Cornerstone Business Group, Inc., Your Home Buying / Selling Advantage

Cornerstone Business Group, Inc., Your Home Buying / Selling Advantage

Cornerstone Business Group, Inc., is a unique real estate brokerage in the north-western top of the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. It’s a unique company in many ways. Cornerstone Business Group, Inc., Your Home Buying / Selling Advantage

The company began in 1992 as an investment company with a property management division. The only properties in the company portfolio were placed there through the creative investment efforts of Mike and Elizabeth Cooper, the company president and vice-president. At that time, the company did not manage properties for owners outside of the company.

In 2004, Mike became a licensed real estate salesperson for United Country Golden Rule Realty in Winchester, VA. The years that followed brought buyers who were also investors asking Cornerstone to manage their properties. That was the beginning of a widening of the Cornerstone management division. 

In 2011, Mike Cooper became a Virginia real estate broker, and Cornerstone Business Group, Inc., became a real estate brokerage with a property management division. In the years since, Cornerstone has added staff and more real estate agents. Another uniqueness of the company is that some of those agents are also real estate investors. 

The Cornerstone Business Group, Inc., differences beneficial both buyers and sellers.

The investment background of Cornerstone gives its clients an advantage in the hotly contested real estate market. As investors, we have grappled with many competitive real estate deals with a great deal of success. A buyer who is willing to enter into a multiple contract situation wants skilled negotiation advisers on his/her side. It may be the difference between success and failure.

Another major aspect of Cornerstone Business Group, Inc., is that the leaders of the company are also Virginia state contractors. Every home we view is looked at through a contractor’s eyes.

If there are issues a buyer needs to know about, they will be pointed out immediately during a showing. If there are things that are not that relevant to a buyer, but they catch the buyer’s attention, they will also be discussed from a contractor point of view. 

Our goal at Cornerstone, is to make sure every buyer gets the best deal, on the best home he/she can afford. We want to make sure the home is well-built, safe and solid before a buyer writes a contract.

As investors, we look at homes differently. We’re looking for value and return on investment. As contractors, we’re looking for value based upon construction quality and future sell-ability. 

At Cornerstone, we’re salespeople, we’re investors and we’re contractors. We know real estate from the foundation up and we know property values in today’s market with an eye on future value. When you’re ready to buy your next home, or you’re ready to sell your current home, give Cornerstone Business Group, Inc., a call. We are your local real estate sales pros.

Cornerstone Business Group, Inc., Your Home Buying / Selling Advantage

This post was originally posted in Cornerstone Business Group, Inc.; Your Home Buying / Selling Advantage.

5 Seller Tips to Sell Your Real Estate Fast

5 Seller Tips to Sell Your Real Estate Fast

Seller tips can be goldmine if sellers listen, learn and use them. No one wants to have his home sit on the market for six months, or more, but it happens too often. There are simple things that sellers can do to maximize their ability to sell in any market.

Seller Tips – 1

5 Seller Tips to Sell Your Real Estate FastLook at your house like a buyer. It’s too easy to overlook little issues in a home you live in everyday. For instance, that beautiful light fixture in your 20′ tall foyer was stunning when you moved in. Its brass frame sparkled with its 32 light bulbs showering light on the area below. Today, it’s dusty, it has 18 light bulbs burning, and it is dated. You loved it when you moved in, but today, brass is out, bulbs are out and buyers are out.

Simple things like that light fixture can turn buyers off quick enough that they don’t make it to the second floor. I had multiple buyers skip the second floor of a home because of the things they saw on the first floor. Look at your home through a buyer’s eyes. What needs to be updated, repaired or replaced to make your home relevant in today’s market?

Seller Tips – 2

Choose your flooring carefully. I admit it, I’m not a laminate fan, but I’ve seen a few floors in the past year that have encouraged me to re-think my position. Avoid cheap laminates that you can buy at discount stores. Look for ones that are thicker single board laminates. Gauge the price of a laminate floor against a pre-finished hardwood. Hardwood floors will always give you more return on your investment, but they can be expensive. Have estimates done on both and you might be surprised at how much more affordable hardwood floors can be with competitive bids.

Take an honest assessment of your carpet. If your carpet can be professionally cleaned to bring back its luster, do it. Remember to include the stairs and edges. Some carpet cleaning companies charge a little extra to do edges, but it’s money well spent. If you don’t, dark lines will appear against the base trim, and that turn buyers off. If your carpet needs to be replaced, do it.

