Tag Archives: Sellers

The 8 Top Seller Mistakes of The Summer & How to Correct Them

"Did I Do that?"
“Did I Do that?”
(re-print, Trulia 6/24/14, Michael Corbett)

With the positive momentum in the market, more home owners are ready to put their homes on the market and make a sale. But beware—when prices are up and inventory is down, more sellers become overconfident and careless with their sale.

Here are eight of the top ways sellers sabotage their own home sale, and tips to save the day.

1. Refusing to Make Obvious Repairs Prior to Sale.
Agents tell sellers this everyday, all day: “You will lose money if you don’t take care of repairs before the house goes on the market.” Showing a house when there are leaking faucets, cracks in the walls, water stains on the ceiling, and a busted hot water heater are all ways to turn off potential buyers.

What Sellers Need to Hear: “Shelling out the money may seem like an extravagant expense—especially if you don’t think that the repair will add much to the value of your home. Trust me—time and time buyers over estimate the cost of a repair, so they are going to try to get what they think the repair will cost, and that’s going to cost you more in big credits or discounts!”

2. Ignoring the Backyard
Everybody knows that fantastic front curb appeal sells homes, but many sellers forget what’s out back. In the summer and fall months, everyone’s attention turns to the outside spaces, where they dream of warm summer nights and outdoor entertaining.

What Sellers Need to Hear: “If you don’t maximize and capitalize on your backyard, you are missing a huge component of your warm weather living spaces. That back yard patio is not just for storage of old bikes and broken patio furniture that should have been thrown out years ago. In a buyer’s eyes, it can be the most important ‘room’ in the house. You need to stage your backyard and outdoor entertaining areas as beautifully as you would the interior of your home. Green grass, flowers and trimmed trees should be the same standard as your curb-appealed front.”

3. Hiding Problem Issues From the Buyers
Far too many agents have watched too many home sellers pay out big bucks because they didn’t “reveal it all.”

What Sellers Need to Hear: “Disclose! Disclose! Disclose! Once you have an accepted offer, sellers are required to fill out disclosure statements. If you did renovations to the house without a permit over the years, disclose. If there was a roof leak that damaged the attic two years ago, disclose. If the electrical blows every time you run the dishwasher and the microwave at the same time, disclose. You know the history of the home better than anyone, and we need to work together so that we know how to address any potential issues. The buyers will find out eventually. And if you knowingly have kept things from them, it sets the tone for an ugly and difficult closing. Not to mention that you are setting yourself up for the liability.”

4. Getting Egotistical When Negotiating
Every agent has had that seller who just simply cannot fathom that a buyer would even think to make such a low offer, but the truth is that most of the time, the buyer doesn’t mean to offend the seller. Heck, the buyer may even know that the home is outside of their price range, but they may just love it so much that they couldn’t resist making an offer. Too many sellers take negotiations personally and lose out on creating a win-win deal.

What Sellers Need to Hear: “Real estate transactions are business deals. Plain and simple. There is no room for ego here. If an offer comes in low, the mistake is to be insulted and not counter back. Always counter back and keep deals in play. Keep your ego out of the equation and put your head back into it. Remember your end goal: getting your house sold and having a smooth and successful closing.”

5. Using Lousy Photos (and Not Helping their Agent Get Great Ones)
Ninety percent of all home shoppers start their home search online, and nothing can tank a home sale like terrible listing photos. But sometimes sellers don’t understand the importance of fantastic listing pictures—and that can mean that agents need to resort to grabbing a few fast photos on a cell phone or on a rainy day. After all, the only thing worst than terrible listing photos are listings with no photos at all.

What Sellers Need to Hear: “Think back to when you were originally looking for a home. Even if you were house hunting when online wasn’t a huge thing, you probably remember that seeing a home told you more about it than any text ever could. Even in a sellers market, great photos can help draw in the best buyers—the ones who will be willing to make a big offer on this property.”

6. Holding On to Clutter and Junk
For as long as buying and selling a home has been a “thing” (so a very long time) there have been sellers that say, “Oh the house looks fine. Buyer’s will see right past all my boxes and collections of plaster cookie jars and shelves overflowing with nick-knacks.” Big mistake. Huge.

What Sellers Need to Hear: “It may sound like a good idea, but it’s not a smart approach. Believe me, I have seen homes come on the market that could have sold much faster, had the home owners spent just one weekend depersonalizing and removing all the extra things inside the home. Clutter makes your home seem smaller, ultimately eating equity and killing deals. Take inventory of all your possessions and think to yourself: should I save it, store it, sell it, or chuck it? It may seem like a solid amount of work, but one weekend of work could mean thousands of dollars come closing.”

