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Staging for Winter Home Sales



Selling in the winter offers at least two positives – less competition and new customers. During the winter, most people have taken their listings off the market, but agents can help buyers who have been forced into sudden moves, like executives with job transfers who are looking to purchase a property quickly.

To take advantage of the season, make sure your home is properly staged for the winter. This can help your property receive a higher offer and get off the market sooner.
Start on the Outside

There is no question that curb appeal is one of the first things that attract a potential buyer, but more often than not, they are forgiving of a snow-covered property during the winter months. Most buyers understand that snow piles up in the yard and trees stay barren during cold weather.

What they will not tolerate however is the inability to get to your open house because of bad weather. If heavy snow threatens before the open house, you may need to provide alternative directions to visitors or move the showing to when the weather is more favorable.

If snow covers the ground, clear a safe path from the street to the front door. Spreading sand or salt on the walkway can improve footing. Do not forget to also clear a pathway to any outdoor areas that you want buyers to visit, such as a storage shed or guest house.
Make it Comfortable

Be sure to ask your client to turn on the heat in all the rooms for a warm walk-through. Before the open house begins, walk through the property and check the warmth level in each room. If any room or area feels chilly, buyers may assume that the home lacks adequate insulation or has heating issues.

If the source of the cold air is a draft from a hole or a poorly sealed window, seal any gaps to eliminate the problem. Poor air circulation may also be an issue. You can remedy this by moving furniture away from vents wherever the room allows.
Show Warmth

What buyers see can affect their perception of warmth. Barren areas, solid colors, shine and reflective surfaces reinforce a “cool” aesthetic and are best reserved for summer staging. In the winter, ensure that warm fabrics, rugs, pillows, curtains, bed linens and tablecloths adorn the home for visual warmth. Layer throws and pillows on sofas and beds so visitors can envision cozy days spent on the couch. Use richly textured materials such as furry blankets and wooden accessories.

Bring in the promise of warmer times by putting containers filled with winter-blooming plants in strategic locations. Place a hanging plant near the entry, a winter bouquet on the dining room table or a bunch of small flowers on the side tables flanking the couch.

Staging your winter listings should not take any more time, effort or money than in the summer. Adequate preparation and a bit of attention to detail can make the difference between marketing a cozy home that buyers will bid on and a property that languishes on the market for months because it seems as cold as the weather outside.


Should I Sell My Home Now or Wait Until the Spring?


There are many questions homeowners ask themselves during the selling process. “How much will my home sell for?”  “How much should I list my home for?”  “Who should I select as a real estate agent to sell my home?”  “What if the real estate agent overprices my home?”  Last but not least, “Is this a good time to be selling a home?” is also a very common question that real estate agents are asked.

As with every decision in life, there are pros and cons, and choosing when to sell a home is no different. There are many factors that need to be taken into consideration before deciding when to sell a home. Many homeowners believe selling a home during the fall or winter months is not a good idea and that the spring is the only time a house should be sold. This is the furthest from the truth. Certainly most real estate markets across the United States experience a “spring market rush” every year. There is no doubt that the “spring market” is a great time to be selling and buying real estate, however, the fall and winter seasons may be the best fit for you for many reasons.

Here are several reasons why choosing to sell your home now may be a better decision than waiting until the spring:

Less Competition
One way that you can tell the spring real estate market has arrived is by driving down a street in your local community. In all likelihood there will be For Sale signs up all over the neighborhood! One great reason to sell your home now and not wait until the spring market is there is sure to be less competition.  The fewer number of comparable homes for sale, the greater the probability that a buyer will look at your home.

Simply put, it’s the supply and demand theory. If there are less homes for sale, there are less homes that a potential buyer can choose from, therefore increasing the demand for your home. Not only will less competition increase the probability for showings, but it will also increase the probability that an offer will be received and you will get the maximum amount of money for your home.

Serious Buyers Are Out There
Homes are sold and bought 365 days a year, period!  Many homeowners believe that buyers aren’t out there during the fall and winter months. This simply is not the case. Serious buyers are always out there!  Some buyers may stop their home search because it is the fall or winter, but serious buyers will continue to look at homes, no matter what time of year it is.

The fall and winter months are also a great time for a potential buyer to see what a specific neighborhood is like.  Do your neighbors have pumpkins on their front step?  Are there lots of Trick-or-Treaters wandering the neighborhood on Halloween?  Do any of your neighbors have any light displays for the holidays?  There are buyers out there who will look at these types of things when determining whether your home is in the right neighborhood for them or not.

The Best Agents Are Always Up To The Challenge
Any real estate agent who tells you that the fall or winter months are a bad time to sell is not someone you want selling your home! A great real estate agent will know how to adapt to the current season and market their listings to reflect that.  A great real estate agent can make suggestions and give some of their tips on hot to sell a home during the fall or winter seasons. If a real estate agent doesn’t have any suggestions on making your home more desirable for the current season, you should be concerned about the creativity they are going to use when marketing your home.

