The (Not-SO) Secret Selling Advantage
There are lots of great reasons to entrust the sale of your home to a professional agent instead of trying to sell it yourself, but here’s one guaranteed to grab your attention: Two new batches of research prove that agent-sold homes sell for more money.
According to the most recent Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers by the National Association of REALTORS (NAR), the average sales price for homes sold by their owners is $185,000, while the average for a home sold by an agent is $245,000 – a difference of $60,000.
Meanwhile, a study performed by Collateral Analytics, featuring :the most accurate method ever used to control for property differences,” compares the two approaches on an apples-to-apples basis. It found that, when a homeowner and a real estate agent sell similar homes, the owner-seller, on average, nets nearly 6% less money than an agent.
To put that second study into perspective, you need to understand that most real estate professionals charge a commission of about 6%. That means many owner-sellers take on all the work, worry and risk of selling their own home, only to net the same amount they would if they had paid an agent to handle everything.
New Online Resources Not Helping
For years there has been rapid growth in the number of online services and resources for homeowners who want to sell their home without the help of a real estate agent. However, researchers studying the issue note that the success rate for owner-sellers has remained stagnant for decades. Meanwhile, the number of homes successfully purchased with the help of a traditional agent just keeps growing (increasing 20% since 2001, according to the latest NAR research).
Why are agents so much more effective? These are some of the keys:
Spot-on Pricing – no one is better equipped to determine the best price for your home than an agent. They have all the best information, resources and processes.
Widespread Exposure – the only way to get your home listed on the all-important multiple listing services (MLS) is through a licensed real estate agent. Plus, agents share their sales listings amongst each other through their own corporate and social networks.
Valuable Advice – your agent will be able to tell you what, if any, home improvements/repairs are necessary to ensure a quick sale, as well as whether staging could help attract a better class of buyer. They can also recommend reputable contractors to carry out those tasks.
Salesmanship – showings will be scheduled and managed by your agent. All you have to do is keep the property clean and tidy.
Negotiation – your agent will also help you review all the offers from interested buyers, prepare counter-offers, weed-out unsuitable offers and negotiate the best final terms.
Paperwork expertise – your agent will properly prepare, explain and manage all of the contract paperwork, addendums, property disclosures, and other documentation associated with the sale.
When to Make Contact
For the best results, I encourage home sellers to contact me at least 60 days before they want to sell. Even if you haven’t found a new home yet, or you aren’t positive you’re going to sell, it’s important to get the agent/client consultation process started early.
Source: Windermere Real Estate March Home Update.
Fun Ideas for the Yard
If your yard is not living up to its full potential as a place for family and friends to relax, enjoy the weather, and gather for fun, then it’s time to get out there and make some improvements before winter sends everyone scurrying indoors again. Because the yards around most homes account for such a large part of the property, any updates to outdoor spaces can make a dramatic difference for the better – for your own enjoyment, as well as the future resale value. Here are seven yard improvements to consider:
A garden fountain can make your whole yard seem more sophisticated. The moving water is a great attraction for birds, plus, the sound effects are perfect for making the noise from surrounding streets, commercial districts, and noisy neighbors.
These water-less landscape features use carefully arranged stones to create the feel of flowing water in a nearly maintenance-free setting.
With the right lights staged throughout your yard, you can bring your whole garden into view, make outdoor paths and walkways safer, and highlight the best architectural aspects of your home’s exterior.
Family and guests love to gather in the kitchen (and cooks enjoy the company), so why not create an outdoor kitchen in your backyard? High-end versions often feature running water and natural gas. But less-expensive layouts can be created using bottled water and propane gas tanks.
While everyone loves the sun, your family and friends may not want to sit directly in it for hours at a time. Freestanding yard awnings (also called sun shade sails) offer an inexpensive way to create some respite. Made of colorful, fade-resistant outdoor fabric, they can be relatively easily stretched overhead across areas of your yard using cables, turnbuckles, and other inexpensive mounting hardware.
Connect a projector to your existing laptop, erect a temporary screen, and before you know it, you can be watching mainstream movies in your backyard.
WEATER-PROOFING PING PONG
That 1970’s favorite, Ping Pong, is more popular today than ever – and weather-resistant tables made specifically for the outdoors make it easy to bring the excitement of this paddle sport to your backyard.
Another favorite is the Fire Pit. Once dusk descends and the temperature drops, everyone loves to gather around a toasty fire pit – which is why you need to make sure it’s safe for all involved.
Choose Gas – A wood-burning fire pit is less expensive than a gas-powered model, but also much more dangerous. IF you do opt for a wood-burner, always keep it covered to contain sparks.
Place it in Open Yard Space – Fire pits do not belong on decks or balconies, nor under low-hanging branches. Place it on the ground, at least 10 feet from any structures, and surround the unit with stone or other non-flammable material.
Turn it off when there’s too much commotion – if children are playing near the fire pit, or there’s a lot of activity, simply turn the flame off or let the fire die down until things are calm again.
Source: Windermere Real Estate Home Update