Are You Getting What You Paid For?

As I drive around certain neighborhoods, I’m starting to see signs pop up on listings where a reduced commission is offered. Further, I have talked to other agents in our office that have gone to listing appointments and did not get the listing because the seller decided to go with an agent who offered a vastly reduced commission. But, are these reduced commission really in your best interest? Are they truly improving your bottom line?

For a seller to receive top dollar for their home in any type of market, representation is key – and are you getting that necessary representation and exposure? This all narrowing it down to you technically “getting what you pay for”.

As many of you may know, advertising is expensive and these expenses are only increasing over time. And advertising is not the only expense out there – you are looking at expenses for flyers, strong internet presence, paper advertising, open house expenses (food, beverages, signage, flyers, neighborhood mailers, advertising, gas for the vehicle (primarily when it comes down to showings and presentation of any offers that come in), signage, lock-boxes, photography, and at times video – and now the ever increasing need in making any advertising mobile friendly. Everything necessary to optimize your listings performance in getting it out there in front of the consumer. Further, if another agent brings in a buyer, this commission is then split with the cooperating agent – will cooperating agents be willing to show to their clients a listing that offers a non-typical, low commission over a commission they are used to getting? Or, if the normal commission is being offered to cooperating agents, how much less does that mean your agent is receiving and thus being able to place into the presence of your property?

So, how much of this is being sacrificed or are you willing to sacrifice?

I am not saying that all “bargain” commission offices or agents have reduced services. Some may be able to offer everything mentioned and still offer a lower commission as well. This is when it becomes important to compare services offered by each office/agent and establish what would be the best for you and your needs.

Ask such questions as:

  1. What type of marketing plans do you offer? Internet, paper, neighborhood outreach….
  2. Are you willing to do open houses?
  3. Is listing information and advertising mobile friendly?
  4. How quickly are you able to respond to inquiries? Will it be you handling the inquiries are someone else?
  5. Are you going to be available to show the home, or will someone else?

Overall, just interview and compare because I want you to have maximum exposure regardless of who you use – which not only increases your chances of receiving market value for your property, but vastly increases your chances of a quick sale.

Words of Wisdom: A Seller’s Checklist

Preparing your home for sale not only increases your chances of a quick sale, but also increases the possibility of getting top dollar as well. Here are some tips to keep in mind when you are ready to place your home onto the market:

