What to Expect When Listing Your House: The Offer

by seacoast_ashley 19. June 2015 10:31

 

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As soon as our home hit the market we starting showing the house. Four days after going active in our MLS (Multiple Listing Service), our Agent hosted our first open house. Two days later, we had an offer. As soon as the text message came through that our Agent had emailed us a copy of the offer, my husband and I commented that, “This is it! We need champagne for signing!” Ahhh, how that elation quickly deflated.


With shaky hands we opened the offer. It was for a whopping $25,000 less than our list price. For some houses, $25,000 isn’t a very big percentage. But for our house, listed right above $200,000, it was over 25%. There was no way that the offer could work. No matter how fast we needed to move we couldn’t come to the closing table with much cash. We could not afford to sell our house!


Our Realtor's job got pretty stressful pretty quick. He was tasked with calling the Buyer’s agent to let her know that we had a counter-offer. The counter was nowhere near the Buyer’s number. It was only a couple thousand dollars less than our list price. We decided (with our Realtor) when deciding on a list price that we would price aggressively but that it would leave us with little wiggle room in negotiations. We figured that it must just be the Buyer’s negotiating tactic, start super-low and hope that we would all end up somewhere in the middle. This did not work. We came as low as we could, and they came as high as they would. The buyers ended up walking away “to look at other properties.” That deal was dead.


My husband, my Realtor and I were all disappointed. We had our bottom-line number, and although our awesome Agent had gotten us very close, it just wasn’t close enough. No matter how close the number got to our bottom-line we still only had a certain amount of attainable cash to access. That would not change. I am pretty sure that we all had a sinking feeling in our stomachs that it might be a while before we got another offer. What if we could never get close enough to sell? Our family fell into a little depressive state.


Luckily, this “Flat Offer Depression” didn’t last long! Six days later our Realtor hosted another open house (2 open houses and 12 showings if you are keeping track). The next day we had another offer! The offer came in around 7pm. It was even lower than the first offer from the week before.


This was a huge blow. Panic set in. We would never be able to sell this house. We countered-- and then we started pricing the rental market for a 4-bedroom single family home. We were going to have to be landlords...ugh. Buzzz, a new text message. The buyers had countered our counter-offer. They came up a lot! Now the game was really heating up. We poured glasses of wine, and turned the couch into a negotiating command center. The timing of the offer meant that we could be negotiating until very late in the night.


Our Realtor was the voice of calm reason. He could never (by law) give us a number or tell us exactly what to do, but he did offer advice on different scenarios and how it might all play out. This was a huge help! There were things that we hadn’t thought about. By 11:00pm we had reached our bottom-line. We countered with that number, and the notice that this was our lowest number before we would have to walk. The buyer accepted. We were officially under contract!

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I am not a very confrontational person, so the whole process gave my stomach the wiggles. I am grateful that I was not the one on the phone during the negotiating process. The excitement that my husband and I initially felt, quickly shifted to frenzy(how will we get all the stuff packed, where will we go?), then to nostalgia for our our home (hey, we brought three newborn babies into those doors!), and finally to conclusion. We are ready for adventure...little did we know on that night that this house held a whole lot of adventure left for us!


Visit the blog next week to find out what happens after the offer is accepted! We should have saved that nice bottle of champagne for closing night!


Have you ever celebrated too soon? Let us know on our Facebook page

https://www.facebook.com/seacoastrealty


Are you ready to sell and learn the process for yourself? Or, make an offer and send a seller into a frenzy? Find a Realtor here

http://www.seacoastrealty.com/






What to Expect When Listing Your House: Step 3 - Papers, Open Houses, and Showings..Oh My!

by seacoast_ashley 12. June 2015 10:02

The two most important decisions that we have made, thus far in our house-selling adventures, have been choosing our realtor and preparing our home for listing.  I am going to hit the three topics listed in the title above, and hopefully you will see why! Lets go in order, and if you are feeling a little lost it might be because you missed the first two blogs in this series. You can go back and read them here http://www.seacoastrealty.com/blog/.


Before, during, and after listing your home for sale there is a mountain of paperwork that must be read, checked over, filled in, and signed. I love words. I love writing. I love reading. However, there is nothing I dislike more than contracts. Every contract that I have ever received or signed immediately sends me into a full-stress overdrive. I worry that I missed something, or that I didn’t read the technical or legal language correctly. I worry that I have just signed my children away on accident!


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Pick a good one! These people will be your new best friend.


This contract/ legal-form dread has one antidote. That would be, a really great Realtor! My realtor has filled-out and read over hundreds of these contacts. He knows exactly what the form is saying in layman’s terms. I have texted, emailed, and called him so many times just to make sure that I am getting it right. To make the form-life even easier, my realtor utilizes a program that allows for me to sign all paperwork online. He can instantly see what I have done, and either congratulate me on finally understanding that “property” is referring to the house and land, or gently remind me that this is the year 2015 not 2014. DotLoop (the program that I am speaking of) also allows for my Husband and I to look back over anything that we have already signed. It lets us each sign individually, so even when we aren’t together we can sign and don’t have to meet and drive to a certain place. This is one of the major differences this time around from the last time we bought or sold a house.


