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Selling Your Home.

by Doug & Gwen Campbell at Sun Bay Associates

Are you selling your home by yourself, or do you have a professional Realtor working for you?

A common question from many home sellers is "Why is my home not selling?"  If you are selling your home, either as a For Sale by Owner, or with the professional help of a Realtor, here are a few possible reasons the house is not selling.  These are all a part of the home staging process.

1.  It is priced too high.  Regardless of what you "want" to get for your house, the market is only going to pay what it is worth, in the marketplace.  You can see what the marketplace is doing by checking out our Market Insider feature.  The fantasy of finding that "one cash buyer who will pay my price" is just that, a fantasy.  Cash buyers have cash because they are smart with their money.

2.  People may not know it is for sale.  A For Sale by Owner is not really helping himself and as a rule makes about 12-16% less money than using a professional Realtor, who has access to many, many more sales and marketing outlets than a For Sale by Owner.

3.  Is there one little nagging issue that keeps popping up when buyers go through the house.  If you get a common thread from buyers that seems to indicate something wrong with the house, do not take the comments as personal insults, act on it.  Not everyone likes pink carpets, or avocado appliances, or that purple flowery wallpaper in the guest room.  If it is a regular comment, it could be stopping buyers from making an offer, even if unconscious.

4.  The house does not show well.  Are the lights one, the curtains open so there is plenty of light?  Is there the back of a couch blocking the way as soon as people enter the house?  The placement may be great for watching the TV, but it could give the appearance of a tiny living room.  Sometimes subtle items can kill enthusiasm for a house that otherwise would be perfect.  Simple home staging can make a huge difference in the presentation of your home.

5.  The buyer can never see themselves in this house.  Is the house cluttered?  Do you have too many personal photos on every inch of wall space?  Can people see the beautiful stainless refrigerator, or is every piece of art your child ever drew stuck on it?  Remove the clutter, it is costing money.

6.  How is the curb appeal?  Does the lawn need to be mowed?  Are the flower beds or shrubs overgrown, dead, or just plain neglected?  Does the front door need a fresh coat of paint?  Trim the grass and shrubs, it might make a difference that sells the house.

If you want to get an idea of what the market value of a particular home is, take a look at our free and automated market value estimator of any property you want to consider.

Try taking to heart these little home staging tips for selling your home.  It just might mean more money in your pocket quicker than if you do nothing.  And you probably should consider hiring a professional Realtor, in almost every case this will net you more money faster.

For Sale by Owner Negotiations

by Doug & Gwen Campbell at Sun Bay Associates

For sale by owner negotiations can be interesting.  Almost everybody who tries to be a for sale by owner, or FSBO, thinks that because they sold a house ten years ago, or have sold a dozen homes over their lifetime, that all that is involved is putting up a for sale sign and the buyer will make an offer, get accepted, and close.  Not so fast, my friend.

Almost anybody can get a contract.  It is after the contract that the sale actually happens.  First the for sale by owner negotiates with the buyer.  Buyers invariably think that because a house is a for sale by owner, or FSBO, that this is a garage sale opportunity and the seller will give the house away.  Of course, the seller feels he needs to get top dollar for the house and is asking for what he feels the house is worth, often not considering what the real market value may be.  So, the initial negotiations are between the seller - thinking he will get top dollar, and the buyer - looking for the proverbial "deal" offering a garage sale price.  And if the buyer has a Realtor, which the vast majority of buyers do, that Realtor represents the best interests of her buyer, so she is not going to let the seller get anymore than absolutely necessary.  If the FSBO is unrealistic in the price of the house, a professional Realtor will simply have her buyer find another house that is priced properly and not overpay.  After all, the Realtor is trained in negotiations, and has her finger on the pulse of the market, so she knows just about exactly what the house is really worth.  So, when the for sale by owner negotiations eventually work out, a price is agreed upon and everything is just peachy, right?

Not really.  Now, the Realtor who represents the buyer is going to have inspections done.  The seller now has to negotiate with whatever the home inspector found, and they will always find something.  Not to mention what the pest inspection turns up, whether it is simple wood rot, or a major termite infestation.  These things now need the for sale by owner negotiations to work out.

And the buyer's lender might need the seller to get involved in the mortgage, depending on the loan structure.

The title company just might find an issue with title, so the for sale by owner now needs to address the title issue, which could kill the deal if not handled properly.

If you feel really good about your knowledge of the local real estate market, are confident that your house is completely maintained and has no hidden issues (roof leaking, plumbing, electrical, termites, etc.) then you can be comfortable about managing your own for sale by owner negotiations. 

For sale by owner negotiations can be good for all parties, or they can cause incredible frustration for the seller, because he can't sell the house, or the buyers will be frustrated because the seller appears to be unreasonable during the negotiations.  By the way, we didn't even talk about disclosures.  That is a topic for another time.

In the end, according to the National Association of Realtors, over 80% of real estate transactions have a professional Realtor involved.