  • FIRST IMPRESSIONS ARE LASTING. The front door greats the prospective buyer. Make sure it is fresh, clean and scrubbed looking. Keep lawn trimmed and edged, and the yard free of refuse.
  • DECORATE. Faded walls and worn woodwork reduce appeal. A great investment for a higher rate of return would be to do something as simple as applying a fresh coat of paint to help brighten up the interior.
  • LET THE SUN SHINE IN. Open draperies, curtains, blinds and let buyers see how cheerful your home can be.
  • FIX THAT FAUCET! Dripping water can cause discoloration in sinks and could suggest faulty plumbing.
  • REPAIRS CAN MAKE A BIG DIFFERENCE. Loose knobs, sticking and squeaking doors and windows, warped cabinet drawers, and other minor flaws can detract from a homes value – have them fixed. Some buyer’s believe there could be another ten problems for every one they have seen.
  • FROM TOP TO BOTTOM. Display the full value of any and all utilities spaces you may have by removing all unnecessary articles.
  • SAFETY FIRST. Keep stairways clear. Avoid cluttered appearances and possible injuries.2
  • MAKE CLOSETS LOOK BIGGER. Neat and well organized closets assist in showing of ample space within a closet.
  • BATHROOMS CAN HELP SELL HOMES. Check and repair caulking in bathtubs and showers. Make the bathroom sparkle!
  • NEATLY ARRANGE BEDROOMS. Remove and excess furniture. Use attractive bedspreads and freshly laundered curtains if they are installed.
  • HARMONIZE ELEMENTS. Radio and stereo on softly and the TV off. All lights on, drapes open. If it’s hot out, cool the house and if it’s cold outside, warm it up.
  • YOU CAN SELL PRIDE OF OWNERSHIP FASTER AND FOR MORE MONEY.  Cleanliness appeals to buyers. Put sparkle into your home, with a lot of focus on the bathrooms and kitchen.
  • WHEN ANY AGENT SHOWS YOUR HOME, REMEBER “THREE’S A CROWD”. Avoid having too many people present during showings, preferably let them and their agent have the house to themselves. Buyers could feel like an intruder and could hurry through the house.
  • MUSIC IS MELLOW. Turn down the blaring radio and off the television. Let the salesperson and buyers be able to talk, free of any disturbances. Soft, background music is good.
  • PETS UNDERFOOT? Keep pets out of the way – preferably out of the house. There are some people who are uncomfortable around animals.
  • SILENCE IS GOLDEN.  If you do remain at the house, be courteous – but don’t force conversation with the buyer. They are there to view the house.
  • BE IT EVER SO HUMBLE. Never apologize for the appearance of your home – it has been lived in. Let the trained sales associate answer any objections, this is their job.
  • PLEASE DON’T STAY IN YOUR HOUSE WITH HOUSE HUNTERS. Let the agent handle it, and remove yourself if you are able to. Remember, that agent has worked many hours with these people, and knows what they are looking for, and how to work with them. Let them do their job without interference. You may feel that an agent isn’t showing the important features o your home to their clients, but the agent knows people aren’t sold by details until they’ve become emotionally involved with the big picture. The presence of any member of the seller’s family cannot help, could unnerve possible buyers, and could even prevent a sale.
  • WHY PLACE THE CART BEFORE THE HORSE? Trying to dispose of furniture and furnishings to a potential buyer before they have purchased the house could possibly end up in a lost sale.
  • A WORD TO THE WISE. Let your agent discuss price, terms, possession, and other factors with buyers.

Buyers and Sellers Wish They Would’ve Done Sooner….

Due to the limited inventory on the market, listings seem to be flying off the shelf – especially within a certain pricing bracket.

With the spring home buying season upon us, we are expecting the market to become competitive. Based upon research conducted, when it comes to Home-For-Salethese competitive markets, both buyers and sellers had wished they had prepared a lot sooner.

Over 13,000 people were surveyed and it was found that sellers regretted not preparing their home for selling and buyers regretted not starting their property search sooner.

Zillow Groups chief marketing officer, Jeremy Wacksman, stated that “this spring, both buyers and sellers should be prepared for fast-moving sales, intense negotiations, and even bidding wars.”

Here are a few important tops for home buyers:

  • Keep options open
  • Have a realistic budget
  • Arrange a mortgage in advance

Overall, whether you are selling or purchasing, choosing a good real estate agent is important.

Checklist for Preparing Your Home for the Marketplace – Showtime

Your home is now officially on the market and you actively have buyers coming through your home – be it with agents or through open houses. This market time is still an extremely important time to keep your home looking fresh and clean. Following is the last checklist you will need before your home “official” sales and you are able to move to your new one.Home-For-Sale

Time to Show

  • Make sure your property profile folder, utility bills, Multipe Listing Service (MLS) profile, house location survey, etc. are available
  • Open all draperies and shades, turn on all lights
  • Pick up toys and other clutter, check to make sure beds are made and clothes are put away
  • Give the carpets a quick vacuuming
  • Add some strategically placed fresh flowers
  • Open bathroom windows for fresh air
  • Pop a spicy dessert or just a pan of cinnamon in the oven for aroma
  • Turn off the television and turn on the radio music at a low volume
  • Make a fire in the fireplace if appropriate
  • Put pets in the backyard or arrange for a friend or family member to keep them
  • Make sure pet areas are clean and odor-free
  • Make sure all trash is disposed of in nearly covered bins
  • Head out ten or more minutes before the show time, so buyers can arrive and focus on the home

Checklist for Preparing Your Home for the Marketplace – Garage, Attic, Basement

Today’s checklist are about those areas you really hate to have to clean-up, or you like to forget about. These same areas can be important to a buyer and help them in their decision making process – be it for a work area, for storage, etc.