These are just a few of the forms, contacts, etc that we have filled out or signed thus far (3 weeks in). I am sure that there are more, but these are the ones that are living in my DotLoop “Loop”.


Working With Real Estate Agents

Professional Services Disclosure

Exclusive Right to List

Lead Based Paint Disclosure Form

Mineral Oil/Gas/Rights Disclosure

Residential Property Disclosure


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Our realtor was on-point with advertising!


As soon as we crossed the mountain of paperwork, we were ready to go go go! Our agent knew the importance of a fast sell, so he immediately set up an open house within our first week on the market. This ended up being not quite as nerve wracking as I had expected. The house was already clean (due to our prepping to sell). Our only obligation was to make sure the house looked good, and to leave (yes leave, with 3 small kids and a dog) for 4 hours. The turnout was great, and he went ahead and scheduled another open house for the following weekend.


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What the days looked like.


It was hard to get ourselves and then keep ourselves (we have a dog that gets extremely car-sick) out of the house for a good chunk of the weekend, but it was well worth it. We got great feedback from agents. Requests for showings started pouring in. This told us two things. We were priced right, and people liked the house! All of the cleaning and housework, and our realtors hard work was paying off!


Because we were getting so many requests for showings, we needed to plan our “showing method”. After planning our showing method (how would we receive request, what lead time we required, what would need to be taken out of the house) life became a race. We were racing from work to home, home to the park, and back again. We really got to know our current city better, because we were forced to spend so much time out of the house.


Our agent set our phones up with an app called ShowingTime. This app was incredibly helpful. My husband and I would each receive a text message alerting us that there was a request to view our home. We were able to respond with a simple “Y” or “N” or suggest a different time. We loved that we were able to find out as soon as there was interest in seeing the home, as it gave us extra time to get the house cleaned-up and plan where we will take the kids and dog during the showing.I would suggest that you speak with your realtor about how he/she plans to notify you about your showing request.


No matter when the showing was requested we always made it work. This was not easy, but well worth the effort. We received an offer after only 6 days on the market! Next week’s blog will fill you in on the offer and negotiating process!


As always, I love hearing your listing stories! And, can easily direct you a person that might be able to answer your real estate questions and calm your listing fears!

For a great realtor(like mine) look here...

http://www.seacoastrealty.com/


To join in the selling conversation visit us here

 

https://www.facebook.com/seacoastrealty

What to Expect When Listing Your House: Step Two: Preparing Your Home for Listing

by seacoast_ashley 4. June 2015 16:18

 

 

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If you read last week’s blog post then you already know the first step. If you missed it then you might want to back up and read Step One: Finding a Realtor. Ok, caught up? Perfect.


In an attempt to inform our clients, I am blogging my personal experience listing (selling) my home. As I mentioned in the last blog post, this is not my first experience. However,  it does carry much more weight. I now have 3 small children, a dog, and house bursting with a “lived- in” feel.


We are moving due to a job change. We knew that we had to list our home for sale just 4 weeks before my husband’s out-of-town job start date. This makes it important to try to sell the house as quickly as possible, because I will be staying in our current home with the aforementioned three kids and a dog until the house sells and we can find a home in our new location.

Before we signed with our Realtor we started the deep clean. We tried to fix any glaring problems with the house, but due to financial and time constraints there are a few things that could still use attention.


We explained to our realtor that we needed a quick sell and we couldn’t afford or have the time to do large amounts of work. His recommendation was to price aggressively.  By doing so, we are hoping that we will have more interest. We know that we will not end up walking away with a profit, but that is okay with us. We are simply looking to free up the money that we are paying towards our mortgage so that we can put that into a new home. For lots of people this strategy does not work. Often times, people are looking to make profit or at least make back some of the money that they have paid towards renovations, etc. This is something that you and your realtor will need to determine. Know your end goal.


After pricing our house our realtor made a few suggestions for inexpensive ways that we could prepare the house to go on the market. I had a $500 limit set on the work that we could/would do. His first suggestion was to enhance the curb appeal. We decided that almost all of the $500 would go to drawing buyers into our home from the outside. Step one was to paint the front porch. The porch was not in terrible shape, but fresh white paint had a huge impact. It makes the house look shiney and new. After paying for paint and supplies, we had about $400 left to spruce the place up.


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See how crisp that white looksjQuery15207700262633152306_1433533719477


I spent $100 on new planters in crisp white, 3 hanging baskets bursting with flowers, and lots of new plants for the area around our walkway. There is nothing that makes you want to take your home off the market more than driving up to your home a feeling like it is the best that it has ever looked! Be prepared to wish you could stay.


