A Tale of Two Home Sellers: Which one are you?

A Tale of Two Home Sellers: Which One Are You?

I have a tale of two home sellers to tell you. Much like most tales, there are many details that are the same and some that are different throughout the story, but in this case, there is a happy conclusion. You see, these two awesome home sellers got what they wanted, but one fared better than the other. In this case, that seller wasn’t able to fare as well also had a handicap. Here’s the story:

A tale of two home sellers: Seller One

Seller One called about six months ago asking for me to help him find a new home and A Tale of Two Home Sellers: Which One Are You?then to sell his current home. I love those calls, and this one was no different. This seller had a plan. He planned ahead of time and was ready to keep his current home for a few months after buying a new home so he could do some renovations to get top dollar on his sale. This home owner was wise. He had a plan and his plan was awesome.

The seller meticulously painted his entire home. He made all the repairs needed and he upgraded the areas that needed an upgrade. The bathrooms were new, the kitchen was new and he installed all the curb appeal plants necessary to make those passing by take a second look. He cleaned the home from top to bottom and closed the door. Selling a home can cost money too, but the best return makes it money well spent.

His gifted and talented Realtor, entered amazing photos online, wrote incredible prose to woo buyers, set the price based on trends and above the comps, and in three days, a flood of buyers showed up offering multiple offers and all were full price offers with few concessions. It was difficult to choose which one. Finally, the best deal was chosen and the seller headed for a short sprint to closing.

A tale of two home sellers: Seller Two

A Tale of Two Home Sellers: Which One Are You?In our tale of two home sellers, Seller Two also had a wonderful home, but it had been sadly neglected. It wasn’t totally Seller Two’s fault. Seller Two had been transferred to another part or the country and had placed the property on the rental market. The home had been a rental for a number of years when I received the call.

Unlike Seller One, Seller Two was not able to make any repairs, upgrades or even paint. Seller Two’s property needed all of those things, but the distance between Seller Two and the property was too great to do much of anything. So, it was cleaned and it was made as presentable as possible.

The sale is about more than price.

The price was set at the top of the market knowing it would likely be negotiated down. A realistic and honest description was placed in the listing service, letting buyers know they would need to do a little TLC, and it was launched. Much like Seller One, there was a flurry of activity in the beginning. Within a few days, multiple offers came in, and as expected, they were below list. Ironically, they were above the neighborhood comps, but they were within the trend-line for similar properties.

On day 5, a contract was accepted and the deal is heading to its own closing. The biggest difference between Seller One and Seller Two is the investment the sellers made in getting top dollar. Seller One received 100% of what he wanted from his sale. I think he might have been a little surprised at where I listed his house, and even more so that multiple people thought it was worth that number.

Seller Two also was a little surprised at where I listed, but the trend in that neighborhood was moving beyond the past 90 day comps. I listed at the trend line and the contract is above the 90 day comps. Both sellers received more than expected, but Seller Two received less than possible based on condition.

The moral of the tale of two home sellers

If you want top dollar for your home, do the necessary repairs prior to list. Make sure the paint is fresh and the floors are in excellent shape. Update outdated appliances. Clean, clean, clean, and make sure there is plenty of light. Manicure the lawn and remove anything thing that is distracting. Make the home woo buyers in the door.

When you’re ready to make that happen, give your Cornerstone Business Group, Inc., agent a call. We are your local real estate sales pros.



5 Tips for Selling Your Winchester – Frederick County, VA Home

5 Tips for Selling Your Winchester – Frederick County, VA Home

Selling your Winchester – Frederick County, VA home does not have to be difficult, and with a few simple tips, you can do it quickly and for top dollar. Selling your home starts well before you place it on the market. It’s a process, that if followed, can pay big dividends. Here are a few tips:

When selling your Winchester – Frederick County, VA home, remove obstacles.

What does that mean? Remove anything that will give the buyer a reason to drop the 5 Tips for Selling Your Winchester - Frederick County, VA Homeprice, low-ball the offer, send an encyclopedia of repair requests or just expect a better deal because of the overall condition of the home.

It would pay to have a home inspection before listing your home, but if you don’t want to do that, walk through the house and look for everything that isn’t working, isn’t right or isn’t appealing. This might need some work, but if you do it, you’ll gain at the closing table.

When selling your Winchester – Frederick County, VA home, forget it’s your home.

Walk into your home as a buyer. What would you ask the seller fix, change or improve? What would turn you away as a buyer? I realize you probably love your home, but if you can look at it as if you were going to buy it, what would you want to be different?

Somethings from the past are no longer popular in the present. For instance, wallpaper was a big 70’s and 80’s home improvement. Today, not so much. A buyer is likely going to remove it all. They are also going to calculate how long they think it’s going to take them to remove it all, and that number will influence their offer. If you have a few months before you list, remove it and paint. You’ll be happy you did.

When selling your Winchester – Frederick County, VA home, minimize before listing.