  • Sell, give away, or throw out unnecessary items
  • clean oily cement floor
  • Provide strong overhead light
  • Tidy storage or work areas
  • Clean water heater and drain sediment


  • Sell, give away, or throw out unnecessary items
  • Organize and crate more floor space by hanging or placing items on shelves
  • Make inspection access easy
  • Provide strong overhead light, if able


  • Tidy up by discarding or pre-packing
  • Make sure energy-saving insulation is apparent
  • Make sure air best is in working order
  • Provide strong overhead light, if able
  • Leave flashlight close by in case buyers want to look at the attic or crawlspace

Checklist for Preparing Your Home for the Marketplace – Living Areas

Days threes checklists are for the general living areas, such as the bathrooms, bedrooms, living room, and so on.

Living Room

  • Make it cozy and inviting, discard chipped or worn furniture and frayed or worn rugs

Dining Room

  • Polish any visible silver and crystal
  • Set the table to help viewers imagine entertaining543631464


  • Make sure appliances are clean inside and out
  • Make sure all appliances are in perfect working order
  • Clean often forgotten spots on top of refrigerator and under sink
  • Wax or sponge floor to shine, clean baseboards
  • Unclutter all counter space, remove countertop appliances
  • Organize items inside cabinets, pre-pack anything you won’t be using before you move


  • Remove all rust and mildew
  • Make sure tile, fixtures, shower doors, etc. are clean
  • Make sure all fixtures are in good repair
  • Replace loose caulking or grout
  • Make sure lighting is bright, but soft

Master Bedroom

  • Organize furnishings to create a spacious look with well-defined sitting, sleeping, and dressing areas

Checklist for Preparing Your Home for the Marketplace – General Interior Tips

Today’s checklist post is just a list of general interior ideas to help in preparing your home for market.

General Interior Tipsdownload

  • Add a fresh coat of interior paint in light, neutral colors
  • Shampoo carpeting, replace if necessary
  • Clean and wax hardwood floors, refinish if necessary
  • Clean and wash kitchen and bathroom floors
  • Wash all windows, vacuum blinds, wash window sills
  • Clean the fireplace
  • Clean out and organize closets, add extra space by packing clothes and items you won’t need again until after you have moved
  • Remove extra furniture, worn rugs, and items you don’t use; keep papers, toys, etc. picked up – especially on stairways
  • Repair problems such as loose door knobs, cracked molding, leaking taps and toilets, squeaky doors, closets  or screen doors which are off their tracks
  • Add dishes of potpourri, or drop vanilla or bath oil on light bulbs for scent
  • Secure jewelry, cash, and other valuables

Checklist for Preparing Your Home for the Marketplace

It is surprising how much the appearance of a home – either upon walk-up or entering into the home – can influence a buyer. Most times, a buyers mind is made up upon the first initial contact of a home; but there are times that a buyers mind can be swayed either one way or another upon entering into the home.

Over the next five days, I will post various checklist. These lists are of features, tips, and things that can be considered when sprucing up the home. By accomplishing a little bit at a time, your home will become ready to make, hopefully, a good lasting impression. Today’s checklist will cover your homes curb appeal – are view upon initial walk up.

