6 ways to make a great first home selling impression

You won’t have a second chance to make a good first impression. When everything in the front of the house is in perfect repair, buyers will think your house is obviously well cared for. 

  • Your front door can be your home’s focal point. Replace an old door with peeling paint or dated hardware with a new steel door. Or, salvage the door with a fresh coat of paint and new hardware. Satin nickel, black, and bronze are the trends.
  • Wash windows inside and out and remove screens for added sparkle.
  • A garage can make a big impact. Replace or paint the door.
  • Don’t overlook the front porch. It’s an iconic symbol of American living. Stage a rocking chair or outdoor table and chairs.
  • Driveway. Repair cracks and clean up oil stains. If budget allows resurface the driveway.
  • After dark. Portable outdoor lights aimed at the house or a beautiful tree offers a low-cost, high-impact effect.

Selling a home in NW Wisconsin? Send me an email or give me a call at 218-590-6634. Or, email me: jeanhedren@edinarealty.com. I’ll be happy to provide a current price analysis to give you an idea of what your home will sell for in the current market.

Examples of green home features to help sell your home

The U.S. Department of Energy lists several key features of an energy efficient home. Home sellers, be sure to highlight these features to attract buyers. The infographic at the left (courtesy of National Association of Realtors) shows how buyers rate the importance of green and energy efficient homes.

  1. Appliances and electronics – shop for appliances with the Energy Star logo. Energy Star brand offers a higher energy efficiency rating than the government standard.

2. Insulation and heating/cooling temperature control. The Department of Energy has determined that 56% of home energy costs go to heating and cooling. Improving the insulation in your home and installing a programmable thermostat can be an energy cost saving.

3. Water heater. Keeping the water heater in good working order, or replacing  with an energy efficient model can have a positive impact on your utility bills.

4. Lighting. By switching all lighting to LED or CFL lights, you can use half the energy of incandescent bulbs for 10 times the life.

Selling a home in NW Wisconsin? Send me an email or give me a call at 218-590-6634. Or, email me: jeanhedren@edinarealty.com. I’ll be happy to provide a current price analysis to give you an idea of what your home will sell for in the current market.

NW WI Market Update: It’s Been a Long, Hot Winter (In Real Estate)

It’s been a long, cold winter, and spring is finally here.  But never mind the weather; this winter our local lake home and cabin market never did freeze up the way it sometimes can.  In fact, it’s been a long, hot winter.

During the past couple months, I’ve sold nearly my entire inventory of lake homes and cabins.  I need more quality listings now.

If you or anyone you know might be interesting in selling this year, please give me a call. Meanwhile, to learn more about what’s been selling, check out the gallery below.

How do I prepare for a home showing?

What is a home showing?

During a home showing, buyers can tour each room of the home, and they may even peek into closets or check that light switches and other appliances work. It can feel invasive, but it’s important to remember that each person who enters your home is considering a major investment. By allowing them access to each room and space, you may help them get closer to bidding on your home.

Who is present during a home showing?

The buyer and their agent will typically attend a pre-scheduled home showing. In some cases, the seller’s agent (also called the listing agent) may be there to let them in.

More commonly, your listing agent may provide access to buyers and their agents using a secure lockbox. This allows your listing agent to accommodate more showings than if they needed to be physically present for each one.

How long do showings last?

If a buyer is looking for a certain feature that your home doesn’t have — like a split-level floor plan or a master suite with a walk-in closet — they may simply walk in and out in a matter of minutes.

However, today’s buyers are tech-savvy and the vast majority are looking at homes online before viewing them in person — and ruling out homes before they ever enter them. As a result, many buyers who attend a showing at your house will be quite familiar with the property’s layout and features from the listing photos. They may be there to explore specific areas they liked, or to verify the house is as great as it looked online.

If a buyer is seriously interested in your home, they may spend up to an hour in your home as they:

  • Tour each room, nook and cranny
  • Explore the attic or basement
  • Measure rooms to see if their furniture would fit
  • Discuss options for renovations or small upgrades
  • Begin to determine how each room would be used

It’s also common for early-stage buyers to schedule several back-to-back showings, knowing they will schedule a second showing for the homes they like best. So as a seller, don’t be too discouraged if a potential buyer is in and out in 20 minutes. They may just be getting a feel for the market — and they may be back if they find your home stands out among other contenders.

How do I prepare for a home showing?

You’ll already have prepared your home’s interior and exterior before listing so it’s mostly a matter of tidying up the house so it looks as good as your listing photos.

Consider writing out a quick checklist for each room, including:

  • Bedrooms: Make the beds, empty the hampers, clear surfaces, leave nothing on the floor
  • Bathrooms: Tidy countertops, empty the trash, hang fresh hand towels, clean the toilet
  • Living room: Remove clutter, rearrange pillows and throw blankets
  • Kitchen: Tidy countertops, empty the trash, no dishes in sink or dishwasher
  • Entryway: Have a designated place for visitors to place their boots and jackets, if you’re selling in the fall or winter
  • Exterior: Clear driveway and sidewalks from snow and ice, turn on exterior lights
  • Daytime lighting: For daytime showings, open up your curtains to let in natural light
  • Nighttime lighting: If they’ll arrive after dark, turn on interior and exterior lights

Ready to sell? Looking for help?

If you’re ready to sell your home, reach out any time to get the process started.

Economic geography of real estate

This New York Times article grabbed by attention this morning, This Real Estate Columnist is Also a Geographer. Author Julie Lasky thinks up a number, like $250,000 or $600,000, and looks at what sort of home a buyer can get for that price in various cities across the country. She has examined homes in cities like San Diego, Philadelphia, and Cedar Rapids, IA.

