Posts Tagged ‘ selling your home ’

Low Cost Ways to Update Your Home

This is the time of year that many (non-distressed) sellers consider putting their home on the market here in the Boise Idaho area. Many of us are feeling the effects of the economy and can not afford to do expensive updates so here are a few inexpensive ways to update your home:

  • Install a new mailbox –nothing looks worse than a mailbox that has been beaten up by the weather and the mail carrier
  • Upgrade outdoor lighting– it does not have to be expensive, just new
  • Replace old doormats – you do not want the first item before a buyer steps into your home to be a worn out or filthy doormat.
  • Plant annual flowers –this adds instant color and fills in dull spots around the yard. Putting potted annuals by the garage and front door give a warm homey feel
  • Replace torn window screens – these are so easily overlooked by a seller but when buyers look out your windows the last thing you want them to see is a big hole in the screen
  • Fix or replace outdated faucets—fix them especially if they leak and replace if they are more than 10 years old. Remember, it does not have to be expensive just new
  • Re-caulk sinks and tubes –this simple job makes a sink or tub look like new but remember to properly remove existing caulk so the job looks clean
  • Buy organizational systems to reduce clutter—having little baskets that items can be put in and put away quickly before showings keeps the house looking neat
  • Place centerpieces on large counters –like the annuals in the yard, it gives the room a pop of color and a pleasant focal point

 Always remember that a buyer likes the home to look new and you can give that perception without busting your budget.  This does not mean you have to buy the top of the line items to update but be careful not to buy the cheapest items either or you will wind up replacing them before you even close the deal!

If you would like more tips on how to sell your home in the Boise real estate market area you can look at additional posts under the “Selling Your Home” category or go to my website (no sign up required):

Home Buyer Turn-Offs

There are some things that a seller does that can really repel potential buyers. In today’s market, a traditional seller has to compete against some pretty tough competition: banks and short sales. Both are below market type of listings but a traditional or what I call a “regular” seller does have some advantages.  A normal closing time and a relatively well maintained property are two of those advantages. But there are also ways that a seller can kill a deal. Tara -Nicholle Nelson of Trulia gave several reasons that I will share with you below along with my take on it.

1.-Stalker-ish Sellers. This one made me smile! I have shown houses where the seller insists on giving the tour. After all, they know their property best! Problem is most buyers want to be able to envision themselves in the home. Having the seller there in the same space makes that process very difficult. The buyer will no longer be paying attention to what they could like about the home because the seller is distracting them with little pieces of nostalgia that the buyer does not need or want to know.

Sellers, go for a walk or go to the store but whatever you do, just do not make your presence known while the buyer is looking at your home. If there is a lack of chemistry (kind of like dating) between you and the buyer, you could kill the deal before it even makes it to paper.

2. Keep it Clean – Sellers will be told this a dozen times but it really does make a difference. When buyers have seen the trashed bank owned and short sale properties it is such a relief to see a well cared for home.  So clear the clutter, straighten items up (laundry, dirty dishes, toys, etc.) and try not to have any offensive odors lingering in the home (cigarette smoke, stinky food, dirty cat boxes,  wet dog,etc.).

3. Pricing – It used to be location, location, location that sold a home. Today it is pricing, pricing, pricing! It is hard when your home is in better condition than the distressed property but pricing your home like it is 2006, regardless of the superior condition, will not get you a buyer. Actually, overpricing indicates to the buyers that you are either testing the market or will be unreasonable to negotiate with.  Have your realtor do the comps with and without the distressed properties and then figure on a price that meets in the middle.

4. Bad Home Improvements– If you are going to take the time and money to do an improvement, do it to sell and not for your personal liking. Use neutral or warm toned colors that will appeal to a majority of buyers, not your favorite shade of pink “because you still have to live there until it sells”! I am always amazed at what some sellers consider improvements (which makes me wonder how bad did it look before?).  If you know you are going to sell soon and are going to update or upgrade, get a professional opinion from either a home decorating store, paint store or your favorite realtor (most realtors actually do know what the current trends are!). You want to make sure that you will get a return on your money so choose wisely. Remember, any job worth doing is worth doing well and doing smart!

5. Listing Photos– Listing photos are so important and yet are so over looked! The internet is generally where most buyers view the homes that they would like to see before they ever get in the car. A bad photo will have them clicking the “next” button to see a different home. If your realtor does not have a decent camera, they should be hiring a professional to take the pictures. And make sure that you the seller see and approve the pictures first and have the realtor show you what your listing looks like on the MLS and internet.

One more item that is also overlooked and that is showing availability. Many buyers have a limited time when they are out looking so don’t make it difficult to schedule a showing. Most buyers are understanding but if they have to arrange the entire schedule of properties to see around yours, they may just skip you all together.

If you would like additional tips for selling your home in the Boise Idaho real estate market please see my other posts under home selling tips or go to my website (no sign up required):

Why You Should Use a Realtor When Selling Your Home

There are some sellers who feel that they do not need a Realtor to sell their home. After all what does a Realtor do that they can’t?  Plus they will save on commission and get a lot more money at the table, right? Well, no, not really.

A few months back a friend of mine wanted to list his house in Boise for sale but he had another friend convince him that he could do this himself. He did ask my opinion on price and I gave it to him – $159K. Well, he felt that was way too low and he did some of his own research and decided it would go on the market for $189K.