Home Curb Appeal

  • Mow lawn
  • Trim shrubs
  • Edge gardens and walkways
  • Weed and mulch
  • Sweep walkways and driveway, remove branches, litter, or toys
  • Add color and fill in bare spots with plantings
  • Remove mildew or moss from walls or walkways
  • Take stains off driveway
  • Stack woodpiles neatly
  • Clean and repair patio and/or deck
  • Remove any outdoor furniture which is not in good repair
  • Make sure pool and/or spa are clean
  • Repair broken windows and/or shutters, replace torn screens, make sure frames and seams have solid caulking
  • Hose off exterior wood and trim, replace damaged bricks or wood
  • Touch up exterior paint, repair gutters and eaves
  • Clean and remove rust from any window air conditioning units
  • Paint the front door and/or mailbox
  • Add a new front door mat and consider a seasonal door decoration
  • Shine brass hardware on front door, outside lighting fixtures, etc.
  • Make sure doorbell is in good working order

How Well Is Your Agent Representing You? Does Your Value Matter to Them?

Having been an agent for over 11 1/2 years, one of my biggest pet peeves with other agents is there representation of their clients – be it the write up in regards to the property, the amount of pictures they take, or the quality of the photos taken. Some do “shotty” work no matter what the price range is, while others base it on the price range of that home – are you one of those victims? And, yes, I said victim. Agents who do this are not taking your best SKMBT_C35161130105000_0001interest to heart, or they are just plan lazy. With our world being so virtual/digital, it is important for your listing that it is being represented in the best way possibly. Their job is to draw the consumer in, to peak the consumers interest, to make them want to gain more information about your home. And how is this done? By taking quality photos and by story being told through the write up describing the property to its fullest benefit. They job is to sell your property.

Just today, I was going through some listings for one of my clients and I came across a $200,000 listing that had one sentence in the description and three pictures of the front of the house only. Do you think this agent is representing their client very well? Do you think this type of advertising will draw a buyer over another listing in SKMBT_C35161130105001_0001the same price bracket, that has a description painting a vivid picture of the property for them, and has 20 photos showing the home and all its features?

With the way our multiple listing service works, all listings entered by the agents is then launched onto on of the
top three largest home search engine portals used by consumers today – This same “lack” of information is being presented to thousands of potential buyers and is competing against 100s, if not 1,000s, of other listings out there.

I’m not going to lie, there have been times I have had writers block. There have been times I just couldn’t think of what to saw, but that did not give me an excuse to put out there a one sentence description, and it pushed me even more to ensure that I had quality photos available so the consumer was able to see what I was not able to put into words.

When interviewing listing agents, ask them to supply listing sheets – of either past or current listings. You can ask for ones in different price ranges or for ones that are in the same price bracket as your home. Ask them for sample photos to view for those same listings and how many photos they placed with that listing. Remember, these agents are looking to represent you and not the other way around.

An Agents Nightmare – Overpricing A Home

Pricing a home is essential to not only getting the property sold, but to get it sold quickly and for top dollar. Your home will most likely sell for top dollar when it is fresh on the market – usually within the fist couple weeks. At the beginning of the marketing cycle, you are exposing your home to ALL the buyers on the market. Within 30-days you reduce that number and could only be exposing your home to new buyers just coming in to the market.

When pricing your home, it is important to keep in mind that buyers to tend to “shop around”. They want to view homes and search for the one that not only meets there want and needs, but also for the best deal out there. If your home is priced too high for the current market, it will make the other homeshouse-fire-clipart-9iRBRexie look more appealing – you will be selling your competition.

Price is the most critical item that not only buyers look at, but also real estate agents, when looking at selecting homes to view. Poor location, poor condition, terms, floor plan, etc. can all be cured with pricing.

When it is time to negotiate an offer; if it is priced too high, it is possible that no onw will seriously consider or see the benefit of starting the negotiations. The more accurately priced the property is, the less likely the buyers is to start the negotiations with a “low ball” offer or even feel the need to negotiate.

If you do get an accepted contract, at the sale, your property will need to be appraised (if buyer is financing the purchase). If it appraisers below the contract price, there will be a problem. Such as:

  • Lower the purchase price to appraised value
  • Cancellation of escrow
  • Buyer trying to find the funds to come up with the difference between appraised value and original purchase price