’s your low inventory experience? Share below in the comments. Would love to hear from you especially if you bought within the last 12-24 months which were very challenging times in real estate market.

Sellers, get ready, on your mark, sell effectively!

Allow the buyer to see themselves in the home. It will sell faster.

Hello all sellers, it’s an ever challenging market out there but here are easy steps you can take right now to sell and sell in the most effective way with proper representation.

  1.  Reality takes hold and the market dictates the price.  Unfortunately, sellers must step back and realize the market will determine price each and every time.  It’s the basic law of supply and demand. (There are a few rare cases of homes that sell for asking price even this kind of market but they offer a very unique feature and in the end, location trumps all key features.)  Often more than not, sellers want to stick to a certain price range to make a profit.  While that makes sense from the seller’s point of view because the seller  invested and lived in this home for so many years, it’s all about how many buyers and sellers are in the market.  In this market, it’s a buyer’s one and that makes even harder for sellers to sell at their asking price.  (However, it may also depend on how savvy the agent can be but either way, the market will determine how challenging it will be for all parties involved: buyers, sellers, agents, mortgage brokers, and all involved in a selling transaction.  The seller and agent together make an effective team to sell the home in the shortest amount of time.  Playing the which price is right can make your home lose value and one can waste time waiting for the right time.
  2. Make the home a clean slate.  If I asked every seller how motivated are you to sell your home this month, a lot of sellers would answer a big yes to that question.  However, the staging and the photography of the home may not be positioned in the best light.  Allow the agent to give initial feedback on the home and begin with a clean slate.  Clean out all the clutter, let the light (natural as well) in and stage it as if it were on show for an art exhibition and the whole world will be walking through it (virtually at least).  That way, you have a proactive approach to the look of the home from the inside perspective.  Allow the buyers to easily see themselves in your home.  Adding too many personal touches can make it harder for the buyer to see themselves in the home.  Make it easy for them to buy the home.
  3. Curb appeal, curb appeal, curb appeal.  If sellers are thinking about selling within the next 30-60 days, sellers should invest in some gardening or “curb appeal”.  I enjoy a nice welcome mat, landscaping on the front lawn and perhaps a new outside paint job before fall arrives.  This is the perfect time to get those relatively inexpensive fix ups to really work for the seller in the long run.  Flower beds or even some small light fixtures outside are great too.
Natural light does wonders for a staging atmosphere.

It’s a challenging time for sellers.  The market is favoring the buyers but sellers should not despair.  It was the investment one decided to make and this is the market the sellers find themselves in right now.  One has to make the best of it.  What are you doing right now to position yourself in the best manner possible to sell the home?  The sooner sellers understand this notion, the sooner they will sell and move on to better options in their lives.  Make the most of your investment and choose wisely.  It’s hard but how proactive are you as a seller making things for your home?  Are you “waiting” until the market gets better?  That may be a waiting game you may or may not want to play because it’s your time and time is money.

Tell me your seller story.  What worked in a successful transaction? What made your angry? How did you deal with the disappointment? What other things were helpful for you?

In the next post, I will discuss staging options.  I absolutely love staging and interiors.  It can make the marketing initiative such a seamless transition to sell.  Would love to hear from the sellers point of view.  We all have a lot to learn collaboratively and on an individual basis.

Selling your home, the process in 5 effective steps!

Here are the following ways your home will sell which is different from the buyer’s agent, also known as the selling agent.  My main mission is provide information to all parties but in this case, this is for the seller.

  1. The broker will discuss the marketing initiatives, company history, and price points/commission during listing presentation.  Also, the agent will summarize the fiduciary responsibilities of a selling broker.  This is  important for clients to understand as the real estate transactions vary from client to client.
  2. Agents will often take preliminary photos, complete disclosures, and discuss seller homework for staging to make the home very appealing and marketable.  During the next week the agent will continue to complete pre-open house tasks such as scheduling a staging consultation appointments, have professional photos taken, prepare marketing materials, and have the mailings ready to go (including emails).
  3. 1 Day:  Agent will add the property to the MLS, set up a lock box (hopefully it would have the electronic lockbox), include a texting solution for signage (exclusive of this particular brokerage), begin showings and so much more.
  4. First Week: Broker will hold an broker’s tour which means the home will be available to view exclusively for brokers.  Then, that same week on Sunday, the broker will host the first open house. The key to the open house to create a “wow factor” for the day to draw in as many prospective and qualified buyers for the time after as well.
  5. Weekly: Seller should be getting a weekly report from the broker in an effective manner.  It’s important to keep track of the number of showings and interested buyers to understand the activity for that particular property.  This activity will determine and maintain the price ranges and the kinds of discussion the broker will have with his/her clients.

