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.

Tips for a NW Wisconsin real estate market in transition

I have several buyers who are patiently watching the MLS listings for an especially good deal.  I’ve also been passing along listings that seem like a good fit.  Sometimes buyers have been ready to move quickly, and that’s paid off.

Other buyers were busy with work and family commitments, and they needed to wait a couple weeks before we could schedule a showing.  Sometimes that still works out.  But other times I’ve requested a showing and learned that another buyer has just made an offer that’s already been accepted.  Notice a pattern here???

I’m a Realtor, and of course you’d expect me to say that right now is a great time to buy or sell.  But the thing is, right now that’s especially true.  Consumer confidence is up, we’ve been seeing some promising economic indicators, interest rates are still low, and our Northwestern Wisconsin real estate market is moving faster than the snow was melting this spring.  (April 25 update: snow is gone, lakes are mostly open.) That’s good news for buyers and sellers alike.

If you’re a seller, you’ll still be facing some competition.  There’s a lot of inventory out there, and it’s important to have realistic expectations about what your home, cabin, or land is actually worth in today’s market.  But prices are more stable; homes priced correctly for the local market are selling quickly. Homes priced on the high side are languishing.

And if you’re a buyer, here are some tips to keep in mind during this transitional market.  Even if our market here in NW WI isn’t white hot, it’s at least warming up enough so you’ll need to let go of certain assumptions that are no longer valid.  If you find something you like and it’s a good value, don’t assume no one else has noticed it and come to a similar conclusion.  Instead, please call me so we can schedule a showing now.

If we go take a look and you like what you see, don’t assume you’ll be able to think things over for even a couple weeks before you take a second look.  Someone else with similar tastes may have also seen this home or cabin for the bargain it is.  By the time you’ve taken two more months to think it over, their moving van could already be backing up to the front door.

Finally, here’s one last bit of advice.  Pursue perfection, but prioritize your wants and needs.  Now, not all of my buyers have the same dreams.  Some, for example, want a sandy beach, while others want a small quiet lake that’s better for fishing and watching wildlife.  But when you do find the location that’s just right for you, you can always remodel the bathroom or replace that pink carpeting in the guest bedroom.  Know what matters most, and know what you want so you’ll be ready when you see it.

So, if you are thinking of selling real estate in NW Wisconsin, call Jean Hedren, Edina Realty NW Wisconsin, 218-590-6634. Email: jeanhedren@edinarealty.com. I’ll be glad to help.

10 reasons to hit the right home selling price

Pricing your home right from the start can result in a quicker sale. 

  1. Strategic pricing that’s based on a thorough, up-to-the-minute market analysis. If our price is too low, we leave money on the table. If our price is too high, we leave your home on the market unsold. Later, it’s likely to sell for less than it would if we priced it correctly from the start. A strategic, fact-based listing price that helps your home get noticed and sell more quickly for the best possible sale price.
  2. Each new listing creates a buzz in the local real estate community. The right price will attract more Realtors to show the house. The right price will generate more calls and email inquiries.
  3. Homes tend to sell closer to the asking price during the first few weeks on the market, resulting in a higher price in a shorter time.
  4. Fewer mortgage payments and less interest paid means more money in your pocket.
  5. The right price sends the message to the buyer that your home is a better value compared to others on the market.
  6. Less time on the market means less time keeping the home ready for showings.
  7. In a fluctuating market, it is better to sell now as prices may decrease even more.
  8. The longer the house sits on the market, buyers may think there is something wrong with the house.
  9. Keep your ultimate goal in mind – selling now means moving on with your life.
  10. If there are no showings, the price is too high. If there are several showings but no offers indicates good marketing, but buyers will react to overpricing when they step into the house.

Request a free home evaluation. 

12 interior home remodeling projects with highest returns

If you are thinking of selling your home and need to do a few updates first, The National Association of Realtors Remodeling Impact Report of 2017 offers data on the 12 interior projects worth doing that will result in the highest return on your remodeling dollars.

Complete kitchen renovation, kitchen upgrade, and bathroom renovation rank the highest of most likely adding value to the home for sale.

 

Rank of projects highest to lowest (2017 Remodeling Impact Report):

  • Complete kitchen renovation
  • Kitchen upgrade
  • Bathroom renovation
  • Add new bathroom
  • New master suite
  • New wood flooring
  • HVAC replacement
  • Hardwood flooring refinish
  • Basement conversion to living area
  • Attic conversion to living area
  • Closet renovation
  • Insulation upgrade

So, if you are thinking of selling real estate in NW Wisconsin, call Jean Hedren, Edina Realty NW Wisconsin, 218-590-6634. Email: jeanhedren@edinarealty.com. I’ll be glad to help.

