Wendy Carson has been voted as a 2015 Super Real Estate Agent for the 9th year in a row! The Super Real Estate Agent contest is organized by Mpls.St.Paul Magazine and Twin Cities Business to assist Minnesotans in finding the best realtors in the area. All applicants to the Super Real Estate Agent contests are nominated by customers and clients, and are voted on by a group of industry experts.
The selection process, as described on the Super Real Estate Agent website, is as follows:
Using more than 550,000 pieces of data, our team spends over nine months identifying the winners:
1. More than 120,000 consumers are invited to make a nomination, including:
a. Recent homebuyers
b. Mortgage and title companies
c. Mpls.St.Paul Magazine subscribers
d. Twin Cities Business subscribers
e. Previously named Super Real Estate Agents
2. Agents are scored across nine criteria, screened for disciplinary actions against the State of Minnesota’s Department of Commerce license database, and reviewed by a distinguished panel of real estate industry insiders.
To sell or not to sell?
Or maybe the questions you should be asking is not so much whether you want to sell or not, because you know you need to, but how will your home get sold in today’s high tech marketplace and what should you consider doing in order to help get it sold?
Today’s real estate market has become more mobile and savvy with many people moving to different homes more often, either for new jobs or to be closer to family. But for those who have been in their homes for many years, the thought of moving and selling can be very daunting and overwhelming, and in a fast-paced marketplace, this task can seem virtually impossible to accomplish.
Selling in today’s market is VERY different than selling twenty or thirty years ago. Almost gone are newspaper advertisements which had previously dominated home sale advertising. Replacing it are high tech tools such as Facebook, Internet, Twitter, Blogs, Virtual tours, and more. Utilizing real estate brokers and agents who are familiar with these tools and technology is a step in the right direction to a successful selling process. So where do you begin?
There are many things you can and should do to successfully sell your home. Following is a list of questions that should be asked when considering what real estate broker and agent to utilize to help you make your sale a success:
1) Find a real estate agent and broker who understand how technology is used to sell properties. Make sure they are utilizing ALL of the most popular national real estate web sites such as Zillow, Trulia, Realtor.com, ReMax.com and more to advertise your property for national and even international exposure. Not all brokers provide these services or utilize these web sites.
2) Is the agent you will be using familiar with all of the current technology tools listed above? How often do they utilize those tools? If they are used only on high-priced listings, and you’re not one of them, you may be short changed. Ask.
3) Does the agent’s broker support those sites or does the agent have to load your home’s information to those sites themselves. If the agent does, do they have assistance in doing so? If they have to themselves, the likelihood of them doing so at all and/or in a timely manner is not very likely.
4) How often is your agent updating these tools to promote your listing?
5) How much experience does the agent you will be using have in the business? Have they sold your type of property before? Have they sold in your city before? How much do they sell a year (are they a high producing agent)? Do they know your market?
While your agent is helpful in getting your home sold, he or she are only part of the having a successful transaction. Believe it or not, what you choose to or not to do to your home before it goes on the market, also impacts the success of your sale. Following is a list of things that you should consider to assure your sale is a success:
1) What can you do to assist your agent in helping to sell your home? Does your home need to be updated? Are you in a position to make updates financially or personally? Can you paint white walls a color as white walls no longer sell a home due to how it looks on the Internet. If not, you need to price your home accordingly.
2) Are your kitchen appliances old? Do they need to be replaced? While they may be working, older appliances can make a kitchen appear dated. New stainless steel appliances can, in many cases, update a kitchen’s look without having to pay for new cabinets or counter tops.
3) Do you have clutter that needs to be boxed up and thrown, donated or sold? Homes show better if they look like a model, not lived in and cluttered.
4) Who can assist you in boxing up items to be thrown, donated or sold? If you can’t, and you don’t have relatives or friends who can help, there are many companies and organizations that can assist you for a fee. Ask your agent for a reputable recommendation.
5) Where will you be living next? Have you found that place? If not, who can assist you in finding that place? If you don’t know where you will be living, it’s more difficult to make a plan to move. Again, ask for your agent’s thoughts on where it is you should live next based on your wants, needs, desires and income. Once you’ve found that place, is it possible for you to move there before selling? If you are able to do that, you won’t have the hassles and stress of cleaning up and leaving your home for showings.