In other words, the main job of a listing agent, is to make sure other members of the MLS (Multiple Listing Service) know about the property.  Brokers accomplished this goal through savvy advertising positioning and broker previews, not necessarily targeting the home-buyers themselves. Thus, that’s why proper representation is critical for all parties involved in any real estate deal.   This goal is very important because then, the buyer’s agent can present the offer, continue with negotiation with the selling agent, obtain proper contract documents and move forward toward a smooth closing within the least amount of time.

Proper agency representation and integrity is at the core of every successful transaction.  Feel free to ask questions about agency and any experiences you may have had with an agent or any doubts/concerns about the market.  In my next post, I will focus on the seller again and highlight how they can psychologically step back from the home, view it as an investment in that time, and work with the broker to sell effectively to make it a win/win situation for all.  Here are quick tips for sellers to position their home that include DIY projects.

6 ways to sell your home through social media (along with a realtor)

It’s a buyer’s market out there so how can sellers market their home through social media?  Well, let’s see, many people may think they may not know but it’s much more about content and delivery.

  1. One way to highlight your home is through a social networking site like facebook, twitter, google+, or Flickr.  But it’s really how you showcase your home through one of the social networking platform.   It’s always important to use a realtor to sell your home and leverage your social networking voice but when you post, your sphere of influence becomes interested instantly.  Why? It’s a snap shot of your story! People are interested in stories and your home is part of a story.  Show it off, in the right way.  One way to show it off is to tweet or link home photos (professional photos the realtor used) to capture the audience. Highlight the best or practical part of your home.  It’s your take on the home you have invested along with the professional photos you obtained while working with a realtor.  Videos (You-tube) can also instantly capture your friends/family audience, too.
  2. Another way to capture the attention of the social networking audience is to include a blog.  Again, this is your story from your own voice.  Let it be heard. Your realtor can help you in this step, too.  If you are a seller, and have some time, here’s another platform to showcase your home.  Think of it as a quick news headline article: “Beautiful home for sale on the North Shore of Chicago, check out my awesome library!” It would be another way to tweet, link it on facebook, or just showcase it to your friends/family.  In the end, they may know someone, or their friends may know someone looking for a home in that area.  Setting up a wordpress blog is pretty user-friendly and it has great publishing options to automatically publish your blog to several social newtworking sites such as facebook, twitter, tumblr, etc.  However, it should come from an authentic voice and platform and that can only stem from the owner’s point of view.  If a realtor links their listing, it may be viewed perhaps as too “sales pushy,” if you will.   Create your content and voice and see how people respond.
  3. Showcase the before and after of some photos of your home on repairs you have done in the past.  This is another part of the home history you can show off to your audience.  If you have placed some bookshelves or perhaps painted a room.  That’s great to attract an interested buyer.  Also, you can focus on capturing the attention of green or eco-friendly aspect of your home with energy efficient appliances/furnace or lighting.  Think small and think “budget smart.” That equates big savings for a savvy buyer in this market.
  4. Share your neighborhood history and share consistently but do not create a pestering presence.  It would be nice to blog about a neighborhood block party, or the great neighborhood bakeries, stores, and community building efforts.  However, be careful about posting too much.  It’s more about the content than just posting to a blog.
  5. Ask for feedback from your readers.  This would be interesting but be prepared to hear all kinds of feedback.  Your home has been a place of rest and celebration, but now that it’s up for sale. It’s an investment and you must treat it as an investment.  Step back and get ready to sell this home to your advantage.  Asking for feedback may sting a bit but if you follow up with a paint job here or an improvement there. It may just get sold before you know it.
  6. Last but not least, ask your agent for feedback and advice before you place your home on the market.  Many sellers have to learn to step back and see their home from a different perspective.  All sellers would like to list their home and get it sold above or within the listing price in any market in the least amount of time.  It can be done with the right online presence and positioning but also with the right real estate agent guiding the way.  Agents are the people helping you every step of the way, online and offline as well!!

Feel free to post and tell me your story about successful posts of your home.  Let’s celebrate how savvy buyers and sellers come together to create a win/win situation in this real estate market.  Thanks and hope to see your home on a social networking website.  Next time, I’ll write about pricing a home to sell in this market.  Be ready to learn more about positioning your home to your advantage in a smart way.  Thanks again!

What you need to know about relocating!

Denver never looked so beautiful!

What is the most important advice when relocating to another town or across state? I say, moving less (stuff) is key to a smooth transition to another job and another home.