7. Selling A House Via “For Sale by Owner” (FSBO)
When the market is hot, many people think that selling their home on their own is easily doable. “Who wouldn’t want to save on commission?” think many sellers. Despite the lure of not having to pay an agent a commission, sellers need the expertise and know-how of a professional, who can help navigate the stacks of paperwork, provide priceless neighborhood knowledge—and negotiate on the seller’s behalf.

What Sellers Need to Hear: “The numbers don’t lie: the typical FSBO home sold for $174,900, compared to $215,000 for agent-assisted home sales. There may be more to a home sale than you realize. Let me walk you through what type of service I can provide you with.”

8. Overpricing the Home
For agents, this is the one major seller mistake that we see the most frequently. It is a misstep that seems to rear its head whenever the market seems like it’s heating up.

What Sellers Need to Hear: “Yes, the market is hot. But not hot enough that you can push the envelope and price it for way more that the comps will support. Overpricing your home is dangerous —and you can end up burned in this ‘hot market.’ You run the risk that your home will sit on the market for weeks and months and become the stale listing that every home seller wants to avoid. Know the competition and set the right price—never overprice too high in hopes that someone will unknowingly overpay. Let me walk you through the data.”

There they are — the biggest selling mistakes of the season.

Spring Cleaning Checklist: Bathroom Bacteria Busters

spring cleaning checklist

Open the windows! Let in the fresh air! Spring has sprung!

It is time for picnics, long walks, froliking outdoors, and spring cleaning. In order to help you organize, we’ve made a series of printable spring cleaning checklists. To save the best for last we are starting with the least dreaded room to clean – the bathroom.

checklist-791x1024

Short Sale Debt Forgiveness is Back!

Debt Forgiveness Elk Grove Short Sales, Sacramento Short Sales
Debt Forgiveness Elk Grove Short Sales, Sacramento Short Sales

The California Association of REALTORS® announced yesterday it received a letter from the California Franchise Tax Board (FTB), obtained by Board of Equalization (BOE) member George Runner, clarifying that California families who lost their home in a short sale are not subject to state income tax liability on debt forgiveness “phantom income” they never received in a short sale.

Last month, in a letter to California Senator Barbara Boxer, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recognized that the debt written off in a short sale does not constitute recourse debt under California law, and thus does not create so called “cancellation of debt” income to the underwater home seller for federal income tax purposes. Following the IRS’s clarification, C.A.R. sought a similar ruling by the California FTB. Now with the FTB’s clarification, underwater home sellers are also assured that they are not subject to state income tax liability, rescuing tens of thousands distressed home sellers from California tax liability for debt written off by lenders in short sales.

“We are pleased with the recent clarifications issued by the IRS and California Franchise Tax Board, which protect distressed homeowners from debt relief income tax associated with a short sale in California,” said C.A.R. President Kevin Brown. “We would like to thank Senator Boxer and BOE member Runner for their leadership in obtaining this guidance from the IRS and FTB. Distressed California homeowners can now avoid foreclosure or bankruptcy and can opt for a short sale instead, without incurring federal and state tax liability, even after the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007 expires at the end of the year.”

This is wonderful news for California families still struggling with an underwater home. We still recommend all REALTORS® encourage their clients to speak with a tax professional who can advise them on their specific situation. This information in no way should be taken as either legal or tax advice.

(Sacramento Association of REALTORS® Web Log, Caylyn Brown Thursday, December 5th, 2013)

City and CSD to Open Warming Center in Elk Grove

(City of Elk Grove Press Release, December 4, 2013)

City of Elk Grove
City of Elk Grove

Elk Grove — In response to the forecasted night temperatures in the upper 20s and low 30s, the  City of 
Elk Grove and Cosumnes Community Services District (CSD) have opened a warming center in Elk Grove 
as a proactive safety precaution for residents who may be unsheltered or living in homes without heat.   

The warming center, located at the Barbara Morse Wackford Community & Aquatic Complex at 9014 
Bruceville Road, will be open from 7 p.m. to 8 a.m. on Wednesday and Thursday nights.  The warming 
center may remain longer, depending on weather conditions.  The situation will be monitored daily and 
the public will be updated in conjunction with the City and County of Sacramento and County Office of 
Emergency Services.   

The warming centers will offer seating and a heated room that will provide shelter from the cold 
temperatures.  The warming center will be operated by CSD staff.  The Barbara Morse Wackford 
Community & Aquatic Complex facility can accommodate pets.   