How to Be a Successful For Sale by Owner (FSBO)

by Doug & Gwen Campbell at Sun Bay Associates

Are you looking to sell your home?  Torn between using a Realtor or going For Sale by Owner, or FSBO?  Read on and you can be a successful For Sale by Owner or FSBO.

Price your house right.  Do a comparative market analysis, visit homes that are comparable to yours, go to the public records and review recent sales (within the last 90 days, as a rule), and do research on the internet for pricing guidance.  Do this and you should be able to set the price correctly.  Remember, do not price the house at what you want to get, price it where the market will buy it.

Once you have decided on the price, market the property.  Remember, when you have decided to sell, your home has now become a house, a commodity to be sold.  That may sound cold, however, buyers are seldom interested in paying a premium for your family history.  Pin your house on Pinterest, promote it on Facebook, advertise on Craigslist, use Twitter, Instagram and any other social media you would like to.  You can even advertise to a specific audience on Facebook, just be sure you know how so it does not cost a fortune.

Use a good camera to take high quality photos of your house.  Remember, the first look a buyer gets of your house over 90% of the time is on the internet.  Bad photos will greatly reduce the pool of potential buyers.  It may be wise to hire a professional photographer who is experienced shooting for real estate marketing.  Depending on your market, you can find a photographer who will do the work between $125 to $500, depending on the specific needs of the situation.

Then be sure to take advantage of internet sites such as Zillow, Trulia, Homes.com, Realtor.com and perhaps even build your own specific website for the house.  All you need to do for that is buy the web domain, build the site, and put the house on the site.  You may be able to hire a high schooler to do this for you for $500 - $1,000.  Be sure to use relevant keywords so buyers can find your house in an online search.  There are tools available on the internet, such as Google, that teach you how to pick the best keywords.

Now you've got this far, make a video so people can actually see your house.  Upload it to YouTube and buyers will be able to find it online, as long as they use the right keywords.  Be sure to put yourself in the video so you can talk about the best parts of the house, improvements you have made, what attracted you to the house in the first place, and cover important issues a buyer might ask, such as taxes, nearby schools, insurance costs, utility costs, convenience items like shopping or airports, etc.  Even explain why you are a FSBO. 

Come up with a catchy name for your video or website, then link to all your social media outlets.

Put a professional sign in the yard so people driving by will know the house is for sale.  A generic sign with Sharpie lettering on it will get potential buyers to think "Yard Sale" prices.

Make sure that all buyers who want to come into your home are actually who they claim to be and are in fact, qualified to purchase your home.

Being a successful For Sale by Owner, or FSBO, can be challenging and may not be for everyone.  If you do everything right, your may sell your house quickly and for a fair price. Who knows, being a FSBO might even be fun!

Or, you can hire a Realtor who does this already.

For Sale by Owner - Is It the Best Way to Make the Most Money??

by Doug & Gwen Campbell at Sun Bay Associates

For Sale by Owner is becoming a more popular way to sell a house now that the real estate market seems to have hit bottom.  Is it the best way to make the most money on the sale of a house?  Maybe, or maybe not.  If an average commission is 6%, the home owner can save the 6% off the price of the for sale by owner listing.

According to National Association of Realtors (NAR) statistics, For Sale by Owner, or FSBO, sales accounted for 9% of home sales in 2012.  The average FSBO sale price was $174,900 compared to homes sold by professional Realtors that averaged $215,000.  Maybe this $40,100 price differential was due to location, however it is not really likely.  This means that the FSBO who sold for $174,900 did save the 6% commission, or saved $10,494.  If one follows the average transaction price of a professional Realtor, that same FSBO might have sold the house for $215,000.  Deduct the 6% commission of $12,900, the FSBO may have netted an additional $38,594 had he used a Realtor.

These are national statistics from the National Association of Realtors, not mine.

OK, so let's not even consider the difference in net.  Try this.  According to the NAR, there are other issues to consider, including:

Most Difficult Tasks for FSBO Sellers:

  • Understanding and performing paperwork  . . . . . . . . .  18%
  • Getting the right price . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  14%
  • Preparing/fixing up home for sale: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  11%
  • Helping buyer obtain financing: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  6%
  • Attracting potential buyers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  6%
  • Selling within the planned length of time: . . . . . . . . . . . .  6%
  • Having enough time to devote to all aspects of the sale . 1%

‚Äč‚ÄčOther things a Realtor will ensure include:  pricing the home appropriately for the market; having a qualified buyer come to the house; and the presentation of a valid and qualified offer. A licensed Realtor will accompany the buyer, and has access to a secure lockbox on a properly listed home.  This is something that many FSBOs overlook, that the person coming into the house is both qualified and a legitimate buyer.

 

It really is easy to get a contract. Realtors earn their commissions in the stages after the contract: making sure all the deadlines in a contract are met, ensuring that the financing is on track, keeping the seller and the buyer updated on the progress of the transactions, making sure all the appropriate inspections are completed within the contract requirements, and much more. 