I recently showed a home that looked like it was staged. It wasn’t. The very smart couple selling that home went through and removed a large part of their belongings, left the best pieces and presented a magazine quality image for all would-be buyers. They received 6 offers in the first 48 hours of listing. It was a stunning home. Did it always look like that? Maybe, but with three little kids, I highly doubt it.

There are probably things sitting around your home that do not enhance the buyer’s experience. You want the buyers to come in and fall in love. You want them to be able to see themselves working in your kitchen, relaxing in your family room and enjoying every inch of the home. Remove unnecessary things that interfere with that dreamy experience.

When selling your Winchester – Frederick County, VA home, remember light and cleanliness are your friends.

5 Tips for Selling Your Winchester - Frederick County, VA Home

A well lighted home is a welcoming home. Make sure your windows allow as much light in as possible. Keep the windows clean. Before a showing, turn on all the lights that are necessary to navigate through the home, and just as a bonus, you may want to turn on a little low music, such as jazz, to go with the buyers through their tour. It’s a very nice touch.

Make sure the house smells clean. This is especially important if you have animals. Don’t use phony deodorizers. Their strong smell can make  odor-sensitive buyers turn around and head out the door. I’ve had buyers get sick from strong deodorizers, and it happens in an instant. I would urge you to not use them at all.

Keep the bathroom and kitchen appliances clean and smelling fresh. Drop a half a lemon in the food disposal and the other half in the kitchen trash can. You may want to spritz a few drops in the fridge as well. A gentle 10 minute cleaning each day (and it doesn’t have to be extensive) can keep you on track with smells and first impressions. Make sure dirty laundry is kept out of sight, as well as, dirty shoes. Keep everything in order. Remember, you’re trying to woo a buyer into falling in love with your home.

When selling your Winchester – Frederick County, VA home, make it easy to see.

I looked up a listing for a client a few years ago, and the listing instructions only allowed showings from 10:00 am – 1:00 pm on Saturday. Needless to say, we never saw it. It languished on the market for a long time and finally sold.

Buyers, like sellers, have different schedules. Some can come during the day, and some cannot. Some can only come on weekends. If you’re serious about selling your home, you’ll want to make it as easy to see as possible. That may mean inconvenience for you, but remember, it’s only temporary.

I always dislike taking a home off of my radar, but when I schedule three or four showings and they are turned down for reasons, such as, “The owner wants to rest this afternoon,” or “The owner doesn’t want to put his dogs away,” or “The owner is tired of people tracking through his house,” you can see how frustrating it can be for a buyer. I’ve heard all of those excuses, and I always remove the home from my show list. The owner is making it nearly impossible to see the home, and the buyers aren’t going to buy it without seeing it.

Make it easy to see, and when you do, leave. More than once in the past year, owners have hung around while I showed a home. They were visibly irritated that my buyers were in the home. Their hovering turned the buyers off and not a single buyer has ever placed an offer on one of those homes. Why? If the seller was that challenging with the showing, how much more might he be in a negotiation? No thanks.

When you’re ready to sell your Winchester – Frederick County, VA home, give Cornerstone Business Group, Inc., a call. We are you local real estate sales pros. We’ll do everything in our power to get you the best deal possible.

If you found this information helpful, you may also want to read these blogs on selling your home in Winchester – Frederick County, VA:

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Buying a house starts with getting your ducks in a row.

Buying a house starts with getting your ducks in a row

Buying a house starts with getting your ducks in a row. If you do, you’ll have a much smoother transaction with much less stress. Where do you start? Not with a Realtor.

Duck Number 1

Buying a house starts with talking to a qualified and reputable lender. There is no sense Buying a house starts with getting your ducks in a rowin riding around looking at houses if you don’t have a really good idea of what you can spend. Start with a lender.

A lender will look at your assets, debts, income and other resources to see what you can actually afford. You want to know that up front. Having that number in your head will keep you from looking at homes you fall in love with, but you can’t buy.

A good rule of thumb is to keep your mortgage payment 40% or less of your monthly income. Some lenders will allow you to go to 50%, but at some point, you end up house poor and no longer loving your beautiful new home. Find that magic number and then decide what you feel comfortable with. Carry that visit with your lender through to the pre-approval process. It is more attractive to a buyer than a pre-qualification.

The pre-approval from a lender means the lender has looked at your bank statements, tax returns and other documents that confirm your income and expenses. A pre-qualification is based on your word about your ability to buy. The hard copies of your statements give the lender the confidence to put a number on your pre-approval that he/she knows you can pay. Go with the pre-approval. 

Duck Number 2

Once you’ve found your magic number, stop spending as much money as you can. Don’t use your credit cards any more than you can pay off each month. Keep your debt low and paid consistently and on time. Don’t go out and buy a new car, a house full of furniture or anything else that would create a revolving monthly payment.

