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Archive for November, 2012

Staging

J. Andrew English J. Andrew English
Thursday, November 29th, 2012

The first misconception surrounding staging is the cost associated with staging. Quality staging with quality furniture and art is expensive. High end staging for a 2500 sq ft home can easily run $3,000 to $5,000. Bottom line – Staging can get expensive.

Is it really worth while? There really isn’t a magic answer to this question. I have worked with sellers that swear by staging and I have worked with sellers that find it to be a complete waste of money. First and foremost, I would only professionally stage a vacant home. Secondly, if I was going to stage a home, I would only do so with a respected high end staging company. This is one area of Real Estate that I would not shop solely based upon price. Cheap furniture and shoddy art work is not what you want in this scenario. If you are going to do it…spend the money to do it right. Thirdly, understand the product you are selling. A highly desirable remodeled home with high end finishes may benefit from professional staging. On the other hand, do not stage your fixer upper/rental property. Think of staging as a luxury service that should help magnify and highlight the upgrades you have made to your home. Quality staging should bring out the best of your home and should be used by homeowners  who are trying to obtain top dollar for a quality product.

 

Realtor.com

J. Andrew English J. Andrew English
Wednesday, November 21st, 2012

You probably have noticed that Realtor.com has released a new format to the public. According to Realtor.com, they have been beta testing for nearly 9 months. As with any change, not everyone is going to be receptive to the new layout. One of the recent changes that I like is the addition of additional photos. Realtor.com now has slots for 36 photos. From what I can tell, that really appears to be the only change when it comes to Realtor.com enhancements. The rest of the features and character counts remain the same.  The goal of the change is to give the site a more localized feel. For example, when you visit the site, Realtor.com will bring back local listings and local market statistics based upon your browsing location. Does this really benefit the consumer….Probably not. One could argue the site itself is now more user friendly, however, I can’t figure out why Realtor.com continues to hide the different subtype options. Currently, you have to click away from the homepage to add rentals or multi family properties to the default search. If Realtor.com is not going to include these in the default search, put the option to add these to your search on the home page right below the search box.  Just my opinion.

 

Contingent Offers

J. Andrew English J. Andrew English
Thursday, November 15th, 2012

What is a contingent offer? A contingent offer is an offer that contains some sort of contingency during the escrow period. This contingency needs to be released in order for the home to close escrow. Common examples can include, appraisals, lender approval, inspections, etc… These are all examples of very common contingencies that you see on an every day basis.

Typically, questions arise when an offer is contingent upon the sale of the buyer’s property. For the sake of this entry, I want to focus on this specific contingency. First – what does this mean exactly? The buyer is attempting to purchase your home, however, they must first complete the sale of their property in order to purchase your home.

As a seller, what do I need to know?

1) You have little to zero control over your buyer’s transaction. If the buyer’s buyer defaults, your sale is gone.  You are reliant upon something/somebody whom you have zero control over. (and many times zero interaction with)

2) Your property will be marked as contingent in the MLS. The problem here is that many brokers will only show active properties to their prospective clients. Thus, even if you are accepting back up offers, your showings will decrease greatly by having a contingent status listed.

3) You always want to have an “out” clause or a time table listed in your contingent offer for exiting the offer. For example, if you accept a contingent offer, give your buyer 30 or 60 days to close on your home from the time you accept the offer. Never leave this open ended. If the buyer can not close during this time frame, give yourself the option to cancel the contract at no penalty to yourself.

4) Understand that accepting a contingent offer where your buyer’s home is not under contract is extremely risky. If the buyer’s property is under contract, ask to review their contract prior to agreeing to anything. Review their buyer’s pre-approval, etc… Judge the strength of their offer.

5) If you do accept a contingent offer, follow up constantly with your buyer. Put pressure on your buyer to stay on top of their buyer at all times.

 

When should I consider a contingent offer?

As a seller, if I accept a contingent offer, I had better be getting something in return for the risk I am taking for pulling my property out of active status. Typically, this means I am pursuing the price and terms that make it worth the risk to me. Secondly, I personally would not accept a contingent offer from a buyer who’s property is not already in escrow unless the potential reward is enormous. (and I don’t mind the risk)