Here are some great ideas for organizing your garden tools, pots, soil and everything that seems to pile up in the corner of the garage – at least that's what happens at our house. Where did that weed puller go?
From Martha Stewart and Home Depot, a great way to quickly get your tools organized: Trellis Organizer
Feeling handy? Build your own bench – plans.
Or you could just buy one – pottingbenches.com.
Here's a very nice explanation of how an irrigation system works from Rainbird. Who needs an irrigation system in the rainy Northwest, you might say? Pretty much anyone who wants a green lawn and non-stressed plants at the end of September – unless you're really into dragging hoses and sprinklers around your yard. Did you know the average rainfall for Seattle is only about 3" for July through September? Hardly makes up for the other nine months, but we'll take what we can get.
Selling a home is always an important task that has a lot of risks and rewards involved with it. With more than 89% of home buyers using the internet to do research and look at homes, the online marketing of homes for sale is critical.
In this article we will look at the 3 most important factors in online marketing of real estate and how they can be used to better market your property and get more people to contact your agent and then physically see your home.
According to the National Association of Realtors 2010 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, the 3 most important features of a real estate website for buyers are:
Photos of your home
Detailed information of your home
A Virtual Tour of your home
The key to successfully marketing your home online is to get potential buyers off the computer and into your home is using proven strategies of online marketing that are so often missing in real estate!
The first goal is to get buyers to contact your agent about your home; the second goal is to get buyers to contact your agent period so that the agent can schedule a showing of your home with the buyer.
Marketing Your Home to attract buyers
- Make sure that professional photos of your home are taken so that when buyers see your home online, the pictures show your home to its’ fullest potential. Tips for this include to make sure that there is good outside lighting and that interior lights are turned on, that everything is picked up so that there is no clutter in the kitchen, bathrooms, living room, etc. and that multiple pictures are taken of every room so that the best of each can be selected for the marketing of your home.
- Be sure that all the details of your home are given to your Realtor and that they use this in their marketing. More and more, buyers want information and data, and making sure your Realtor and buyers have all the information and data for your home is critical.
- Bring both the great photos and information about your home alive by having a virtual tour created that lets buyers get a sense of your home in a way that is impossible except to actually be there themselves.
Buyers will look at hundreds of homes online and it is impossible for them to see every one of them, even ones that might be exactly what they are looking for. By the time even a short number of homes have been viewed, it is easy for buyers to miss the fact that your home is one they should schedule a viewing with to see!
This is where using the principals of online marketing can help sell your home.
By offering buyers more information they likely want, your agent can get buyers to contact them and then schedule a showing with the buyer for your home. If the buyer never contacts your agent in the first place, then it is impossible for your agent to even attempt to schedule a showing of your property with potentially the perfect buyers!
This is why offers of other important information should always be made in the online marketing tools your Realtor uses.
Imagine a typical case of buyers looking at homes online:
Having looked at 25 other homes for sale, a buyer sees your home online, but is tired from seeing so many homes and quickly glances at a few pictures and almost instinctively clicks the ‘next’ button. Does this sound familiar?!
A way to get the buyer to stop and make contact with your agent is to make a number of offers for other information that will then allow your agent to schedule a showing of your property with the buyer.
Offers such as a list of homes for sale that meet their profile or a home market analysis (most people selling are doing so to buy another!) and so on.
By combining good photos of your home with all the information about it and creating a virtual tour and then putting that virtual tour all over the internet via the MLS and other online marketing channels available to Realtors combined with additional offers prompting buyers to contact your agent, the process of selling your home can be made easier and faster than otherwise possible.
As most Americans do, we recently took a family vacation. It wasn’t a long trip – just enough to make it feel good to be home again. As we opened the door and entered our house after our absence, we were struck by that familiar scent of “home.” Every house has one, you just get immune to it since it surrounds you every day. It’s that prolonged absence that lets you really notice it again.
Of course, you can smell someone else’s “home smell” as soon as you enter their house, too. And that can create a problem when trying to sell a house. Odors make huge impressions on people, as evidenced by an entire industry developed around using scent to affect shoppers’ moods and actions.