Staging For The Holiday Season
Many sellers believe staging a home is the main reason a home sells.  While staging certainly helps sell homes, some buyers have a difficult time envisioning themselves in a home no matter what you do. However, there are some buyers who can easily be “sold” on a home because it is staged.  Simple “seasonal” staging such as adjusting the color of the decor or having an aroma in the air that is relative to the time of year can go a long way with some potential buyers and possibly be the difference between a home selling or not.

Mortgage Rates Are Low
If you’ve read about real estate in the past year, it’s likely you’ve read that the mortgage rates are very low.  You also probably read that there is an expectation that the rates will increase very soon. Since mortgage rates are so low right now, buyers are able to afford more expensive homes.  If mortgage rates increase over the fall and winter months while you’re waiting for the spring market, it could cost you thousands of dollars as it could eliminate many buyers from the real estate marketplace!  Less demand for your home will mean less money. Bottom line: take advantage of selling your home while the rates are this low.

Quicker Transactions
Right now, there are fewer real estate transactions than there will be in the spring.  The fewer number of transactions means the mortgage lenders have less loans to process, attorneys have less closings to do, and home inspectors have fewer inspections to do.  All of these factors should lead to a quicker transaction and closing for all the parties involved.  One of the most frustrating things for a seller to deal with while selling their home is not getting answers in a reasonable amount of time. A quicker transaction is going to be less stress for you.

By considering all of the reasons above, you will be able to determine whether now is a good time to sell or if you should wait until the spring.

Article written by Kyle Hiscock and posted by RISMedia’s housecall.  We wanted to post this article due to it has some really great points about selling your home in the Fall and wanted our readers to take note of some of them!

Is an Agent Team Right for You? 9 Signs That Point to ‘Yes!’


For many real estate professionals, the mere thought of bringing a new team member—or two—on board is all it takes to talk themselves out of even entertaining the idea.

However, creating a successful agent team will not only benefit your company (hello increased productivity, profitability and job satisfaction, goodbye having to tackle everything on your own), it’ll also go a long way toward improving your life and relationships outside of work. And who doesn’t like getting two things for the price of one? By forming a team, you’ll find yourself with more free time on your hands (just when you thought it wasn’t possible), which will ultimately result in a better attitude toward life. I can see you breathing deeper already.

While timing is everything—if you don’t have enough business to keep everyone busy and paid—adding to the mix will most likely cause more harm than good. But if you find yourself struggling to get everything done despite working 80 (or more) hours a week, bringing in a few extra hands may be the best thing you do this year.

If you’re still on the fence when it comes to incorporating a team-based approach into your business, take some time to think about the following statements. If any of them ring true, it may be time to start looking for some reinforcement.

  • You have more clients or leads than you can handle. You’re actually referring surplus prospects to your competitors.
    • You’re experiencing an increasing number of missed opportunities due to time and resource constraints.
    • You find it more and more difficult to meet deadlines, or you’re chronically missing deadlines.
    • You see an increasing number of mistakes and miscommunications in your work.
    • You feel as though you never have enough time to do what you need to do—or would like to do.
    • Family members are complaining that you don’t spend enough quality time at home.
    • You skip vacations to catch up on work.
    • You feel alone and frustrated. You want to share ideas and get feedback before bringing those ideas to life, but you have nobody to bounce those ideas off of.
    • You have great ideas for improving your business, but you’re missing the key skills and talents to implement those ideas.

Sound familiar?

Even if you’re not 100 percent ready to jump on the team bandwagon just yet, keep the following sentiment from Mother Teresa in mind: “I can do things you cannot, you can do things I cannot; together we can do great things.” This article written by Paige Tepping is RISMedia’s Managing Editor.

We thought that is was a really good article and has some really good points to incorporating a team-based approach to helping our clients and handling leads! We look forward to hearing from you soon!

Housing Market Sees Improvements in April


With the weather warming up and summer just around the corner, many members of the RE community have found themselves asking the question, “What’s in store for us throughout the rest of the year?” Well the wait is almost over – and the answer has become a little clearer – as new data indicates that the market is on its way up!
home sales up
According to the newest study performed by the U.S. Department of Commerce, newly built single-family home sales are on the rise, increasing by 6.4% from March – the first increase we’ve seen since January. This increase also boosted the seasonally adjusted annual rate to 433,000 – 8,000 higher than what was predicted by economists polled by Bloomberg News.

In a similar study, it was found that sales of previously owned homes rose nationwide in April, another promising sign that the market is picking up momentum amid the spring selling season. Home resales have jumped 1.3% from March, increasing to a now seasonally adjusted rate of 4.65 million nationwide, according to the National Association of Realtors.

“Some growth was inevitable after sub-par housing activity in the first quarter, but improved inventory is expanding choices, and sales should generally trend upward from this point,” Lawrence Yun, the trade group’s chief economist, said in a statement.

Condominium and co-op sales saw some of the largest gains, as sales for attached united climbed 7.3% from the month before, a sign that affordability remains a problem across the nation.

The latest studies aren’t all good news though. While new homes sales are up from earlier this year, they still sit 4.2% below April of the year before. Similarly, previously owned home sales are down 6.8% from April 2013.

Do you think this is the first step to more major improvements, or will this year continue to remain stagnant as the market recovers from last year’s jumps? What are your thoughts?