The most successful moves are made with a plan/timeline in place and with the assistance of a savvy professional. Make that call today to start your plan rolling.
What makes selling a home more stressful? Selling it in the middle of winter. The lawn is covered in snow, the weather is usually bad and, unlike summer, you have less time to show it off during daylight hours.
But not everyone has the luxury of waiting until the traditional spring or summer home-buying season to plant that “for sale” sign. And while it’s true that in most areas you’ll probably have fewer buyers during the winter, you will have less competition from other sellers.
Winter makes staging — the concept of showing your house at its best — even more important. If you do it right, you can really make your house stand out. Here are some tips to set the stage for a quicker sale
1. Keep snow and ice at bay.
If buyers can’t get in easily, the house won’t sell. That means keeping walkways and driveways free of the frozen stuff.
2. Warm it up.
Think warm, cozy and homey. Before buyers come through, set the thermostat to a warmer temperature to make it welcoming. If you have a gas fireplace, turn it on to give your home ambiance.
With a wood-burning fireplace, you’ve got to be a little more careful. If the house is vacant, don’t chance it. But if you’re still living there and will be there during the tour, it can be a nice touch.
3. Take advantage of natural light.
Have the curtains and blinds cleaned and open them as wide as possible during the daytime. Clean all the lamps and built-in fixtures, and replace the bulbs with the highest wattage that they will safely accommodate. Before you show the house, turn on all the lights.
4. Get the windows washed.
Windows are one thing that many sellers don’t consider. In winter, that strong southern light can reveal grime and make it look like the home hasn’t been well-maintained.
5. Play music softly in the background.
To create a little atmosphere, tune the radio to the local classical station. Turn it down so that you barely hear it in the background.
6. Make it comfortable and cozy.
Set the scene and help the buyers see themselves living happily in this house. Consider things such as putting a warm throw on the sofa or folding back the thick comforter on the bed.
7. Emphasize winter positives.
Is your home on a bus route or some other vital service that means it’s plowed or de-iced regularly in bad weather? Be sure to mention that to the buyers.
8. Set up timers.
You want your home to look warm and welcoming whenever prospective buyers drive past, so put indoor and outdoor lights on timers. Look at the outside lighting around the door. Is there enough illumination to make it inviting? If not, either get the fixtures changed or have new ones added.
9. Make it festive.
Even if you’re not actually going to be present, greet your buyers as if they were going to be guests at a party. Set up the dinner table with the good china and silver. First impressions are powerful.
10. Give the home a nice aroma.
The No. 1 favorite? Chocolate-chip cookies! Other popular scents: cinnamon rolls, freshly baked bread, apple pie, apple cider or anything with vanilla, cinnamon or yeast.
11. Protect your investment.
Some sellers (or their agents) will ask buyers to either remove shoes or slip on paper “booties” before touring the house. Make sure there is a large rug for future homeowners to take their shoes/boots off on. Many buyers like that, as it shows pride in ownership.
12. Use the season to your advantage.
While the holidays are over, you can still use winter wreaths and dried arrangements around the door to spark interest.
Your home is listed for sale, you have cleaned the carpets, painted the walls, de-cluttered, spiffed up the exterior, and landscaping, now it is ready for buyers. Maybe not! How’s your refrigerator? Buyers imagine themselves in your home when they have a showing. Kitchens and bathrooms are areas that can really make or break a deal because buyers want to see clean. You might be surprised, but about 3/4 of my buyers actually open the refrigerator and look inside. If it is dirty, has bad food, is over stuffed to the point of items falling out it sends a bad message. Do yourself a favor and take everything out of the refrigerator and freezer, give it a good wipe down, and put the items back in an orderly fashion. Maybe stick a box of baking soda in the fridge to absorb any unwanted odors. A buyer will be thinking of putting their own food in your refrigerator, so they want it clean. It is something most people don’t think about but it is worthwhile to have a clean and orderly refrigerator. At least, it can’t hurt!