June 15, 2016

How to switch real estate agents

Buying or selling a home can be a huge financial and emotional move for your family. Choosing a good real estate agent is key to having a good experience. You need to have a partner in the process to walk you through the difficult parts and help expedite the closing paperwork. If, however, somewhere along the way you start thinking it’s time to switch real estate agents, there are tactful ways to change agents.

Recognize the Challenge

When you’re looking for a real estate agent, be as direct as possible with your needs, your expectations and your end goal. While your agent should be resourceful, they aren’t mind readers, so be as open as possible. If, after a few conversations about what you expect, you begin to notice it’s becoming more difficult to get in touch with your agent, or the homes being presented consistently fail to meet the needs you presented to your agent, you may have warning signs that it’s time to change real estate professionals.

Document the Dismissal

If you have decided it’s time to switch real estate agents, make sure you do it in writing. The document will not only serve as dated proof of when you requested the agent to know longer serve your real estate needs, but it’s also a courtesy to the agents so they’ll suspend their home search for you.

 

Unless you signed a buyer agreement with the agent, you are under no legal obligation to stay with that real estate agent. Having a written notice of separation will save you the headache of having a commission fee dispute after you change real estate agents.

Tell your New Agent

Once you switch real estate agents, make sure you’re open with your new realtor about the work that was done by your previous agent. Let your new realtor know if you were in any type of agreement with the previous agent, which properties the agent introduced to you and how you ended the partnership with the agent.

Choosing your Agent

Don’t just choose a real estate agent because a friend or family member recommended the realtor. There are questions you should ask when choosing an agent, and keep in mind that just because the person worked well with your co-worker when they decided to sell their home, doesn’t mean your personality will be as compatible with the agent.

 

As a buyer, there are separate questions to consider before bringing an agent on board. You need to know that the realtor you choose can meet your timeline goals, has time to spend on your home search or marketing to sell your home, and will negotiate on your behalf if the process gets complicated.

 

Check out our 90 Day Sale Guarantee here.  Your home sold in 90 days or less or we will sell it for free. 

We welcome these questions and more. If you’re considering selling your home and need help on where to start, give us a call at 215-370-1236.

May 19, 2016

Realtor tricks to watch out for

If you’ve had a home buying or selling experience that wasn’t quite what you expected (or hoped for), you may be familiar with some of the realtor tricks to watch out for. From communication mishaps to “administrative fees,” real estate agent tricks and traps can be frustrating and costly. Here are some of the most popular real estate agent tricks to avoid.

Read the fine print

A real estate agent’s commission fee is expected, but you could be surprised by an additional “administrative fee” to help cover brokerage costs. Some agents charge anywhere from $250 to $1,500, but keep in mind this fee is negotiable and you have the right to ask questions if something seems unusual in the contract.

High home valuation

Although it sounds nice at first, an agent who tells you your home should be listed at a price far beyond what any other agent has recommended may simply be trying to buy your listing. You want an agent who will be direct and realistic about your property’s value. You don’t want your home sitting on the market because it’s overpriced.

Too popular for you

Highly recommended real estate agents are likely very busy as they’re nearly always in high demand. If you want to team up with the most popular agent on the block, ask who you will be working and communicating with before signing the contract. Busy real estate agents may meet with you initially, but eventually pass you and your property on to a real estate agent team member who has more time (and possibly less experience).

Double check the references

It’s natural to request a list of references from any real estate agent you’re considering working with, but make sure you take a double glance through the list from a real estate agent who’s still establishing themselves. References may be relatives or good friends so be sure to ask any reference you call how they found the real estate agent.

The part-timers

It’s completely okay for you to ask a real estate agent upfront if they work as an agent full or part time. And of course, it’s completely okay for you to work with a part-time real estate agent, but you should know that an active real estate license doesn’t necessarily mean the agent has sold any houses lately. Be sure to ask for recent numbers when it comes to properties sold.

 

Check out our 90 Day Sale Guarantee here.  Your home sold in 90 days or less or we will sell it for free. 