Pay your cell phone, your electric bill, your cable bill, your water bill, your car payment, your student loans, your credit cards, and any other debt you now have – on-time every-time from the day you meet the lender until you close on your house.

Duck Number 3

When buying a house, hire a qualified, responsive, interested, engaged and professional real estate agent. I use this long list of adjectives because not everyone meets this bar (and they should). Interview different agents to see if you feel comfortable with the person. Make sure your personalities flow together smoothly.

Find someone who has experience, and make sure they know how to work all phases of the real estate business. Ask questions. Don’t be afraid of offending them.They understand.This will be one of the biggest events in your life, and you want your agent to be an asset to you and not anything else.

Do a social media search for the agent your contemplating. Look at their Facebook page, website, Linked In page, and any other social media site Realtors may frequent. Google their name and see if they show up in the Google listings. See if there are good and bad reviews online. Remember, some bad review may simply be someone trying to derail the agent’s business for their own personal reasons, and some good reviews may just be family. But, if the reviews are consistent across the board, you may have found a match.

Duck Number 4

When buying a house, do your first home showings in the agent’s office. Narrow down your criteria so that you can spend your time fastidiously. Remember, driving around with a great Realtor looking at 100 houses is creating a deficit for the Realtor. The wasted hours spend looking at houses that have not chance of becoming your home are wasted hours and no income for the agent.

Narrow down your search in their office and then head out. I had two clients look at 60 houses a piece. They were back to back clients and it took three months to look at 120 houses. During those three months, I let multiple ready-to-buy clients go because I had appointments with those two clients. They both bought, but it is hard to tell how many other sales I missed while driving around looking at everything that caught their eye. Today, we narrow the showings down to a much lower number in my office before hitting the road.

With the high volume of photos, videos, Google Earth and other resources available on the web, buyers don’t need to run around looking at a high volume of homes. Many websites give such high quality data that a buyer can feel like he’s done a walk-through before seeing the house.

These are just the beginning phases of buying a house. There will be many more things that come into play as you narrow down your search and write a contract, but start at the beginning and you’ll be much happier with the results.

When you’re ready to make that purchase, give your Cornerstone Business Group, Inc., agent a call. We are you local real estate sales pros, and we will help you find that right house at the right price.

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Winchester-Frederick County, VA Home Sales for the First Third of 2017

Winchester-Frederick County, VA Home Sales for the First Third of 2017

The Winchester-Frederick County, VA home sales for the first third of 2017 have been Winchester-Frederick County, VA Home Sales for the First Third of 2017on a consistent growth trajectory. Sales have climbed 4% year to year, and there was a 2% drop in distressed property sales.  Currently, distressed property sales make up 9% of total sales,  and that has become an average based on total yearly sales for the past two years. The first third of 2016 included 11% distressed sales. It’s encouraging to see distressed property sales finding a floor after the high numbers during the recession.

Average Prices of Winchester-Frederick County, VA Home Sales

The average home price has also increased in the first third of 2017. Home prices have risen 4% over those of 2016. That brings the average home price to $256,607. The increase equates to $10,343 in 2017.  That is good news for sellers in both Winchester and Frederick County.

Home prices increase when inventory is low, and the current market has a “thinventory.” There are now 546 homes available on the Winchester-Frederick County, VA real estate market. The market operates best when the available homes average in the 500-600 range with the 500-550 range being the most aggressive and active.

In the summer of 2014, the market saw a large increase of available homes, and the market slowed considerably. The market today, is fast-moving and active with a high number of buyers and a low number of homes. It is becoming a seller’s market. That combination pushes the market up with multiple offers on many homes.

Where’s the highest level of activity

The Winchester-Frederick County, VA real estate market is made up of Winchester City and multiple communities which make up Frederick County. Frederick County surrounds Winchester City. On the southern side of Winchester is a small, but rapidly growing, community called Stephens City.

Stephens City is a perfect place for those who want quick access to just about anything and everything, but they don’t want the busyness of a bigger city. Multiple major highways pass through Stephens City, and some of those highways lead into the Washington, D. C. area. That has helped Stephens City, VA become a bustling bedroom community for the metro area, as well as, for Winchester-Frederick County.

Stephens City, VA made up 23% of the first third of 2017 real estate sales. That is down 2% from 2016, but that is negligible. A high volume of new homes are being built in the Stephens City area and more are projected throughout 2017. Of the 546 available homes in the Winchester-Frederick County, VA real estate market, 15% of those are available in the Stephens City area.

The Winchester-Frederick County, VA home sales are on track for another banner year.

For those watching the real estate market in Winchester-Frederick County, VA, you can breathe a sigh of relief. It looks like we’re back on track for another banner year. The dark days of the 2008 and beyond the recession genuinely seem to be behind us, and the future looks bright.

When you’re ready to buy or sell in the Winchester-Frederick County real estate market, be sure to give Cornerstone Business Group, Inc., a call. We are your local real estate sales pros.