Besides a warming center, other options to stay warm include stores, community centers, public 
libraries, coffee shops and family and friends’ homes.   
Sacramento County recommends the following advice to stay warm during freezing temperatures:   

Loved Ones: 

  • Check on your family, neighbors and seniors, especially those living alone 
  • Make sure your pets are secure and safe out of the elements  
  • Discuss emergency plans in advance  

Keep an emergency kit in an easy‐access location 

Around the House and in Your Car: 

  • Clear debris from gutters and downspouts  
  • Store outdoor furniture, lawn equipment, decorations properly  
  • Secure outdoor plants or cover with blankets or plastic to prevent freezing  
  • Learn where your water shutoff valves are in case a pipe bursts  
  • Do not bring heating devices in doors that are intended for outdoor use, such as barbecues or other fuel‐burning devices  
  • Insulate pipes and allow faucetsto drip during cold weatherto avoid freezing  
  • Prepare your auto for cold weather      
  • Keep extra blankets, food and water in your vehicle 
  • Drive safely and slowly 
  • Avoid downed power lines  

Additional cold weather preparedness tips can be found on www.SacramentoReady.org.  For more 
information about emergency preparedness, visit www.elkgrovecity.org/ep or contact City of Elk Grove 
Emergency Manager Don Stangle at 478‐3610 or dstangle@elkgrovecity.org.  

Is Now A Good Time To Put Your House on the Market?

Selling Homes In Elk Grove and Sacramento
Selling Homes In Elk Grove and Sacramento

Potential sellers may be hesitant to put their home on the market in the winter because of the misconception that it’s not an optimal time for selling. However, regardless of the time of year there are always buyers in the market for a new home. An advantage of selling in the winter is that you can stage your home to take advantage of the indoor warmth of the season.

Below are several ideas to help you stage your home for a winter sale, such as placing a warm throw over the corner of the sofa to encourage a cozy feel and turning up the thermostat.

STAGING
– Maintain your walkways
– Make it cozy
– Clean the clutter
– Turn the focus to the fireplace
– Turn on the lights
– Turn up the heat

BENEFITS OF SELLING A HOME IN THE WINTER
-. Less competition
– Buyers are motivated to close
– Your home may show better
– You can take advantage of the holiday season

If you’re interested in selling your home, please contact me to learn more about its value and our local market. Be sure to share this information with family or friends who may be thinking about putting their homes on the market.

From my family to yours: Have a happy and safe holiday season with your loved ones.

Who’s Market Is It Anyway – Buyer Beware

Elk Grove Short Sales
Sellers Market

What once was a predictable pattern, real estate market conditions now seem to change about as often as Daylight Savings Time and are about as unpredictable as the Spring to Summer weather transition – hot one day, rainfall the next.

Add to this mix, low inventory, a surplus of buyers, slowly increasing interest rates, and frantic “buy now”, “sell now” mixed messages from the media and we will work ourselves right up to a quiet storm where the people do nothing. No buying, no selling, just waiting, watching, and analyzing. Over analysis paralysis will soon be the “weather” of the day if we don’t use good old common sense.

In this article, I’d like to address the buyer. A few tips to help you come out of analysis paralysis and be able to take advantage of today’s market, now:

1. Save up at least 5% of the purchase price to be competitive in this current market. Down Payment Assistant programs are great, but they work even better if you come in with some skin in the game. 100% financing programs don’t work very well in this market.

2. If you qualify at $200K, look for homes at $150K. Why, so that you can have somewhere to go if you get into a multiple counter situation (which will most likely occur). You can then be a true contender and increase your offer when needed.

3. Understand the order of preferred financing in this current market – This is a seller’s market so VA loans are “low man on the totem pole”, next FHA, then Conventional, and finally Cash is King! The more “risk” you have (cash), the better your ability to negotiate an acceptable offer.

4. A hard working, full-time agent who is proactive and follows up on every offer made, asks why yours did not get accepted, and what could you have done to be an offer which gets accepted.

5. Be committed to that agent. Need I say more?

Advice to the seller, coming next.

My best to all of you soon to be homeowners out there and to the agents making it happen for you!

Don’t lower your standards just because homes are scarce

Elk Grove, Sacramento, Short Sales, SOLD
Elk Grove, Sacramento, Short Sales, SOLD

(Guest article, Dian Hymer – Client Direct)

In low-inventory markets that are now common in many areas of the country, buyers might be prone to jump at a listing they wouldn’t even consider if there were a lot of homes for sale.

This desperate approach to homebuying could cause you problems down the line when you need to sell and you realize you paid too much, overlooked property problems, or bought in the wrong location.

A listing that has been on the market for a long time could indicate a problem. Is the listing not selling because it’s priced too high and the seller is stuck unreasonably at a high price?

Does the property have problems that can’t be remedied for a reasonable price? Or is the deferred maintenance so widespread that buyers are turned off, particularly if the listing is priced too high for the market and the amount of work that’s required?

In some areas, it could be none of the above. The reason the listing hasn’t sold could have to do with a slow market where it takes a long time for listings to sell, particularly if they are at the high end of the market.

HOUSE HUNTING TIPS: Before taking the leap and writing an offer on a listing that has been on the market awhile, find out why it hasn’t been selling. Ask the listing agent if the seller has received offers and why they didn’t end in a ratified contract.