We welcome these questions and more. If you’re considering selling your home and need help on where to start, give us a call at 215-370-1236.

May 13, 2016

How much is my Center City home worth?

Philadelphia’s downtown, historic city core is known as Center City. Many Philadelphians call this area home. In fact, Center City is the third most populated of any U.S. central business district. The community consists of several distinct neighborhoods, from the affluent homes in Society Hill to the centrally located condos in Chinatown, Center City is a busy hub of great shopping, fine dining, cultural attractions and an exciting nightlife.

 

Home prices in Center City can vary depending on the location, size, age and design. The first question in the mind of most homeowners considering listing their home for sale is “what is my home in 19146 worth?” If you’re debating on whether to sell your home in Center City, you can start with a free home valuation.

 

Center City is filled with beautiful attractions that pull new homebuyers into the area each year. Dilworth Park is one of the most popular attractions in the community and features a popular café, tree grove seating, live musical performances, outdoor movie showing and happy hour specials to allow you to enjoy the warm summer evenings. Center City is also home to Rittenhouse Square where you’ll discover a farmer’s market, art fairs, and a variety of festivals throughout the year.

 

Looking over a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) from your real estate agent will help you better understand what your home in zip code 19146 is worth. A CMA is a report that compares your home to similar, recently sold properties within the same area. Agents will use a CMA to help you price your house competitively to bring in the most potential buyers.

 

Even though Center City is one of the most popular places to buy a home in Philadelphia, sellers often want to know how long it takes to sell a house in the area. While different communities can have different outcomes when it comes to selling a house, we are confident we can sell your home in 90 days. It’s part of our guarantee. If you list your Center City home for sale with us, we’ll have the property sold in 90 days, or we’ll waive the commission fee.

 

Check out our 90 Day Sale Guarantee here.  Your home sold in 90 days or less or we will sell it for free. 

We welcome these questions and more. If you’re considering selling your home and need help on where to start, give us a call at 215-370-1236.

May 10, 2016

How much is my home worth in Art Museum neighborhood?

Philadelphia’s Art Museum neighborhood is often noted as one of the best places to live in Philly. The neighborhood is full of cultural attractions, unique residential areas and beautiful open-spaces parks. Whether you own a condo in one of the high-rise apartment buildings or live in an architecturally unique townhome off Aspen Street, you may be asking exactly how much is my home worth in 19103?

 

Whether your listing fits the $200k range or you have an expansive home on Green Street that would list for north of $1 million, we can provide a free home valuation to give you an idea of how much your Art museum neighborhood home is worth.

 

Homebuyers flock to the Art Museum area in part because of the nationally recognized cultural attractions like The Philadelphia Museum of Art, Rodin Museum and The Franklin Institute. The Art Museum community is just far enough from the hustle of the city, but still close to dining, shopping and community events that allow you to enjoy the area.

 

One question that we get pretty often is, “How do you know how much my home is worth?” Determining the value of your home in zip code 19103 requires your real estate agent to produce a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) for your neighborhood. A CMA is a report that compares your home to similar, recently sold properties within the same area. Agents will use a CMA to help you price your house competitively to bring in the most potential buyers.

 

For example, if you list your Art Museum area home for sale and your home features two bedrooms, an attached garage and was built in 2010, the comparables will have similar features. You’ll be able to see what neighboring homes are listed for, what recently purchased homes sold for and how long the houses were on the market. If timing is an issue for you, we can help you understand how long it will take to sell your Philadelphia home

 

Check out our 90 Day Sale Guarantee here.  Your home sold in 90 days or less or we will sell it for free. 

We welcome these questions and more. If you’re considering selling your home and need help on where to start, give us a call at 215-370-1236.

Posted in Selling A Home
May 7, 2016

How long does it take to sell a house?

You’ve just put the “for sale” sign in your front yard. You linger by the door waiting for the crowd of homebuyers to run up your patio eager to make an offer. At least, that’s how it goes in the mind of a seller. Whether you’ve outgrown your home, it’s outgrown you or it simply doesn’t fit your lifestyle anymore, knowing when it’s time to sell your home can be a difficult decision. Even harder still is the not knowing of will people want to see it, how much will it sell for and ultimately, how long does it take to sell a house?

