Selling Your House During the Holidays

The same applies every season!!

Mary Ferguson & Associates

Does it sound like more of an inconvenience than a great idea? Most “experts” will tell you that Spring is the best time to list a house for sale, though that may be fairly accurate, selling your home during the holidays comes with numerous benefits as well! Whether to sell or not at the end of the year has more to do with your particular situation and the market. First, a few tips to consider. 1. Decide if you really want or need to sell at this time. What is your plan? Why do you want to sell? Where will you go? Once you are committed to the challenge, be sure to, 2. Hire a reliable real estate agent. You want someone who is not going to disappear during this crucial time. Ask friends & family to refer you to someone they know & trust. Interview the agent(s): ask questions…

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Preparing Your Home for a Spring Sale

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The holidays have passed and new year has begun.  What is in store for you this year? For me, my goal is to double the number of listings I sell in 2014.  If you have been waiting through the holidays to list your house for sale during the market’s ever-popular season, Spring….the time is NOW! Think about it, from the point you make the decision to list your house, to hiring the right Realtor to sell it for you (ahem), to preparing your house for sale, the average days on the market before locking in a solid offer, to closing day. You are looking at approximately 120 days. Here’s the realistic math: You spend approximately a week researching agents and set up an appointment or two to talk about selling your home.  Let’s say, you sign the listing agreement right then (because you’ve decided your agent, Mary Ferguson is the best choice) and the listing date is set for two weeks from now. You’re already three weeks into deciding to list your home and the process has barely begun! The average days on the market for a home priced, presented, and marketed properly is around 56 days.  A typical contract will close 45-60 days after you accept the offer. You are now looking at a mid May closing date, provided you listed your house in January.  Most families prefer to buy and move during this time because the kids are getting out of school and they need to get registered for their new school by a certain time. So, are you prepared to list your home this month? It is more than just hiring an agent to plant a sign in the yard and “tidying up”.  Here are some tips, in no particular order on making your home presentable for a quick sale:

  1. Pack & store whatever personal belongings you will not need or can live without for the next 3-6 months. If you have a basement or garage, store boxes neatly, or better yet, rent an off-site storage unit.  Packing up not only makes your house appear more open and uncluttered, but it also motivates you and solidifies the decision to sell.
  2. Do a deep clean; think, “white glove”. I mean, wash windows inside & out, clean and paint baseboards, get the carpet and flooring professionally steam cleaned, maybe the furniture too.  Clear all hard surfaces (countertops, desks, tables, etc) and leave out a couple decorative items only. But do not just stash things somewhere; keep in mind that buyers open doors, drawers, and cabinets! PAINT! Neutral colors and décor not only freshen up a home and give it a cohesive look, but buyers will not be distracted by “custom” paint colors in each room like electric pink, dark brown, or (gasp!) wall paper. Dust everything- lamp shades, shelves, decorations, ceiling fans… You get the idea.
  3. Tidy up and de-clutter your closets.  If you haven’t worn it in a year or longer…sell it, donate it, or pack it up. Free up space in all closets, including the pantry, so as to appear to have plenty of neat storage space.
  4. If you have children, put toys away in an organized fashion, preferably in their bedrooms. Making a room “multi-purpose” just adds clutter and shows buyers that the house might not have enough room for them. Make the dining room a dining room, the living room a living room, not a play room/ office/ gym. Try to designate the room as it was designed to be. Try your best to keep beds made.
  5. Pay attention to curb appeal.  It might not be grass-cutting time yet, but you might want to hire a lawn care company to get rid of weeds and trim shrubs and trees.  Plant some pretty flowers in the ground or potted, near the mailbox and/ or main entry to the house. Paint the front door and shutters if necessary. Get the house power washed from the roof the concrete if necessary. Keep the outdoors clean; no trash, broke down cars, broken kid toys, etc. Poor curb appeal could be a major turn off and the buyer may not even want to see the awesome work you’ve done on the inside.
  6. Create an inviting patio space for outdoor entertaining. Make sure patio furniture is clean and place out some fresh potted flowers.
  7. Appeal to all five senses. The buyer can SEE that your house is nice & clean, but what do they smell? Re-heated leftovers? A strong cooking spice? Animals? Run some warm water and Lysol in your sink before buyers arrive (drain before you leave!). Boil some orange peels on the stove top (turn off before leaving). Burn an apple pie scented candle. Try not to use air freshener in a can, you want the scent to be inviting, not “I’m trying to cover up a bad smell with worse-smelling aerosol”.
  8. Be safe about what is left out. Important mail, small electronics, prescriptions, jewelry, firearms and whatever else you think is personal and do not want others to see: put them away in a safe place. Though the buyer’s agent may be showing them around your home, you must remember they are complete strangers to you.