 

In most cases, even though there is a commission to pay, taking advantage of the knowledge and expertise of a professional Realtor will mean more money in the pocket of the homeowner when the sale is completed.

 

Find out what your Florida home is worth, then call a professional Realtor to get it sold.

For Sale by Owner - Oh Really!!

by Doug & Gwen Campbell at Sun Bay Associates

For Sale by Owner.  This sign shows up everywhere, even in the Palm Harbor, Dunedin and Tarpon Springs areas.  Homeowners believe that they are saving a lot of money and getting lots of market exposure when they get some realtor to list their house in the MLS and then never hear from that agent again.  They get no real support, no representation, no marketing help, no negotiation knowledge and they get to take all the phone calls for showing their homes, whether the "buyer" is qualified or not.

Licensed realtors screen out the unqualified buyers, they handle the phone calls and the showings, they do the marketing and the negotiation to protect the seller with the laws and other business realities involved in such a large business transaction.  Realtors market their listed houses to more than just the MLS and depending on their brokerage, may have a very significant internet presence beyond that available to the MLS.  The realtor knows the market value of a house, not the personal "memories value" of a house, and thus can negotiate accordingly with a buyer.

A key bit of information that fsbo's often overlook is the commission factor.  They think that buy having their house as a For Sale by Owner, or listed in the MLS by an agent they will never see again, that they are saving a ton of cash.  Well, to attract a buyer they pay a commission to the buyer's agent, which is usually about half of the full commission.  Then, either the buyer's agent has to take on the workload of what should be the seller's agent, or the seller has to do the work, or hire an attorney.  If the buyer's agent takes on this workload, the interest of the seller is coincidental, because the buyer's agent is working for the buyer's best interest.  By the time all is said and done, including aggravation, the savings is non-existant.  In fact, when a licensed real estate agent represents the seller and deals with the buyer's agent, according to the National Association of Realtors, the seller realizes about 13% more NET profit than relying on For Sale by Owner only.

This is typical nationally, and is repeated in the Palm Harbor, Dunedin and Tarpon Springs area.  Do yourself a favor, list your home with a licensed realtor.

Buyer Beware, Make Sure a Realtor Is There!!

by Doug & Gwen Campbell at Sun Bay Associates

Many home buyers, especially first time buyers, think they can save a little money if they don't work with a real estate agent.  This could be a very expensive mistake.  On of the best reasons for a buyer to work with a Realtor is that it is FREE!  It does not add any cost to the purchase of the house and sellers generally expect that a buyer will be working with a Realtor, since the seller probably is.  A Realtor will guide the homebuyer through the many issues of the contract negotiation process.  The real estate agent will perform an evaluation of the house so the buyers gets the best possible value for their money.

Working with a Realtor is also very important when looking for new construction.  The builder's agent is working for the builder, not the buyer.  A buyers' agent will work diligently to protect the buyers' interests, and will help secure independent home inspections before closing to make sure the contractor has in fact completed the house and that there are not lots of little unfinished details or worse, shoddy craftsmanship.  The buyers' agent's job is to protect you.

Definitely work with a realtor if you are considering purchasing a home that is For Sale By Owner, or FSBO.  According to the National Association of Realtors, more than 95% of FSBO homes sold have a Realtor involved in the deal.  Often, FSBOs don't have the experience or knowledge to price their home properly or to get the home selling transaction to a successful conclusion.  By not knowing complex real estate laws, FSBOs simply may not follow the laws written to protect the consumer.  This can result in lawsuits that, if a Realtor had been involved, most likely would have been avoided.  Make sure you have someone to represent your best interests.  Your Realtor may be the only professional  with the experience to get you through the entire transaction.

Good Realtors have extensive experience working with lenders and can help buyers find the right mortgage professional with the right loan products for the buyers.  They know how to get the loan closed.  Realtors also are great resources for finding home inspection companies, home repair tradesmen like electricians, plumbers, lawn maintenance, carpenters and contractors, surveyors, and many, many other professionals. 

Of course, the whole relationship is built on trust.  You, the buyer, must believe that the Realtor is truly working for you.  If you, as the home buyer, do not feel comfortable that your real estate agent truly is working in your best interests, the solution is simple.  Find the right Realtor.  Since this is one of the largest and most complex financial transactions you will ever make, it is vitally important that you feel comfortable with and have trust in your Realtor. 

A good Realtor will help make the purchase of your new home a great experience!!  Enjoy it.

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Photo of Gwen and  Doug Campbell - The Campbell Team Real Estate
Gwen and Doug Campbell - The Campbell Team
at Keller Williams Realty
30522 US Hwy 19N, Suite 107 S
Palm Harbor FL 34684
Doug's Cell 727-741-4189
Gwen's Cell 727-741-7260
Fax: 888-447-7908