Seller Tips – 3

Make sure you paint inside your closets. As an investor, one of the first things I always do when viewing a house is to look in the closets. You can tell where the house paint colors have been in the past by looking at the closet walls. A high percentage of buyers do not paint the closets when they paint their bedrooms.

I look at the closet ceiling as soon as I open the closet door. It can be a great place to see if the house has had a roof leak in the past. Because people tend to leave their closets alone during a paint job, wet stains will stay on the ceiling. Paint the closets!

Seller Tips – 4

Landscape to improve curb appeal. A beautifully manicured and landscaped yard gives a buyer a sense of pride of ownership. A homeowner who takes the time to make her lawn appealing probably has done the same with other aspects of the home. It is a first impression benefit, and with the advent of YouTube, you can learn how to do just about anything. Watch a few videos to see what is most appealing to home-buyers, and then get to work.

Seller Tips – 5

Live in a museum. I’ve had friends whose homes looked like they were museums. Everything was in place all the time. The shelves and ledges were always dusted and spotless. The floors were always clean and shiny. The counter-tops looked like no one lived in the house. Bathrooms were fresh and staged with the proper towels, wash cloths and hand towels. Their beds were always made, and the air was fresh but not perfumed.

When your home is on the market, you want it to have a wow affect. When a buyer walks into a well staged, clean and flawless home, his/her juices begin to flow. Suddenly, he/she can imagine living there. You always want to make sure you don’t do anything that will detract from your home’s value and amenities.

When you’re ready to sell your Winchester – Frederick County, VA home, be sure to give Mike Cooper a call. Mike is your local real estate sales pro.

5 Seller Tips to Sell Your Real Estate Fast

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Home sellers, ask these questions before hiring a Realtor.

Home sellers, ask these questions before hiring a Realtor

Home sellers, ask these questions before hiring a Realtor. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a list of priority questions to ask Realtor candidates before hiring one? Absolutely. Home sellers, ask these questions before hiring a RealtorUnfortunately, a lot of homeowners don’t know what questions to ask.

For instance, if you only look at an agent’s production, does that tell you the story of the agent? Not really. An agent may have 50 listings in your community, and you may see his/her signs everywhere, and I can promise you if an agent has that many, he/she is selling homes. What that number doesn’t tell you is how many went into foreclosure, short sale or never sold. Some agents will take any, and all, listings no matter the condition of the property or the price required by the seller.

What you want to look for is quality. Does the agent really know the market? Does he get along with other agents? Can he negotiate? Does total sales really mean an agents is the best? An agent may sell 25% less, or even 50% less than the top producer’s number of sales, but his/her clients received 98% of the desired final sale price. Where as, a top producer may only deliver 88% – 92% of the desired sale price. Which one would you want working for you?