Of course, this is all about urban real estate. What can a buyer expect to pay for a home in San Diego or Philadelphia or Cedar Rapids? Obviously geography can make a huge economic difference in housing affordability.

The same economic geography applies to rural areas and resort areas of the country. What does $250,000 or $600,000 buy in the predominantly second home market of NW Wisconsin lakes country?

This charming rural 3 bedroom home on 10 acres sold for $230,000

This gorgeous 3 bedroom luxury lake home with pending offer is listed at $550,000.

9450 E Boulder Dr, Solon Springs

Find out what your home will sell for in our current local market. Call Jean Hedren, your Edina Realty NW Wisconsin Realtor, at 218-590-6634. Visit www.JeanHedren.com

5 ways to hide the clutter while selling your home.

An important part of the home-selling process is showing it to prospective buyers. Unfortunately, that means tidying up even more frequently than you normally would, so buyers can focus on the house’s features rather than your household items. While it may not be possible to keep your home completely mess-free when you have children, below are some tips for keeping the chaos to a minimum:

Under-bed storage.If there’s enough space under their beds, encourage kids to keep their rooms tidy with rolling plastic or rattan storage bins. Then, use an oversized comforter or quilt—or strategically placed blankets—to hide the bins from sight.

Built-in storage.It may be impossible to keep things from leaving kids’ rooms and entering the living room. Utilize furniture with built-in storage, such as ottomans, or clear a drawer in the entertainment center specifically to tuck awayany roaming toys, games and other items.

Baskets and trunks.If you don’t have much built-in storage or discreet space to take advantage of, consider buying decorative trunks or baskets with lids that you can place around your home. 

Suitcases.If you need to store toys in the back of a closet, put them in suitcases that you can easily roll and move rather than bulky plastic bins. Suitcases are also a more discreet storage option than bins when buyers glance inside the closet to gauge how much space is available.

Donation.While your kids may feel attached to every toy, stuffed animal or plaything they own, it might be time to downsize the collection. Suggest that they start a donation pile, so that their unused items can bring joy to other kids instead.

This article is brought to you by Jean Hedren, a Certified Residential Specialist

Does For Sale By Owner save you money? 4 Reasons why FSBOs end up hiring a Realtor.

I am a Realtor. I sell real estate. I can certainly understand a home seller’s reasons for wanting to save a commission expense. We all like to save money.

While commission rates are negotiable, in NW Wisconsin you are likely to pay 6-7% commission on the sale of your property. On a $200,000 home a 6% commission is $12,000. That’s a chunk of change.

Selling a for sale by owner (FSBO) is not a simple task and that is why most home owners hire a Realtor to get the job done. Nationally the success rate of a FSBO is very low. More than 80% of all FSBOs end up hiring a Realtor after unsuccessfully trying to sell on their own.

There are many reasons why selling For Sale by Owner (FSBO) is a difficult task to pull off.

#1 – The wrong listing price

Whether selling FSBO or with a Realtor, pricing is the first and most critical factor. If your home is not priced correctly you are not likely to sell for the highest possible price. More than 75% of marketing a home is about the price. Overpricing a home makes it almost impossible to sell.

Choosing the right price involves thorough research of similar properties that have recently sold in the local area and using the data to correctly set the selling price. The data may not be easy to find in more rural geographic areas.

Sometimes owners may have made recent improvements to their home, and therefore feel justified in setting a higher price. Unfortunately, most home improvement projects do not have a high return. Even improvements like replacing a roof or a septic system will not have much of a payback on the investment.

#2 – Lack of online exposure

Many for sale by owners only put up a handmade “for sale by owner” sign in the front lawn and expect that to do the job.

Others think that including their listing in one of the for sale by owner online sites like Isoldmyhome.com, forsalebyowner.com, or buyowner.com is going to bring lots of buyers.

Unfortunately that’s not the case. The for sale by owner real estate websites do not generate much buyer traffic in comparison to the sites that web savvy Realtors use to market listings.

Google a local search with real estate keywords a buyer would typically use as an online search, and you’ll see the results. Using my local town as an example, a buyer would use keywords like Gordon Wisconsin homes for sale or Gordon WI real estate. The top search results are sites that show listings by Realtors and Real Estate agents individual websites. You can check out your own town or city.

A web savvy Realtor will also use social media to market a home. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google+, blogs, and other social media help drive traffic to a listing. For sale by owners generally do not have the expertise to market with social media.

#3 – Buyers want your commission savings

One very important consideration that most people who try to sell on their own don’t realize is that buyers understand you are not paying a Realtor to sell the home. These buyers tend to be bargain hunters and since the seller is not paying a commission will feel justified in offering less for the home.

Lots of for sale by owners end up receiving low ball offers. Even if the home is priced right, the seller can end up with a lower number on the bottom line.

#4 – Buyer qualifications and showing the home

One important detail that for sale by owners may forget is that buyers can view a home at just about any time of day or day of the week. A buyer will likely lose patience if the seller cannot accommodate their schedule. The seller will need to find the time to let a buyer have access to the home which can be a challenge if the seller is working full time or does not live on the property. It’s difficult to sell if the buyer can’t get in and see it. A Realtor’s job can make that part of the selling process easy.

Sellers also need to be aware of how to qualify potential buyers. If the buyer cannot get financing, there is no point in showing the home. A Realtor’s job is to make sure a buyer has the ability to purchase. Most buyers looking at homes today are pre-approved.

Sellers may not be aware of the closing costs associated with the selling side and procedures to bring a sale to the closing table. A Realtor will have the experience to handle the closing procedures, and to smooth out any bumps during the final closing procedures.

If you are thinking of selling your home, I will be happy to provide a free, no obligation comparative market analysis for your local area.

Related article by Bill Gassett, Remax Executive Realty Massachusetts. Home Selling Myths That are Completely False