Apr 20, 2012

Why you should have a real estate agent when buying or selling a house

• Shop for an agent with a good track record; at least twenty sales under his belt. Some sellers do not believe in the importance of having an agent as they figure they can do it themselves. They are wrong. The paperwork alone is worth having an agent who knows the law, and can protect you. Think carefully about putting yourself out there if you have no experience in the real estate business.

• Hire an agent that is smarter than you; one who knows all the ins and outs of real estate and can save you money.

• Hire an agent that has experience in selling to someone who is emotional about selling the house he or she has lived in for fifty years. This may seem silly but it happens sometimes where the seller is ready to sign and then becomes weepy at having to leave and the sale is lost.

• Paying an agent to look after you and getting the best price for your house saves you time and spare you the inconvenience of having to do everything yourself. There is quite a lot of running around and paperwork before you can bring out the cake to celebrate.

• As agents more or less get the same commissions for buying or selling a house and have a real estate background, it is better to have one that is educated and can save you time.

• An agent knows the neighborhood and can convince a seller to be realistic about price in the present environment. He might even be able to find a buyer for your house from his own contacts.

• A selling agent can look at the whole picture and work out the correct price. You will have no experience with this and might blow a deal or lose a client by not knowing enough. Remember, agents are friends with other agents and often work together to lower their commission to be able to sell a house. This is the kind of agent you are looking for; someone with contacts and with solid experience.


Design an award winning brochure to sell your house

A real estate brochure is like a passport in real estate; it can get you into the right circles to successfully sell your house and make a good first impression of the kind of seller you are, or make no impression at all and your brochure gets dropped in the bin. Here are some things you can do to increase the chances of selling your house.

• The first person you have to get on board is a photographer who knows how to shoot from different angles without creating cheesy photographs. Knowledge of lighting and depth of field is also important; you want stunning photographs.

• The first shot in your brochure should be a long shot of the street and the neighborhood, followed by shots of the exterior of the house, and then of the living room, kitchen, bedrooms, bathroom, and the yard. Make sure there is no trash lying outside and that the lawn is cut.

• Start with the history of the house and add a bit of interesting detail such as the year it was built and what renovations have been made. If the house has had some famous occupant or there is an interesting story about a neighbor, telling them about it gives them some familiarity and background and more to think about. People looking for a house see one they like and visualize themselves in the house to see if there is a connection.

• Make special mention of certain parts of the house. Is there an interesting nook or sewing area off the kitchen where you spend private time? If so, mention it. People like to visualize themselves in a particular area. Give them two or three copies of the brochure to give to friends.

• Mention the schools, pharmacy, and doctors’ offices in the vicinity and other amenities such as a library, skating rink, museum, and the safety of the area.

• If you have added a new heating or air conditioning system, or new carpeting, make mention of that also in the brochure.

• Ask your designer to think out of the box and present you with some spectacular shots and some great text. If you can’t think of the text yourself, get a writer to put something together.

• Have a brochure that can be folded for easy insertion into your handbag or your flyers and one-pagers will stay behind in the back seat of your car.

• When showing the house hand out the brochures and have a glass bowl of sweets on the table where you can talk to buyers.


Selling your house without an agent

Often when trying to sell a home the prospective seller does not do enough preparation before putting the For Sale sign on the lawn. There is nothing that stops you from selling your house without a representative if you take the following into account and put your house in readiness to be seen and inspected by other people. Remember, you are putting your house in readiness for others to like. Just because you don’t like the idea of a Japanese bathtub, your prospective buyer might love it and your aim is to spend a little money to put it in the best and most attractive condition you can. Here are some ideas for a more attractive showing.

• Do a thorough inspection of the property and make a note of broken doorknobs, handles and other fittings which have to be fixed.

• Check the bathroom for broken tiles and leaking taps. Is there mildew in the shower? Could the bathroom do with a fresh coat of paint? Could it be freshened up with a hanging fern or a Japanese bath?

• Take a good look at the kitchen. Women want big kitchens with a lot of cupboards and enough space. The kitchen is a place where you can make some small changes with big results.

• Stand on the other side of the road and view your property as others would see it when they visited your home. Are there things lying about at the side of the house and in the yard? Have a rubble remover take them away – or a friend with a van might help you discard of the old fridge and broken gardening equipment which makes your property look unsightly.

• Ask a friend to design an attractive brochure or flyer listing the price, taxes, mortgage and transfer costs and showing visuals of the front of the house, the bedrooms, the kitchen, and have the photographs taken by someone who knows how to shoot from different angles. Often a brochure is the first thing a prospective buyer wants to see and whether you are trying to sell your property online or offline, the buyer has to take the bait to be interested enough in the visuals in the brochure to come out to the property to take a look. It is all about first impressions.

• Flowers and plants are inexpensive and you can liven up the property by planting some bushes and plants near the front entrance of the property to make it look colorful and more attractive.

• An old trick is to bake a cake half an hour before the showing starts to have a wonderful aroma in the house which creates a good family feeling.