One of Barb Schwarz’s (one of the first “Stagers”) sayings is: if you can smell it, we can’t sell it. Of course, this refers to what most people would consider bad odors created by pets, mildew, etc. But it can also be an odor that you don’t even notice – either you’re desensitized to it or it just doesn’t bother you. What is offensive to one person may not be to another. However, as in all aspects of staging a home for sale, one must try to appeal to the majority of people. And that means having only nice scents in your home.
You’ve no doubt been to an open house before where the agent has baked cookies or put a pot of water on the range with cinnamons sticks in it to fill the house with yummy scents? Yes, they are trying to create a good scent impression.
There are simple things you can do to ensure that the first thought a potential buyer has when entering your home is not, "Ew, what's that smell!" First impressions encompass all our senses, including the nose. So don't let your errant "home smell" keep you from selling your house.
Ask your real estate agent to let you know if you need to deal with any odor issues before you list your home. Then you'll be you'll get more "ahs" than "ews".
Inspection or Appraisal –
These two terms may be a bit confusing so we thought we’d explain these different events. Both are very important in a real estate transaction, but serve different purposes.
An inspection is performed by a private home inspection company hired by the buyer. The purpose is to investigate the home and it’s systems to find if there are any repair issues. As the buyer, you do not want to buy a house and then find out that you need a new furnace, for example. An inspection may uncover both large or small issues, but does not guarantee that everything will be found. The idea is to be informed as much as possible so that you’re less likely to have a nasty surprise after you move in. A good inspector (we recommend using a licensed company) will evaluate all the major components of the home: roof, attic, crawlspace, foundation, windows, etc. They will take photos and prepare a detailed report. If they see something that is beyond their expertise, they will make a note calling for a specialist to evaluate (such as well testing). The cost of an inspection is about $400-500.
What are the possible results of an inspection? A good real estate agent will make sure that the buyer has an inspection contingency as part of the purchase contract. With that in place, if something major comes up in the inspection the buyer can either ask the owner for compensation or to make the necessary repairs. If the seller won’t agree, then the buyer can cancel the contract and still walk away with their earnest money intact.
An appraisal is performed by an appraiser that is hired by the bank in order to independently establish the market value of the home. The bank wants to ensure that the amount of money they are lending the buyer is not more than the value of the home. The buyer pays the appraisal fee as part of their closing costs. The appraiser will look at the house and compare it to other recently sold homes in the area to establish market value. If the appraised value of the home is less than the agreed upon sale price, the buyer has several options: ask the seller to agree to reduce the sale price, pay the difference between the sale price and the appraised value, or cancel the contract based on the financing contingency. The last option is to order a new appraisal in hopes of the appraised value coming in at the sale price.
So, while both activities may seem similar they serve different purposes. Both are essential to a successful closing and a good real estate agent will work hard to facilitate both processes.
Do it yourself
Plan A – Rental Truck, beverages, and pizza go a long way and is the most cost effective way I know to move. Now, if you’re older like me – oh, my back, my knees, my friends are all old, my kids either live out of town or can’t afford to take time off work to help, Plan A won’t work. So, plan B, you’re thinking is to rent a truck and hire some experienced people to help. The cost of your plan B won’t be much different from hiring a professional permitted mover in a competitive situation and is a lot less stressful.
The more you pack the less the mover will charge you. Couple of thoughts: Start packing the non-breakable items first and if you run out of time, use the movers for the breakable items. It is pretty hard to break a box of books or linens! On a local move you will save time and money by “staging” your home for the mover. I know, I know, after listing your home for sale, the word staging isn’t a fun word, but it can save you money.
When packing, use the 3 second rule: If you hold something in your hand for 3 seconds or longer trying to decide if it should go in the move or not – you DO NOT need it!! Less to move… Less it will cost! – have I already mentioned the word purge? On a local move consider using the mover to move only the big items and you move all of the boxes and smaller items.
Self Storage? Portable Storage? Mover’s Storage? What kind of storage is the most cost effective for you? How long will you be in storage? Look at your total cost not just 1 month of storage. What will it cost you to go into storage? Do you need access while it is storage? Is it important to your to maintain continuity in responsibility for potential damage? Answering those questions will guide you in the direction in which you need to head
Bottom-line… the more you do – the less your move will cost.