Don’t Get Stuck in Downsizing Limbo

Whew! You made it. You have raised your family, saved for retirement, and finally got the last shutterstock_30826156child out of the house. That moment you have been waiting for has arrived. You can finally start the plan of downsizing. You have dreamt about it since your five kids were in five different after-school activities in five different places. You daydreamed about it each time you wrote that college tuition check. So now that you have made it past all of life’s hurdles, let’s look at the best way to downsize, without getting stuck in limbo.

The biggest part of downsizing is selling your current home, right? Putting your house up for sale and dealing with the headaches of long listings, low offers and tire-kickers are half of the stress created when you downsize (the other half is dwindling down your belongings, but that is another topic for another day).  When these variables come into play, it easily turns the plan of downsizing into a plan of “Are we sure we want to do this?”.  With long listing times, it will be easy to wonder if this is really what you want to do, and it allows the task of moving and locating a new home less of an exciting new adventure and more of a cumbersome task. So when you start to look at ways to best sell your current home in a timely manner, take the following into consideration when choosing a real estate company:

  • Knowledge – Henry Ford once said that “when you hire people who are smarter than you are, it proves you are smarter than they are”.  Doing your homework on potential agents is your way of being smarter. Don’t trust this job to Aunt Sue’s neighbor’s niece, who just got her real estate license, or your best friend’s new brother-in-law who sells real estate part-time. And don’t just hire any agent, hire one with proven results that will advise you the best way to sell your home quickly and for the most money.  If they sound like all the others, they are not the right one.
  • Marketing – The home you are looking to sell is probably the largest investment you own.  So why would you hire an agent that won’t make a marketing investment to assist you in selling? One complaint sellers have with real estate agents is they put up a sign, maybe put in on the MLS and then they wait.  Then you feel like you are waiting on something that isn’t going to happen,  Ask potential agents how will they market and promote your property to insure potential buyers are aware you are selling.  Don’t be afraid to ask the hard questions. And look for agents who offer something “outside the box”.  Someone who is innovative with multiple marketing strategies will most likely be the most successful in selling your home.
  • Communication – Nobel Prize winner for Literature, George Bernard Shaw said, “The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”  And this is the single largest complaint about real estate agents.  Because after they put up their sign and start the waiting game, you don’t hear from them again until right before your listing ends, asking you for more time.  Make sure your agent choice is communicative, even when there really isn’t anything to report.  And if communication is promised, hold them accountable.  Find out why they are not following up with you on a regular basis and remember those encounters if your home doesn’t sell.

So when you look at these three characteristics, you are really hiring a smart, talkative marketing agent not just someone with a real estate license.  And by incorporating that thinking and carefully choosing a real estate company, you are more likely to quickly be on your path of determining what furniture and dishes can make the trip with you to your new, downsized location.  Otherwise, you will get stuck in limbo and the only place you will be going is nowhere.

Code Blue – Need a Real Estate Professional, Stat!

shutterstock_233054065-2In the real estate profession it can sometimes be amusing when friends or acquaintances will try to explain why they are trying to sell their real estate themselves – For Sale By Owner (FSBO).  I guess they think we will be offended they chose to do it themselves instead of hire a professional, who could expertly lead them through the difficult process of selling real estate.  But the part that is most humorous is they will typically ask you for some bit of advice about selling their property, which begs the question of why they just don’t hire you in the first place.

According the National Association of Realtors, 22% of property owners will attempt to sell their property themselves.  Only 8% of them will be successful.  Of the ones that are successful, the price they achieve is typically 16%, on average, less than those prices achieved when a real estate professional is selling the home.  A lot of people who sell for themselves will think they are saving the commission that will be charged by the professional.  I am pretty sure that most real estate professionals do not charge 16% commission.  And remember 16% less is the average, that means some properties sold well below the value that could have been achieved by a professional.

And what about marketing the property?  Most for sale by owners will place a sign on the property and might run an ad in the paper.   Again, according to statistics when buyers are looking for property only 9% said they found it by signage, and only 1% found it through print advertising.  In contrast when owners were asked their main method of advertising 42% said by placing a sign on the property.  In today’s market over 44% of buyers said they found the property they were looking for online and an additional 33% said they used a real estate agent to assist them.

A real estate professional can be the difference between life or death for the sale of your property. They will evaluate your property compared to others in the area, they will be familiar with the sales trends for the market and will know how to value your property.  They will also be experienced in assisting you through the contract negotiations, which can be daunting at the very least.

If you needed heart surgery, you surely wouldn’t watch a YouTube video and start operating on yourself, you would find the most trusted heart surgeon available.  Do the same with your real estate, allow it to be handled by a professional!


Auction Knowledge – Knowing the Facts

shutterstock_128368295They say that fact is better than fiction, and knowledge is power. With this ideology, let’s take a look at fact versus myth (opinion) when it comes to how auctions work and who they work for. What do you want to know about the auction method of selling real estate?  Do you think that it is simply a method for foreclosed and bank-owned properties? Do you think it is only for distressed sellers? Do you think you can’t buy at auction? These are some of the most frequent questions and concerns we hear. So, in the words of Sergeant Joe Friday, “Just the facts, ma’am.”