As a mom and Realtor, I know keeping your home perfectly presentable waiting on a showing is near impossible, so be smart, use an eye of a buyer, and prepare ahead of time.  A helpful tip: Place a bin or laundry basket in or near each room. When your agent calls to schedule a showing, “clean up” by putting out of place things like toys, jackets, laundry, newspapers, etc into the bin and then load the bin and your family into the car. This relieves a little bit if stress for you when a short-notice showing pops up. Trust me, it will happen! 

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As a motivating incentive for those of you considering selling your home, I would like to make this special offer: I will sell your home in 90 days, or I will sell it for free! Of course, certain stipulations apply, but they are easy and I am more than happy to talk more about it when you contact me. I hope these tips were helpful and I wish you the best in your home-selling ventures!

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*I am a Realtor® with Keller Williams Realty Atlanta Partners North Gwinnett. I am a listing specialist for the North Gwinnett, South Hall, South/ West Jackson, and West Barrow areas. I can be contacted at MaryFerguson@kw.com, on Facebook at MaryFerguson-kwAgent, or visit my website, www.NortheastGAhomes.com. Real estate is my passion & purpose. I love what I do, & I’d love to help you!

What’s Your “Big Why”?

What’s Your “Big Why”?

            According to Gary Keller in his book, The Millionaire Real Estate Agent (MREA), “…one thing all high achievers have in common is they are working for a Big Why. The Big Why is about having a purpose, a mission, or a need, that in turn gives you focus. High Achievers always have a Big Why powering their actions.”  Ever seen anyone work the day before their vacation begins?  It’s amazing! They instantly become the model employee, showing others how to get things done. What is their Big Why? VACATION! So, the day before, the employee is on a time-management mission by screening calls, ignoring trivial emails, and forgoing the water tank chit chat. Tasks are accomplished in record time, there is still time to drop the dog off, pack their bags, and put the mail on hold! A Big Why brings big focus and big energy; likewise, a Little Why brings little focus & little energy.  What if you could live every day with such purpose & concentration? How far could go? How much could you achieve?

            I have plenty of whys I could discuss, but Gary Keller mentions numerous times that my Big Why should be “Being the best I can be”.  This adage can be applied in virtually every dimension of my life…and yours.  Be the best parent you can be. Be the best sibling you can be. Be the best child you can be. Be the best employee you can be. Be the best spouse you can be. Be your best for God. Living the “be the best I can be” lifestyle is certainly easier said than done, but it is possible. It takes intense focus & concentration on your Big Why. Make a Big Why focus board and hang it where you can look at it EVERY day; where you can be reminded and inspired by it. Here’s mine:

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            The last three years have brought me a lot of hardship and extremely dramatic changes to my life.  In hindsight, I can honestly say that only my faith brought me through it all and I am in a better place for it.  The one thing that kicked my motivation into high gear was earning my real estate license, something I had been wanting for over 10 years.  I just always found something else to spend that time and money on.  But when I suddenly found myself with all the time in the world and very little money, I jumped in head first and signed up for Real Estate classes that just so happened to start on my birthday. Now, I was on my way to the career of my dreams, the career I have always felt I was put on this Earth to do. Society tells us to do what we love, and it will never feel like a job. I am living proof. In the beginning, and still now (sometimes), it is/was quite a struggle, testing my family, my faith, and questioning my decisions. I dug in my heels and did my best to produce business and get my career going. Now I’m proud when a former client sends a referral to me, or when someone randomly recognizes my face or name. It is proof that I am doing what I am meant to do and my business continues to grow year over year.