  • Organize: When one moves for a job promotion it’s exciting but the key factor to remember is to de-clutter and organizer your move.  Let’s face it, we accumulate many things after awhile.  Schedule a garage sale, donate unworn clothing, or give away your stuff to church, salvation army or even donate to neighbors the big items you may not need like a snow blower if you are moving to Florida.  You want to be able to have a stress-free relocation experience.  Schedule all these things ahead of time so when your move-in date arrives, you will have all of your belongings organized and things can transition better.
  • Find Important Information: Find the the important information like the city hall, hospitals, post office, chamber of commerce, local grocery stores/restaurants, and utility companies before you move so when you arrive it will be a seamless transition.  Have those numbers and contact info ready to be posted on the fridge (or even better, in your phone) so its easy to access it when you arrive to your new home.  You will be super busy to worry about the local ins and outs of your community.  (It’s also important to obtain a contact information for the city hall to know any city ordinances, rules, or regulations).
  • Think about short term rental:  Relocating can cause stress and sometimes one should consider a residential lease with an option to buy.  It’s less stressful and you can shop around while you transition.
  • Set up budget:  Relocating can become expensive so set up a budget and you may want to consider the three phases of moving:  1) pre-moving phase 2) actual move and  3) post-moving phase.  In this economy, it pays to be frugal and savvy about your costs.  It’s your hard earn money and time.  Also, consider if you are moving to a bigger city, cost of living may be higher and you should plan accordingly with your income and budget.
  • Movers:  When relocating always shop around for the moving companies and check to see if they have discounts.  If you contact a moving company in the location you want to move, they may provide resident’s discounts.  Ask about hot deals via email alerts or call ahead to find out what discounts are offered to new residents. It pays to plan and ask the right questions.
  • Make a List: Last, but not least, make a list of the very important things you will need to make your first stay the best night ever.  The little things count like clean sheets, a candle, or your favorite music. You can even make a box of all the transition things you will need on the first night/day: toothbrush, soap, towel, favorite DVD/radio, etc.  This is one of the biggest transitions you will make.  Allow yourself the luxury of arriving home in peace and quiet.

Good luck and let me know how any transition challenges or awesome moves made your relocation experience unforgettable (Feel free to comment below).  We can all use some tips from everyone.  Thanks, and make sure to check back for more tips on saving while you move into your home.

Top Advise for a Successful Kitchen showing

This is a very beautiful kitchen and any kitchen can catch the right buyer if you just follow some quick tips.

You would be surprised how many people over look these details especially the fact that the kitchen in my book is the main room and heart of every home.  It where you prepare your food!

Here are 4 reasons to prep your kitchen for a successful showing:

  1. Organize your counter space like crazy.  It’s important to get all things off the counter so people can envision their things and show off the counter accents like a back splash or a nice granite counter finish.  Less is more with kitchen counter space so put away the dishes and appliances and show off the counter!!
  2. Clean that kitchen like the home sale depended on it.  People spend a lot of time in the kitchen with their family or simply just eating there.  Make sure it sparkles.  Hire a cleaning crew to do the whole house and a thorough kitchen cleaning for more is worth it if you don’t have time.
  3. Let all the light in the kitchen.  Natural light is preferable but also turn on the kitchen light to highlight the best part of the kitchen.  Open the windows too for a fresh breeze or simply turn on the A/C so buyers can picture their things in the space.
  4. Cosmetic work goes a long way and it’s inexpensive.  A nice paint job of a neutral color in the kitchen will make the kitchen dazzle and it’s so cheap.  Also, buying some kitchen hardware like new faucet or cabinet doorknobs are small accents that people notice.   It can make the whole kitchen seem like a new one.

3 BIGGEST mistakes when choosing an agent!

Hi it’s Wednesday and no, this is not a wordless Wednesday post.  It’s probably the most useful post for buyers and sellers.

Make the decision of an agent a wise one so you are making the decision with a trusted and right agent for you.

What are the 3 biggest mistakes when you choosing an agent?

  1. Rely too heavy on a referral. Often times it’s really about the right fit with an agent and just because a friend/co-worker refers you to this particular agent does not mean you should work with them. This is the most important deal of your life.  You want someone who understands, listens, and most importantly, “clicks” or gets you and your home ownerships goals.  That’s the minimum in my book.  You will be in contact with this person on average from 30-60 business days. He/She should get along with you and be in communication every step of the way.  Communication and being present throughout (even after the closing) is key.
  2. Select an agent related to you.  That’s very tricky.  If you are a close relative and your are representing your client, it can be challenging to have an objective view of some real estate situations.  What you need is objective vision especially if the negotiation process gets complicated.  The best part of my job is to keep my cool under pressure.  I do this well and I am proud of this fearless quality. (Pat on the back.) That part of me is the negotiator.  When you have a close relative or you are representing someone in your family it can remain challenging to have objectivity and that holds quality hold everything together.
  3. One does not ask the right questions. When you select a lawyer or a doctor, or for that matter, an architect, you ask questions.  You ask(or inquire) about their area of expertise, education, and their work history.  This is one of the most important decisions you will make.  You want someone in your corner providing information and perspective so it’s a smooth transition.  Why settle for less? It’s your hard earn money and most of all, your time.

Next post, I will focus on showing tips for the kitchen area.