The auction method of selling real estate continues to grow and gain popularity.  According to the Wall Street Journal, the sale of real estate at auction has increased by 120% over the last five years.  That is a lot of increase.  There could be multiple reasons for this increase.  One is the quick time in which a property can be sold and closed is very appealing to sellers.  Another, is that auctions are better accepted by a wider audience of potential buyers, not just the “cash kings”.  And finally, people are beginning to see that auctions are just a method that come with a unique marketing strategy that allow a property to stand out from the others.

The question I hear most when we are selling properties is “Does a bank own this property?” or “Is the seller fixing to lose the property?” And 95% of the time, the answer is no to both questions. While we do sell properties for banks and financially strapped sellers from time to time, the largest majority of our sellers are folks just looking to sell their property quickly, for the highest price.  This is accomplished by a combination of effective marketing and competitive bidding.  So far this year, our firm has sold 100% of the ten properties we have offered through an online bidding method and three of those properties were sold before the auction (yes, you can do that!).

“I can’t buy at auction, I don’t have cash!”  Ten years ago, this might have been a more true statement.  The main goal of auctions was to sell the property quickly and that typically meant to a cash buyer.  However, as the popularity of auctions have evolved, so have the terms of the sale, to make them more attractive to a larger pool of potential buyers.  Properties used to be offered in 30 days, with maybe one open house, always sold “As Is”, with twenty percent down on auction day and close in 30 days.  That was basically the rule.  But a crashed economy and rebounding real estate values have changed that perspective.  Now not only do auctions help people sell property fast, but for top dollar.  And top dollar is reached through competitively bidding buyers.  We have engaged more buyers by lessening the amount due on auction day, allowing more closing time, and offering several open house and viewing dates to allow the buyer ample time to complete their due diligence before they bid.  So now, not only are sellers enjoying the auction method, buyers are actually looking at auction properties first and traditional listings second!

All of this information probably has you thinking.  It is probably not what you thought you knew about real estate auctions.  Hopefully we have debunked some of those fears you have about buying or selling at auction.  Things are not always as they appear, and they are not always as you have heard.  Did you know that Sergeant Joe Friday never said the words “Just the facts, ma’am.”? Nope, not one single time.  Because the words were used in a spoof of this character many years later, it stuck.  See how easy it is for myth to become fact!

Are People Competing for Your Property? Why Not….??

shutterstock_72609499When talking or meeting with potential clients the first question we are typically asked is “How much do you think my property is worth?” Now that, my friends, is a loaded question. Most sellers want some assurance that the price they have in mind is achievable and realistic. But we counter with what we believe to be the more important question, “What is the highest price that can be achieved for your property?”  Wait a minute, isn’t that the same thing you ask?  No, it’s not.

Wikipedia defines competition as a contest between two or more individuals. It is this reason that we believe that competition between parties stimulates the achievement of the highest possible price for a real estate property.  So instead of having one person at a time submit an offer on your home or property, imagine several people submitting offers continuously until one person edges out the rest of the competition with a price the others are unwilling to match.  This method proves to be exciting for the buyer’s participating and profitable for the seller.  It also provides a piece of mind that the property achieved the highest price possible.

Using this method of competitive bidding has proven successful for all types of properties.  We have sold homes, farms, recreational property, beach properties, timberland, various commercial and industrial properties and even a racetrack! Being able to now take the competitive bidding online has sparked an increase in participation of many of our bidding events.  Buyers can participate in the bidding no matter where they are with ease and comfort.  Just last year we sold a farm in West Georgia to a buyer who was bidding while on vacation in Mississippi and the back up bidder was en route to Hawaii for business.  Wow!

If you are in the market to sell your real estate, instead of wondering what your property is worth, let an online bidding event give you the comfort of knowing that the highest price was achieved by a good dose of competition.  Because you know what they say……..”A horse never runs so fast as when he has other horses to catch up and outpace.”

How Important is E-Marketing? Survey Says……

Surveys provide a wealth of information. Most recent political surveys will tell shutterstock_335902259you what candidate is in first place for the week. Fun surveys provide the key element for game shows… five answers on the board (I can hear Steve Harvey saying that in my head for the Family Feud). But they also provide insight into peoples habits. And it is those surveys that help us market properties.

Consider This.  Did you know a recent survey shows that 83% of real estate buyers want pictures of your property at their fingertips? And that 79% of real estate buyers want detailed property information before they will consider stepping on your property. And 43% of buyers want to see a video tour of your property before they make contact with any agent. Wow, how times have changed!

So how do these survey results effect the seller and the real estate team they hire?  Sellers will need to make sure their property is marketed in a way so buyers will find the information they are looking for at their fingertips.  Will the agent put multiple photographs of my property online?  Will those pictures be flattering to my property? (Pet Peeve Alert…. I cannot stand poor property photos).  Will the agent give detailed information about my property so that prospective buyers will be intrigued to consider my property?  And will the agent create a video for my property?  Do they even do that?

The answer to all of those questions at Hagen Realty Group is Yes, Yes and Yes. We take the time to prepare an E-Marketing campaign that will provide the most information possible to prospective buyers.  We take multiple photos, provide a detailed Property Information Package (PIP) and even create a video that is posted for 24/7 viewing.  In addition we utilize professional email services to send your property directly to thousands of email inboxes.

So the next time you hear “Survey Says……” know that the team at Hagen Realty Group already knows the answers!

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