I advised him that the price was too high for his subdivision and since he was doing this as a FSBO, the price should be even lower than the $159K.(Nothing makes me laugh more than when I see FSBO’s higher priced than homes that are using a realtor!) He would not listen to me and so proceeded to make one mistake after another in trying to sell the home. Here are a few of them:

1. Listed it almost $30k higher than market value (was in denial that it was a buyers market)

2. Did costly and unnecessary work such as put a new roof on which cost him $6k, all new carpeting -$5k and new paint $1k. (Now he was $12k down on this deal already)

3. Only listed it with a FSBO company

4. Did not lower his price until the property was on the market for 5 months (with only a handful of showings)

After the property was on the market for 7 months he decided he would list it with a real estate company (his friend talked him into using a Realtor that they liked and yes, I am still actually friends with him!) He lowered the price to – $159.9K  (shocker). It sold within 2 weeks at $155K in a cash deal.

Now had he listened to me to start with he would have listed it at the $159K price, would not have done the $12k in work he thought was going to attract a buyer, and he would not have had to pay 7 more mortgage payments.  

So why use a Realtor? Two very important reasons (there are more but this post is already way too long!):

1. Pricing- In this market it is all about pricing and if you are not a distressed seller you must know how to figure out pricing! A Realtor can do this with a thorough Current Market Analysis.  Price your home incorrectly and it is going to sit.

2. Marketing- Listing your home with a realtor puts you in front of thousands of buyers and realtors. Doing a FSBO is like yelling from your front door that your home is for sale. Your neighbors will know, but not many others.

Also, according to the National Association of Realtors, only 1 in 10 homes that sold in 2010 were FSBO.  The median price for a FSBO was  $140K and ones sold using a Realtor sold for $199.3K.

So if you are thinking about selling your home, I highly advise using a Realtor (and if you are in the Boise area please use me!). It will save you time and money in the long run.

For more information regarding selling your home in the Boise, Idaho area or if you would like a Current Market Analysis of your home, please go to my website:

Real Estate Seller Trends

Yesterday I wrote about Real Estate Buyer Trends so today I will focus on Seller Trends. Once again this information comes from Brian Buffini’s Real Estate Report. Here are some interesting seller trends, facts and demographics from 2010:

The Typical Seller’s Median Age: 49

Where Did the Seller’s Move?:   

 50% Traded

28% Bought a comparably Sized Home

21% Traded Down

Why Did the Seller’s Move?:

21% home was too small

15% job relocation

Sellers usually moved 18 Miles from their previous home.

The typical home sold for 96% of the final asking price.

Median Home Price Received by Sellers:

Using a Real Estate Agent:    $199,300

Sold Directly by the Owner:  $140,000

Top 5 Home Improvement Projects with Best Return on Investment:                                                  

1. Cleaning and Decluttering                

2. Lightening and Brightening         

3. Home Staging                                              


5. Repairing Electrical/Plumbing     

Keep in mind that these numbers are median numbers on a national level and are probably different for you on a local level. Also, I found it very interesting that the homes sold by owner sold for less than the homes sold by a realtor. Even when you take the typical 6% commission out the realtor sold homes sold for more!

If you would like additional tips on selling your home in the Boise, Idaho area please go to my posts on “How to Sell Your Home in Today’s Market” and “Selling Your Home in the Winter”. If you would like a current CMA for your home in the Boise, Idaho area to see what the current value is please go to my website (no sign up required):

Article referenced: Brian Buffini’s Real Estate Report, Buffini & Co.

Selling Your Home in the Winter

I am asked by potential home sellers from time to time for my opinion as to when is the “best time to sell their home”. Many would naturally think that the spring is the ideal time to get their home on the market. But I personally think that while the outside pictures may look better, spring time is not the best time to put your home on the market for a few reasons:

  • Increased Market Inventory – Historically speaking, here in Idaho spring is a very popular time to put a home on the market. Many feel that as the weather warms up and the kids are getting out of school, more potential buyers will be out looking.  Now your home will be up against  not only the existing inventory that did not sell over the past few months but all the new listings as well.
  • Less Serious Buyers – With increased inventory also comes an increase in potential buyers but not all those that are out looking are going to buy. As stated earlier, as the weather warms up more people like to go out and look.  It is almost like a spring time ritual to go around to open houses and see what everyone elses kitchen looks like!
  • Reduced Pricing – Because the inventory picks up, the competition forces prices to go down (supply and demand). Now this may not seem like a huge price decrease but an extra $5k -$10k at the closing table is always welcome!

While some may argue that you have a better chance to sell in the spring, keep in mind that the spring is a short window (mid March to the end of May here in Boise anyway).  Then the potential buyers all seem to go on vacation till August. So why do I think the winter time is a great time to list your property? For the opposite reasons listed above:

  • Decreased Inventory- Many sellers pull their homes off the market to avoid having to have showings during the holidays (November to Mid-January). This is when your property will stand out with fewer homes to compete against.
  • Serious Buyers– The buyers that will brave the Boise  area inversions are serious! They have to find a home and will do so regardless of the weather. Yes, you may get fewer showings but just know that the ones that do look are looking to buy. If selling your home during the holiday season does not appeal to you, putting it on in January will still give you an advantage.
  • Stable or Increased Pricing – Now particularly in this market, I am not saying that pricing is going to be a lot higher but because inventory is lower (supply and demand again), less competition will keep you from having to continually lower your prices (although pricing your home correctly to start with avoids the problem of having to lower it at all!).

There are many realtors who may not agree with my assessment but in todays current market I think the winter market has even more merit. More than half the homes on the market are short sales or bank-owned. Many buyers are becoming weary of this market and appreciate a “normal” seller. Short sales and bank owned properties do not come off the market till they are foreclosed or sell (note: bank owned have already been foreclosed). So with a good chunk of the “normal” market getting out until spring, your chances are even better! 

I hope you will look at the winter market in a whole new light! The winter is not as gloomy as you think! And as always if you have any questions or need help finding real estate in the Boise, Idaho area please feel free to contact me! or

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