Sample questions, home sellers should be asking

  1. How long have you been in the business and how many companies have you worked for? This is important because an agent who has been in the business for 10 years and has worked for 10 companies needs to explain the company hopping. Is there something in his/her personality that makes him/her difficult to work with? Every company can’t be a terrible place to work. Every agent has to be able to work with other agents, lenders, home inspectors and closing companies to get a sale done.
  2. Do you prefer working with buyers or seller, and are you comfortable working with both? This is important because some agents do better on one side of the fence or the other. My ratio is about 60/40. I work with more buyers than sellers, but I’ve had great success with sellers too. It just happens that more buyers call than sellers. In some cases, an agent prefers working with sellers. Or, an agent only works with buyers. I recently had a house under contract with a great couple who needed to sell their home in another community. We had originally talked about Cornerstone handling both ends and I was happy and confident that would could do so successfully, but in a last-minute change of mind, my buyers decided to list with an agent in their community that boasted she only sells in their community. That was enough to convince them that she was a superstar who knew how to get things done. She didn’t. Their deal with me fell through because their listing agent didn’t get their house sold. Actually, it was hardly ever viewed, and they lost the funds they had spent on a home inspection, plus they tied up a seller’s house for 45 days. When it was all over they realized that their listing agent didn’t represent them well at all.
  3. How many homes did you sell last year? Now, this can be deceiving. An agent who works on a team may be the team leader taking credit for every sale. He/she may have sold 10, but he/she takes credit for 50. Or, an agent may have a threshold price-range that he/she will not go below. An agent doesn’t need to sell a lot of $500,000 homes to have a nice income. So, he/she may choose to only sell a dozen in a year. On the other hand, an agent may sell a lot of $75000 homes. It takes a lot of those homes to make a good living. The real number of homes isn’t really that important, but I put that question in this list because you want to make sure the agent is selling something. If the agent said 2, or zero, you may have picked the wrong agent. That isn’t always the case, but if you need to sell, and you if you want to stay as close to your list price as possible, 2 may be a sign of inexperience, and you may need a more experienced agent.
  4. Have you had any clients go into foreclosure, have a short sale or not sell while you had their home listed? If the answer is yes, and if it is more than one, you may have an agent who will take any and every listing just to get a sign in the yard. Hundreds of signs give the impression that the agent smiling on the sign is highly desirable. The signs tell the story. Not always. I see some of these listings end up in foreclosure and short sales. If an agent is willing to take any listing at any price just to plant a sign, the odds are not in your favor that he/she is going to care about your sale. This is not a negative for these agents, it’s a business technique they find useful, but is it the best technique for you?
  5. Home sellers, are you comfortable communicating with me the way I choose? With the wonderful electronic devises we have today, communication should never be a problem. The only problem is the want to. Some of my clients want communication even if nothing is happening. Some, don’t want me to contact them unless something is happening. It is different client by client. With modern technology, there is no reason for a seller to feel like he/she is in the dark. A quick text, email or call only takes a minute.
  6. What method do you use to market property? In my market, the local paper and the Homes guide only make up 1-2% of sales annually. Why would an agent waste money on something that performs that poorly? What other methods could work? The Internet is a fantastic tool for marketing real estate. Estimates show that 89% of buyers find the home they want on the Internet before contacting an agent. What works best in your market?

Home sellers, the list could go on and on, but you get the idea. Picking a solid listing agent may be more than how many homes he/she sells. There are other factors that should come to play. I had a potential client recently send me a questionnaire before deciding on who he wanted to hire. Unfortunately, many of his questions really didn’t tell him anything about the agent he would choose. He had the right idea, but his efforts followed a traditional path and not a path to an effective decision. Don’t be afraid to ask your agent candidates tough questions. After all, it is your future you’re protecting, not theirs.

Home sellers, ask these questions before hiring a Realtor

Clarke County, VA third quarter real estate report – 2016

Clarke County, VA third quarter real estate report – 2016

Clarke County, VA saw a steady climb in real estate sales in the third quarter of 2016. The county had 65 sales in the third quarter compared to 55 sales in the third quarter of 2015. That is a 15% increase year to year.

Clarke County, VA third quarter real estate report - 2016Clarke County, VA is made up of two towns, Berryville and Boyce, and 24 unincorporated communities. It’s about 178 square miles including 176 square miles of land and 2.2 square miles of water. Clarke County, VA is the third smallest county in VA. The population is about 13,000 residents.

Getting to know Clarke County, VA

It is bordered by Frederick County to the west, Warren County to the southwest, Fauquier County to the southeast, Loudoun County to the east, and Jefferson County, WV to the north. The population is about 15,000 residents. It is nestled just west of the Blue Ridge mountain range.

Clarke County, VA is a quiet rural town with quick access to many major highways. Routes, 7, 340, 50, 277 and 17 are all within minutes of Town of Berryville, which is the seat of local government. It is a predominately agricultural and horse community. Clarke County, VA was also the home of former governor and state senator Harry F Byrd, Sr., who also served as an US Senator for thirty years.

Clarke County, VA is full of history. The community was the site of a supply train raid by John Mosby against General Sheridan in 1864. It was also the scene of the Battle of Berryville on September 3, 1864.

Clarke County, VA is a great place for commuters

The place of Clarke County, VA makes it an excellent site for commuters who choose to work in the Metro DC area. With Rt 7 and Rt 50 on each perspective border, a commuter can be in Sterling, Ashburn, Fairfax, Falls Church, or even Washington, DC within an hour or less.

The Clarke County, VA real estate market is made up of all types of homes. The most recent quarter had an average sale price of $440,289 at 130 average days on the market. That’s a 14% increase in average sales price since the same period in 2015. The number of distressed sales during the third quarter has dropped from 10% in 2015 to 7% in 2016.

When you’re ready to buy or sell in Clarke County, VA, be sure to give Mike Cooper, principal broker at Cornerstone Business Group, Inc., a call. Mike is your local real estate sales pro in Clarke County, VA.