 

The short and unrevealing answer is, it depends. Many factors can go into how long it takes to sell your house. Location, the time of year and the economy can all play a role, but the National Association of Realtors report in September 2015 the median days on market for homes that sold that month was 49. That number was down by an entire week from just one year prior. That same report states the average closing process in September 2015 was 41 days.

 

You will find sales in your real estate market vary depending on the time of year. Homes.com finds that there are more buyers and homes available for sale starting in early spring through the summer months. The time it takes to sell your home may be reflected by the seasonal patterns of the market. The time of year and geography are just two factors to think about when trying to sell your home fast. Buyers will also consider the condition, age, design, neighborhood and number of baths and bedrooms when choosing a home.

 

Pricing your home to sell is vital in helping your home sell fast. If your house has been on the market for four weeks with limited interest, talk to your agent about the why there’s a small amount of attention. Your agent will be able to give you insight into the market in your specific neighborhood to see if a price reduction is a good move on your property. Of course, it always helps to have an idea of how much your home is worth. Check out our free home valuation tool below. You’ll have an answer in seconds.

Make sure your agent is knowledgeable before you agree to work together. The location, time of year and specific s of your home will play a part in how long it takes to sell your house, but so will your agent’s knowledge of the neighborhood, their marketing plan and networking capabilities to reach other agents with clients looking to buy. There are questions to ask a realtor when selling a house that will allow you to know if they’re the right person to market and sell your home.

 

The bottom line is you want an agent that works hard, works fast and makes you a priority. Our 90 day guarantee does just that. We know we can sell your home in 90 days, or we’ll waive our commission fee and still promote, show and sell your house for free.

 

Check out our 90 Day Sale Guarantee here.  Your home sold in 90 days or less or we will sell it for free. 

We welcome these questions and more. If you’re considering selling your home and need help on where to start, give us a call at 215-370-1236.

Posted in Selling A Home
May 4, 2016

How to sell a home by owner (& does it work?)

The majority of people who decide to sell their homes are not realtors, but with various options for homeowners to list the property themselves, some are looking into how to sell a home by owner. Forsalebyowner.com reports about nine percent of those who list their homes for sale do it through a minimal services option, like for sale by owner websites or only paying for use of an MLS. While the majority of homeowners, roughly 81 percent, still rely on real estate agents to market and sell their homes, others are willing to take the steps to selling a house by owner.

Is it time to sell?

Making the decision to sell your home, even before you begin to think of how you’ll do it, can be nerve racking. It’s normal to wonder if it’s the right time to sell and have some fears on facing the unknown – will there be any interest in my house? What’s a good list price? Once you decide you need to make the move, you can then choose how you’ll market and sell your house.

Marketing to the masses

One of the biggest parts of a real estate agent’s job is to market your house to potential buyers. When considering how to sell a home by owner, you need to know how and where to promote your property. The National Association of Realtors says nearly 90 percent of buyers search for homes online. The majority of selling a home by owner will include marketing – taking photographs, developing a luring description, posting the house online, promoting through social media – through major online sources. You’ll also need to make time for the viewings.

What’s a good offer?

When offers begin to come in for your property, it’s time to begin the negotiation process. You know from your market research in pricing the home what is a fair offer, but other contingencies may also come up. Buyers may request changes or repairs made to certain parts of the home based on their own needs or what the home inspector finds.

Closing the process

As you delve into selling a home by owner, you’ll want to make a checklist of closing procedures so you’re prepared when it comes time to sign the paperwork. You can expect the timeline from accepting an offer to sitting down at the closing table to take about six to eight weeks. Even though you’ve gone the route of selling you home by owner, you’ll want to hire a few professionals to help walk through the closing process with you to ensure everything is legally correct.

Will selling a home by owner work for you?