The seller’s agent may be reluctant to have this discussion. In that case, let your agent know what price you’d be willing to offer. Ask your agent to find out if the seller’s agent thinks it’s worthwhile to make an offer.

Listing agents usually want to take a low offer to the seller in writing. So you may have to go through this process to even find out if there’s a chance of buying the listing for a reasonable price.

The seller could flatly turn the offer down. But if the listing doesn’t sell for several more months, the seller might soften her stance.

A listing that is difficult to get in to see is another red flag. Does the seller really want to sell? If not, you could waste a lot of time trying to buy a home you’d love to own, but end up with nothing but frustration.

Another type of listing to be wary of is one that is on and off the market repeatedly. This is typical behavior of a seller who wants to sell only for a certain price that is too high for the market. It is also characteristic of homeowners who want to sell only if they have a place to move to and they can’t afford to buy another home until they’ve sold their current home.

These are maybe sellers who can also waste a lot of your time and emotional energy. Some sellers try to sell contingent on finding a replacement home. If you go into contract to buy a home with this contingency, you should also have a contingency in the contract that lets you out of the contract if you find another home to buy before the sellers find a replacement home. You should also get a break on the price to compensate for the uncertainty.

A listing that has been back on the market (BOM) over and over could signify a problem. Find out the reason why the deals didn’t stay together. Was the seller unrealistic about negotiating on defects discovered during inspections? Was there a problem with the buyer’s financing? Did the appraisal come in low? Or was it just the seller’s bad luck.

THE CLOSING: For peace of mind, investigate carefully before you buy.

Dian Hymer is a real estate broker with more than 30 years’ experience, and is a nationally syndicated real estate columnist and author.

I Don’t Need An Agent, I Can Do This On My Own and Save Some Money

Elk Grove Real Estate Short Sale Agent – How to Really Save Money

It’s the age old adage, “they just want your money”. And so, time and time again, many people spend countless hours plotting and scheming to try to avoid calling a professional to handle whatever ails them in an effort to save some money. But more often than not, whether it’s the plumber, mechanic, or real estate agent, the sad irony is, eventually the call will need to be made.

Here is the reality, you can’t do it all. And you should not have a problem throwing some money at someone who can do it for you — and do it well.

Are there dishonest people out there who have no intention of providing you great service or have no desire to help you fix your problem? The answer is a resounding yes. However, there are also a number of honest professionals with great integrity who are gifted at what they do and earnestly desire to help provide a solution to your problem.

As it pertains to real estate, adding insult to injury, I have seen, and been a party to, agents who minimize their services and reduce their commission or value just to get a deal done or a listing in hand.

However, any real estate agent worth their weight will, again, have their full fee thrown at them in an instant if they are providing the client with what they deserve — efficiency, great communication, good customer service, and a deep understanding and knowledge of what needs to occur in the transaction. If an agent is all those things, as my grandma used to say “baby, you can write your own ticket”.

Case in point, I recently was involved in a transaction where the seller, before she hired me, tried for years to sell the home on her own because she wanted to “save some money”. In the process of saving some money, she intentionally neglected to pay the property taxes so that she was not paying out more money on the property than the other owners who would also get a piece of the pie when the home sold. However, she failed to consider the penalties and interest that would continue to accrue over the years. In addition, now the county was ready to foreclose on her home due to unpaid property taxes. How’s that for saving some money?

There was no magic bullet when I listed the home and it sold in a matter of days to a cash buyer thousands above list price. The market is hot, and I’m diligent…that’s the magic.

Here’s another example of “savings”:

A Seller’s Internet Inquiry (Q): My husband and I have been purchasing a house from private seller (lease to buy) and it is coming very close to the end of the contract what is involved in transferring the property to our daughters name. Are there taxes or county fees we must pay?

My Response (A): I won’t wallow in what you should have done. The details of your transaction really don’t matter at this point.

Truth is, I cannot advise you. As a REALTOR, I abide by the State of CA DRE laws and regs and am bound contractually to the terms and conditions which were created and ascribed according to the California Association of REALTORs and can be backed up by a slew of real estate attorneys on their payroll. If you had a question which fell under any of those terms, a REALTOR could advise you all day. And as an extra bonus, we would also have the legal power behind us to back you up.

When people opt to go outside of a traditional real estate transaction, ungoverned and unpoliced, they are taking a risk.

Your lease to buy agreement, if you have questions, should probably be reviewed with a real estate attorney, a title company, and a full-time real estate agent. It may not be too late to get the right entities involved.

It’s not worth it in the long run to try to save a little money. If you end up in court, you’ll end up paying way more than you tried to save.”

That’s really all there is to it. You don’t have to try to be captain-save-a-dollar when your real goal should be to have it done right. Let someone help you who knows what they are doing so that you can really save some money.

Hope that helps.