Resolved to sell your home? Don’t delay until May.

It’s February. If you’ve resolved that it’s time to move on to the next stage of your life, then I’d like to suggest you don’t delay until May. Get started now.

Around here sellers, buyers, and even Realtors can often think a little too seasonally. Summer might be the only time of the year we can grow tomatoes in northern Wisconsin, but that doesn’t mean it’s the only time of year we can produce real estate sales.

Today’s lake-home market is no longer just a summertime surge. Maybe it’s because buyers are now eager to enjoy their new homes all year round. In the fall there’s hunting, fishing, paddling, hiking, biking, and ATVing. In the winter there’s skiing, snowmobiling, ice fishing, and just relaxing by the fire. Every spring, long before the water is warm enough for swimming, we’re blessed with months of weather that’s perfect for enjoying the great outdoors in other ways. (Well, OK. Two months.)

Serious, purposeful buyers are on the hunt now. At this very moment they’re getting pre-approved, researching lakes, and reaching for their checkbooks. So if you’re ready to move on to the next stage of your life, there’s no reason to delay until May. Keep in mind, too, that listing your home today doesn’t mean moving out next Tuesday. Even after we’ve done a little negotiating and you’ve accepted a buyer’s offer, more time will elapse before there’s an actual closing. Typically, unless it’s a cash offer with no inspections or other contingencies, that’s about another 60 days.

If things happen fast, could you end up moving while there’s still snow on the ground? Sure. But it’s really no big deal. (And on this I speak from experience.) Moving in the winter or early spring is nothing to be afraid of—especially if you’re paying someone else to load up the moving van and drive it away. Of course, if you’re leaving most furnishings behind, then moving will be less of an issue anyway.

Selling a year-round lake home or cabin, the best time to find buyers is… Year-round. So if you’d like to learn more about what your home is likely to sell for in our current market, call Jean Hedren, Your Edina Realty NW Wisconsin Realtor, at 218-590-6634. Or, you can reach me at jeanhedren@edinarealty.com.

Win on Price or Win on “Wow”

Sellers often ask me what they should do to get their home or cabin ready to sell.  Sometimes the answer is “nothing.”  Sometimes I offer advice about cleaning the garage or trimming the shrubs to make a better first impression.  Takes a couple hours, but doesn’t cost a cent.  And sometimes I suggest sellers invest in new light fixtures or a couple gallons of paint.  Less than a hundred dollars, but a whole new look.

In some cases, of course, it might be time for more major upgrades.  There’s no simple answer that’s right for everyone.  But if you do choose to make major upgrades, here are two things to keep in mind.

First, although doing it yourself is a great way to save money, be careful.  Over the years, I’ve seen more than one amateur remodeling job that actually reduced a property’s salability.  So if you’re more handsome than handy, know your limitations.

Second, choose projects that give the best return on your investment, and make sure they’ll appeal to the widest range of buyers.  This means, for example, that kitchen and bath upgrades are a better choice than whirlpools or saunas.  And no pink paint, even if it’s your favorite color.

All remodeling projects cost money; if you’re about to sell, the investment may not be worthwhile.  Occasionally however, some properties definitely benefit from a facelift.  And sometimes that extra “wow” can really help a property stand out from the crowd.

The bottom line?  It depends.  Every situation is different.  But in today’s market, you need to make sure your home is in the best possible condition. If it’s time to replace the roof shingles, do so. Fix a leaky faucet or cracked window. Make sure everything is in tip top shape. Clear out the clutter. If you want your property to sell within a reasonable amount of time, you can win on  “wow.”

If beauty is important in the current market; price is even more important.  If your home or cabin is in great condition but not priced appropriately, it won’t sell. Simple as that. Price is determined by the market, not by how much you think it’s worth or how much you need to get to make your next move.

Local market conditions determine the price at which a property will sell. A home that’s clean and in good repair and priced appropriately will stand the best chance of selling sooner rather than later.

Looking for NW Wisconsin homes for sale? As your NW Wisconsin Realtor, I’ll assist you with all of your home buying and selling needs. Start your search for local listings in the communities of Gordon, Wascott, Solon Springs, Barnes, Minong, and other area communities in Douglas County, Washburn County, Bayfield County, and Sawyer County. Lake homes, country homes, waterfront land, hunting land, recreation land. First time home buyers, repeat and move/up home buyers. Luxury homes.

So, if you are thinking of selling real estate in NW Wisconsin, call Jean Hedren, Edina Realty NW Wisconsin, 218-590-6634. Email: jeanhedren@edinarealty.com. I’ll be glad to help.

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