With the remaining $300 we plan on fixing a piece of cracked molding around our front door, replacing a rotted board on our back deck (and repainting it), changing out all of our light bulbs to energy efficient bulbs, and possibly repainting all of the interior trim work the same crisp white that made such a huge impact on the front porch. If there is money left over, I will be hiring a cleaning service to come in and scrub all of the nooks and crannies that I have neglected.


Once the house was clean and fresh and looking like the home of my dreams, our Realtor hired a house photographer. This is something that never happened with our previous listings, but it has already had a huge impact on the level of interest that we have had by buyers. The photos show the very best of our home. I would recommend that you have a professional photograph your home. It was fairly inexpensive (my realtor even provides the service free to his sellers) and really does make a world of difference. Today, most buyers start their search online. They want great visuals.

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These pics have driven tons of traffic to my home’s online profile!


One of my biggest obstacles has been decluttering this house. After many years and many children we look like an exploded toy shop. The method that worked (is working) for me, is to keep 2 baskets in my laundry room.


The first basket is for the things that may be scattered about, but that we can’t do without. I load this basket at the first request for a showing. It holds dog items (food, leash, bed), personal items we don’t want to leave laying about, and anything else that has found it’s way to the floor that I don’t have time to put in its specific place. The second basket holds things that need to leave the house for good. It is our “out” basket. The items that most often find their fate in this basket are toys that I noticed aren’t played with anymore, clothes that are too small, or items that we haven’t used in the past six months.


When we have a showing request the first thing I do is load those baskets into the car. I usually try to donate the “out” stuff while driving around killing time during the showing. The basket method has worked well so far. In the end, it will result in less packing for me!

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More decluttering to do, but with 3 kids this is pretty clean!


EVERYDAY (yes, all caps) we clean. Floors are vacuumed or swept (or mopped on a good day), all surfaces are wiped down, smudges are cleaned, dust is banished.The lawn is mowed on any pretty day. There are no toilets left opened, and no recycling items left on the counters.  It is an exhausting process, but at the end of the day we know that this will speed up the selling process. It will help us reach our end goal (and rest) so much faster!


What are the projects that you feel are most important to complete when listing your home? If you have sold a home before, did the cleaning and home improvements drive you batty? Share your methods!!


Watch out for Step Three of the home-selling process next week!


To share your ideas (and to help me sell!) join the conversation on our Facebook page

https://www.facebook.com/seacoastrealty


To find an agent to guide you in the process visit

http://www.seacoastrealty.com/

So Much Good #2015RAD

by seacoast_ashley 10. April 2015 04:41

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It is no secret that real estate agents like people. It is ingrained in them to like to talk, share, listen, and observe. Real estate agents are extremely social creatures. When my family has dinner out or spends a weekend exploring our town it is often an agent that we end up talking to at the table beside ours or on a walking trail at the park. Agents are movers and shakers. They are the people about town.


Last week our agents (over 100 of them) participated in Realtor Action Day. Agents from many offices and many different real estate companies gathered to perform different services for the benefit of our community. There were projects such as building 18 community garden beds at Devon Park United Methodist Church. These beds will be used to grow fresh foods for the community surrounding the church. In just 2 hours, an empty space was transformed to a working garden space.

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Many Realtors headed out to the beach to plant sea oats. For visitors to our area, it is often questioned why we need to plant sea oats? The answer is pretty simple and one that locals can give quite quickly. The sea oats prevent erosion of our beautiful beaches. More sea oats equal more sand and protection. Sea oats have extensive root systems that oftentimes are the “glue” holding sand dunes together.


There were crews of Realtors cleaning our local Azalea Festival parade route, crews picking up trash and pinecones in one of our beautiful parks, there were crews crews everywhere! Every person that helped that day had one goal, to better the best community in the world!

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My most favorite moment came when I visited the Autumn Care nursing home. I had hopped from site to site all morning watching all the good take place, but I was ill prepared for the beauty of people just connecting with people. The moment that touched me so deeply came when I was witness to some elderly women being pampered by some of the volunteers.  What I believe was the craft room at the facility had been transformed into a  “spa” for the morning. The residents waited with the nail polish of their choosing for their turn at having their fingernails painted.


One elderly lady was so excited. She was animated and gestured wildly while telling stories. Everyone sat in rapture of her. I couldn’t help but think that she must have been so fancy as a younger woman. This spa treatment seemed 100% up her alley. I felt so proud watching as my co-workers made human connections and gave someone a reason to smile.


Community is an extension of family. I am grateful for my community. My community supports me both emotionally  and financially, through the jobs that I have worked. The pride that I had for Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Advantage during the 2015 Realtor Action Day was almost palpable. Many friends were made, many environments were beautified, and there was so much good!


We have amazing Realtors here at Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Advantage. They are people who care. If you are looking to buy or sell your home we would love to share our skills with you!

http://www.seacoastrealty.com/

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