The biggest challenges most people face when attempting to sell a home by owner is the lack of knowledge in marketing a home and the amount of time it takes to prepare, market, show, negotiate and close on the property. For those who have some experience in the real estate industry, or perhaps you know a potential buyer, a minimal services platform may work well for those who want to sell their homes on their own. For the majority of sellers, a real estate agent will be ideal. Having someone else take the responsibility of the entire process off your plate and represent you through closing is worth a realtor’s commission.

 

If you’re not sure if selling a home by owner may be the right avenue for you, give us a call and we’ll help explain your options. If you decide to allow us to market your property, we’ll have it sold in 90 days, or you don’t pay a thing.

Check out our 90 Day Sale Guarantee here.  Your home sold in 90 days or less or we will sell it for free. 

We welcome these questions and more. If you’re considering selling your home and need help on where to start, give us a call at 215-370-1236.

Posted in Selling A Home
April 29, 2016

What to ask a realtor when buying a home

Buying your home may just be the biggest purchase you make in a lifetime, so it’s important to make sure you have the right person on your team representing you. When you’re house hunting, it’s helpful to know what to ask a realtor when buying a home. There are questions you can ask that will give insight into the realtor’s experience and dedication to finding the perfect-fit home for your family.

How long will it take to get me into a home?

While part of the purchasing timeline depends on your own actions, you want to know that the real estate agent you choose will make your home purchase a priority. Part of the discussion of how long it takes to buy a home should also include asking your agent if he or she works full or part time as a real estate agent. According to the National Association of Realtors, 23% of realtors work on a part-time basis. If you’re on a strict deadline (needing to get into a new home because your current house has sold), or if you simply want to complete the process as quickly as possible, you’ll want to know how much time your agent can dedicate to your house hunt.

How will we communicate?

Your agent will likely have multiple buyers or sellers they are working with for other real estate needs. Ask the realtor how you will communicate and how often you can expect to hear from them. Because realtors are often out of the office, email may be the best way to stay in touch, or perhaps the agent has an office specialist who will stay in constant communication with you. You may inquire as to how many clients the agent is currently working with to get an idea of the time they will have available for you.

What are your realtor fees?

The seller in a real estate deal is typically responsible for the realtor commission fee, however, some companies may tack on an additional fee for the seller or buyer, so make sure you walk through the agreement with your agent until you fully understand what financial responsibilities you’ll be assuming. Also, request an “Estimated Buyer’s Cost” report from your broker, that way you’ll have a more precise look at exactly who pays for what.

In what area or neighborhood do you typically work?

As a homebuyer, it’s important to have an agent who is familiar with and experienced in the communities you have interest. Realtors who understand the market in your neighborhood choice will likely have a heads up before homes even make it to market and are familiar with fair market value of the homes so you get the best price possible.

Will you represent the buyer and seller?

Some real estate agents will only represent the buyer or the seller; some however, have potential to represent both. That’s not to imply hiring an agent who works for both sides is wrong, but it can be a potentially sticky situation if you discover halfway through the purchasing process that your agent is also obligated to have the best interest of the seller in mind. So, having this information up front, allows you to make the decision as to whether that’s an avenue you’d like to travel.

Check out our 90 Day Sale Guarantee here.  Your home sold in 90 days or less or we will sell it for free. 

We welcome these questions and more. If you’re considering selling your home and need help on where to start, give us a call at 215-370-1236.

Posted in Buying A Home
April 28, 2016

How to sell a condo fast

How to sell a condo fast (Image Source: Pixabay)Whether you’re making a career move and you’re on a tight timeline or you need to sell you condo fast to be able to move into your new home, there are ways to make sure your condominium doesn’t sit on the real estate market for long. You may face market challenges - many condo listings from your building or a tough seller’s market – while trying to sell your condo quickly, but making your property the most attractive and desirable in the neighborhood will help you land a high bid in a short period of time.

Pick the right agent

Choosing the right real estate agent is crucial is selling any property, but especially when you need to sell a condo fast. In fact, we recommend asking your potential real estate agent these seven questions before you agree to work with them. Your real estate agent needs to be familiar with the process of selling a condominium, which is different in some ways than selling a single family home. Make sure the agent you choose can offer condo listings they have sold in recent months and be sure to find out what neighborhoods the agent is most familiar with so you can have an idea of their experience (or lack thereof) with your particular building and community.