            So, what’s your Big Why? Get a pad of paper and a pen, and sit quietly for a moment and start jotting down all your little whys….why you do what you do every day. Is it for your kids? Save for retirement? Want a new car? Supporting your elderly parents?  It is the cumulative of all your little whys that lead you to your Big Why.  My little whys that add up to my Big Why of “Being the best I can be” are helping others pursue the “American Dream”, create security for a balanced personal life & financial management, Acquire or build my dream house on the lake, “Live like no one else now, so I can live like no one else later” (Dave Ramsey), create passive income from investing in real estate to support my children’s college life, retirement, and “play time”, do all things pleasing to God & for His will, and ultimately provide for my kids and live “comfortably”. I will not achieve these things unless I am trying to be the best I can be EVERY single day. So, think about it, meditate on it, write your thoughts down. Make this your New Year’s resolution. Achieve your small goals one at a time, that will lead you to your big goal, your Big Why. Be blessed this Christmas & New Year.

 Love, Mary

 

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*I am a Realtor® with Keller Williams Realty Atlanta Partners North Gwinnett. I am a listing specialist for the North Gwinnett, South Hall, South Jackson, and West Barrow areas. I can be contacted at MaryFerguson@kw.com, on Facebook at MaryFerguson-kwAgent, or visit my website, www.NortheastGAhomes.com. Real estate is my passion & purpose. I love what I do, & I’d love to help you!

Selling Your House During the Holidays

Does it sound like more of an inconvenience than a great idea? Most “experts” will tell you that Spring is the best time to list a house for sale, though that may be fairly accurate, selling your home during the holidays comes with numerous benefits as well! Whether to sell or not at the end of the year has more to do with your particular situation and the market. First, a few tips to consider. 1. Decide if you really want or need to sell at this time. What is your plan? Why do you want to sell? Where will you go? Once you are committed to the challenge, be sure to, 2. Hire a reliable real estate agent. You want someone who is not going to disappear during this crucial time. Ask friends & family to refer you to someone they know & trust. Interview the agent(s): ask questions, learn their marketing strategy, and get a feel for their integrity & willingness to go above & beyond to get your house sold quickly & for top dollar. 3. Don’t overdo it on the holiday décor; you do not want to make the house feel cluttered or distract the buyer from looking at the house. 4. Price your house to sell. Regardless of what you have done to the house, what your neighbor sold for, or what you originally bought it for, it is only worth what the buyer is willing to pay. 5. Curb appeal is still important in the Fall & Winter months. Be sure to rake leaves, keep gutters clean, clear walk ways of snow & ice. In the South, you can even get away with planting some colorful cool-weather flowers. 6. Keep your house warm & inviting. If you know your house is about to be shown, light an aromatic Fall-scented candle, light the fireplace, or bake some cookies, leaving them to cool on the stove top (maybe with a little note telling buyers to help themselves!). You want to appeal to all five senses if possible.
If you are still on the fence whether or not to sell your home during the holidays, the following are the Top Ten Reasons why you should consider it.
10. By selling now, you may have the opportunity to be a non-contingent buyer come Spring, when many more houses are on the market for less money! This allows you to sell high & buy low!
9. You can sell now for more money & your agent should be able to provide for a delayed closing, or extend occupancy until early next year.
8. January is traditionally the month for employees to begin new jobs. Since those transferring to the area cannot wait until Spring to buy, they buy your home!
7. Some people must buy before the end of the year for tax purposes.
6. Buyers typically have more time to look for a house during the holidays than during a normal work week due to the extra time off from work.
5. Buyers are more emotional during the holidays. They are in the buying & giving spirit, so they are likely to pay full asking price.
4. Houses show better when tastefully decorated for the Holidays.
3. Housing supply typically increases in January & February which means there will be more listings competing against yours. More competition means less money for you.
2. Even though your house is listed, you still have the option to restrict showings during the few days around the holidays where you might have a house full of guests, or gifts scattered everywhere.
1. People who are looking for a home during this time are more serious buyers!
The Holidays give serious buyers the opportunity to scoop up a great home, for a great price, and they will be most appreciative, especially if there is a lack of good inventory in the area, which is an issue the market has been dealing with all year. So, give the best gift ever to someone this Holiday Season, a new home!

 

 

 

References: frontdoor.com, http://www.frontdoor.com/real-estate/top-10-tips-for-selling-your-home-during-the-holidays
Lundon, Diana. Realtor.com, http://www.realtor.com/home-finance/real-estate/sellers/sell-house-holidays.aspx