Competitive pricing

Your agent should offer a comparative market analysis for your condo. A CMA is a report that compares your condo to similar, recently sold properties within the same area. Agents will use a CMA to help you price your condo competitively to bring in the most potential buyers.A well-priced condo will get far more traffic than a property that seems out of a potential buyer’s reach or too pricey for your market. In fact, a lower priced unit has the potential to ignite some competitive bidding amongst potential buyers. While a bidding war isn’t guaranteed, it’s certainly more likely to help you sell your condo fast if the price is right.

Pick the right agent

Your agent should offer a comparative market analysis for your condo. A CMA is a report that compares your condo to similar, recently sold properties within the same area. Agents will use a CMA to help you price your condo competitively to bring in the most potential buyers. A well-priced condo will get far more traffic than a property that seems out of a potential buyer’s reach or too pricey for your market. In fact, a lower priced unit has the potential to ignite some competitive bidding amongst potential buyers. While a bidding war isn’t guaranteed, it’s certainly more likely to help you sell your condo fast if the price is right.

Sell the lifestyle

Many buyers prefer the condominium lifestyle because they’re responsible for minimal upkeep to the property, amenities are often included and condos are frequently located downtown, within walking distance to restaurants, shopping and public transportation. You’re not just trying to sell a condo fast, you need to sell the condo lifestyle. Walk through the amenities of your building with your real estate agent so they can develop the best marketing plan for your unit. Buyers want to know if purchasing your property gives them access to a hot tub, fitness center, owner’s lounge, covered parking or concierge services. Promote the hassle-free living experience that buyers simply cannot find in another building or a single family home.

Move-in ready

The appeal of the luxurious lifestyle of condominium living isn’t going to last long if your unit doesn’t make a good first impression on buyers. To sell you condo fast, make sure the unit is in move-in ready condition. Buyers often over estimate the cost to make general repairs or changes like a coat of fresh paint, updated light fixtures and professionally cleaned carpets. Take the initiative to make the small changes needed to de-clutter and neutralize your condo before you take photos or schedule any showings.

 

Putting these tips into action will result in a faster sale of your condo at a higher fair market value. In fact, if you’re looking to sell your Philadelphia condo, we’ll help walk you through the preparation process. On top of that, we’ll guarantee you we can sell your home in 90 days.

 

Check out our 90 Day Sale Guarantee here.  Your home sold in 90 days or less or we will sell it for free. 

We welcome these questions and more. If you’re considering selling your home and need help on where to start, give us a call at 215-370-1236.

Posted in Selling A Home
April 21, 2016

How much do realtors charge?

What’s your price? Everyone has one, even the real estate agent you’re about to hire. There’s a simple, and not so simple answer when you’re trying to discover how much do realtors charge. A real estate agent’s fee is a percentage of your home sale. The National Association of Realtors reports the typical commission for selling your home is 6%, which will be split 50/50 with the buyer’s agent. However, it’s important to know that a real estate agent’s fee is negotiable, which means your agent may charge slightly less than 6%, or more, depending on what you negotiate.

6% seems like a lot

“Six percent seems pretty high for a realtor’s commission. My agent’s just going to put my house on the Internet, right?”

 

If all your agent does is list your home for sale on the Internet, you’re right, 6% commission is entirely too much. But, if you shop around, interview and find the best real estate agent, you’ll discover that the fee is minimal compared to the amount of work your agent will put into selling your home fast at the best price possible.

What am I paying for?

A good real estate agent will put together a detailed, specific marketing plan for your home. From entering the house into the local MLS, promoting your home through different property search websites, direct mail flyers and networking with professionals in the industry, a qualified agent can market to countless potential buyers who you couldn’t otherwise reach.

 

Your real estate agent may also use paid advertisement to promote your home. Whether through pay-per-click ads on third party websites, spots in the local newspaper or real estate magazine, your agent will use a portion of their future commission fee to advertise your house for sale.

 

Another way great agents market your property is through open house events. The time spent planning the open house, promoting the event and networking the details to other real estate agents should all be considered when you’re negotiating a commission fee with your agent.

 

Perhaps one of the most important services you’re commission pays for is the agent’s representation during the negotiation process. From working to get the best price for your home to handling unforeseen contingencies during the closing process, your agent speaks on your behalf and fights for you to get the best possible deal.

Offers a lower commission

You’ve hear the phrase, “You get what you pay for,” right? The same is true for your real estate agent. While it may seem like a great deal when an agent offers to sell your home for less than most other agents, beware, the unbeatable offer may be a sign of lack of experience or skill.

 

When a real estate agent is good at what they do, whether it’s representing the buyer or seller, there’s no reason for them to take lesser pay for quality skill and intelligence. Strong marketing and negotiation skills are worth the fee.

 

While you’re searching for the real estate agent who you believe will sell your home fast for the best price, keep in mind that the commission is negotiable. Have an open conversation about the agent’s fee and ask them why they charge what they charge. You may find that the services they offer are actually worth far more than 6%, and you’re the one getting a great deal!

Check out our 90 Day Sale Guarantee here.  Your home sold in 90 days or less or we will sell it for free. 

We welcome these questions and more. If you’re considering selling your home and need help on where to start, give us a call at 215-370-1236.

Posted in Selling A Home
April 20, 2016

How to get my house ready to sell

Staged kitchen (Pixabay)There’s a big difference between simply listing a home for sale and knowing how to get your house ready to sell before putting it on the market. We get that once you make the decision to sell, you want to start the process immediately so you can sell your home fast, but taking a little time to do some prep work will pay off in the long run. Use these easy ways to get your home ready to sell and you’ll likely see higher offers and ultimately have your home sold more quickly than you expected.

Focus on the kitchen

Often times home sellers get caught up in attempting to make upgrades to many areas of the home. Here’s the deal, buyers want a great kitchen. An outdated kitchen can be an immediate deal breaker for potential buyers. The update you need may not be a complete overhaul. Focus on bringing in natural light, use neutral color paint and buy new cabinet hardware for an inexpensive, quick update. If you’re feeling a little adventurous, try out a new tiled backsplash for a modern look.

Clear out crammed closets

Buyers want storage space, especially in the bedroom closets. One way to get your home ready to sell is by clearing out a good portion of your things from the closets. Reorganize the items that are left so the space looks roomy and neat. Same goes for cabinets. Keep them organized and clear of clutter to allow potential buyers to see the space available.

Doggy daycare

Even if your potential buyers are animal lovers, Fluffy and Fido need to be out of the house when viewers come to check out your home. Whether you opt to take your pets for a walk during the showing, or place them in a doggy daycare for the afternoon, clear your home of the animals. The same can be said for all of their stuff. The pet toys, cages, and food should be removed from the house when your agent schedules a showing.

Clean carpet

If you have carpet throughout your home, have it professionally cleaned. This inexpensive preparation may save you thousands in the long run if buyers suspect they will need to replace the carpet. This is especially important if you have pets. While a lingering odor may not be present in your house, home buyers who have sensitive allergies will immediately pick up on the potential problem.

General repairs

The best advice to getting your home ready to sell quickly, is clean, clean, clean. Buyers want to feel like the home is move-in ready. The best part is cleaning your home is free (minus the elbow grease). Think about the walls, windows, flooring and appliances. Buyers will be eyeing every corner looking for work they will have to do before moving into your house, so get everything spic and span before you put out your “for sale” sign.

 

If your home is in need of larger repairs, like fixture or faucet replacements, you can make those changes without breaking the bank and the fresh updates will be a great selling point to potential buyers.

Check out our 90 Day Sale Guarantee here.  Your home sold in 90 days or less or we will sell it for free. 

We welcome these questions and more. If you’re considering selling your home and need help on where to start, give us a call at 215-370-1236.

Posted in Selling A Home