Real Estate Information Archive

Blog

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 49

Preparing Your House to Sell or Not!

by Pat Wattam

I found this article I wrote back in 2006 and was shocked that nothing has changed in real estate!  Buyers don't want to spend the money doing updates - they want a house ready to go.  This is a relevant today as it was 11 years ago.  Take a few minutes and read this article:

Preparing Your Home for Sale

Each spring you start your annual cleaning and then, one spring you discover that it is just time to move to a new house.  Where do you start to get your house ready for sale?  Many people think that they shouldn’t update their home because the new buyers might not like the colors they pick out….or they don’t want to do minor repairs because they think they will just knock a little off the asking price to compensate.  From my 20+ years of experience I can tell you that the home that looks the best and needs the least amount of work will be the one that sells the fastest and for the highest dollar.  So where do you start?

“Curb appeal!”  Many a house has gone begging for buyers simply because it didn’t “look good” from the street.  It doesn’t matter what’s on the inside if the buyer isn’t willing to walk in the door. What do you notice first when you drive up?  Does the landscaping set the stage for the house?  Is it overgrown or even non-existant??  This is an area where most sellers do not want to spend a lot of time or money.  Often, whatever was there when they purchased the home is still there.  Adding plants with bright colors really makes your house stand out in otherwise dreary weather conditions 

Walk around the house and look for peeling paint, loose or missing shingles, rotten fascia boards, rotten wood frame around windows.  These are items that are considered maintenance and should be done prior to putting the house on the Market.  Believe me, if you see it, the buyer’s inspector will certainly notice it and you’ll end up doing these repairs anyway.  Better to do them now!!!  … and take a quick look at your storage room/boat port/workshop.  If you can’t actually walk in the door, some serious house-cleaning is in order!  

Inside the house--You don’t have to redo the whole house to sell it, but a fresh coat of paint and new carpet with neutral colors will really brighten up your house and make it sell faster.  That wall paper you have had since the 80’s really has to go.  There are ways to cover it without expensive re-papering.  There are many little things you can do, that don’t cost a lot of money and will really make your house sparkle.  Change out light fixtures and knobs on cabinets, especially if yours are really dated.  Paint dark paneling a lighter color, and refinish the tub if it’s really looks bad – no one likes a tub that looks dirty and sometimes the finish is so far gone that you just can’t get it to look clean. Make sure all appliances work and have the HVAC cleaned and serviced – and ask the technician to look at your unit as if YOU were buying it. 

A lot of people ask me if all this is really necessary--since our market has been so strong since hurricane Katrina.  The answer is, “Yes!”  Today we have a lot more buyers who can qualify for a house but really have no available cash, which is why we see so many people getting 100% financing.  They don’t have the funds to update a house or make any repairs.  They will pass up a house that needs updating in favor of another one that is ready to go.

Let me leave you with this thought.  Even if you aren’t planning to sell your house for another year or two, wouldn’t it be great for you to enjoy the benefits of sprucing up your home?  When it’s time for spring cleaning, make a list of a few things that you would like to update and then do them.  When it’s time for you to sell, you will have much less work to do, and you will have had the chance to enjoy the updates yourself!!

Pat Wattam

RE/MAX First Realtors

The Right Marketing will Make My House Sell, Won't It?

by Pat Wattam

How many times have I met with a seller whose listing (of their home for sale) has expired with their current REALTOR and  when I ask why they (the seller) think their house did not sell, they typically say that their REALTOR did not do enough marketing.  And, sometimes that is the case.  One of the big things we bring to the table is our ability to Market the house to more people than an average person can, so that more people know about the house and you have the best opportunity to find the right buyer.  But when I also ask the seller how many showings they have had over the past 6 months and their answer is 30 then I know the house has been marketed properly.  Then my question is, 'why didn't any of those people make an offer on the house?  What kind of feedback did you receive?"  And then there is the typical response; "my agent didn't advertise it enough".   I already know at this point that PRICE is the issue.  Location and Price will attract a buyer.  PRICE and CONDITION will sell the house.

People always want to find someone else to blame for things not going their way.  Sometimes you have to ask yourself if you REALLY want to sell and are you ready to do what it takes to make that happen.  I have some clients who don't have the financial means to do the updates or their mortgage balance is too high and they don't have the cash available to pay the shortfall.  I also have other clients in the exact same position and they really want to make the house sell, so they borrow the money so they can move ahead with their life.  Other people don't have that option and just have to wait out the market or save up the money.  Life is short so if selling a house gets you to the next phase in your life, don't let anything stop you.  MAKE IT HAPPEN!!!

Do ALL Sellers WIN in a Sellers Market?

by Pat Wattam

Much of the country is experiencing a shortage of available Listings in their real estate Market - a shortage of homes for the buyers to choose from - and each home may receive multiple offers!  I discussed in my last blog how a buyer can structure their offer to WIN in a multiple offer situation.  Remember. all real estate is local so I can only really give advice for my area in the Greater Baton Rouge and surrounding parishes.

So, to the answer to the question - Do All Sellers Win in a Sellers Market in the Baton Rouge Real Estate area - the short answer is NO!  

Don't be too surprised. As I stated earlier, real estate is hyper local.  There are price ranges where the inventory is very low and I am receiving offers on these homes in the first 2 days - multiple offers.  But all of these homes were  in Tip Top condition, staged well, no clutter.  I have seen homes in these same price ranges languish for weeks because they were really not ready for the market and the market responded with a 'NO" to that house.  

I have homes in higher price ranges where there are plenty of homes and the buyers can be very picky as they have ample inventory to select from.  These homes cannot afford to not be in PERFECT condition.  Yes, the buyer wants new carpet and NO, they do not want an allowance.  They want to see and smell that new carpet when they walk in the door.  They don't want WALL PAPER!  You can price your house lower to accomodate some updates but honestly, most buyers don't have the time, or extra cash, to do the updating the house has needed for years.  And due to the flood it is hard for them to even consider getting a contractor to help them.  Of course, there are always exceptions.  If you have dogs, then the buyer would rather you put in carpet after you have moved - and this is when an allowance would probably work!

When contemplating selling your home, talk with an expert first.  Someone who can guide you through the process.  Of course, I prefer if you call on us, the Pat Wattam Team at RE/MAX First!!  We'lre here to help!

Nobody Is Buying My House!!!

by Pat Wattam

How many times have I heard a seller say "Nobody is making an offer on my house", or "They can always make an offer - why don't they?"

Here's the deal, plain and simple.  Location and price brings in the buyer.  Price and condition will sell the home.  So with proper marketing you will have people looking at your home.  But then, what is stopping them from making an offer?  PRICE!!  If you house is $40K over priced because of location, condition, or the Market, MOST buyers don't want to 1.  Insult the seller  2.  Make an offer to a seller who is unrealistic on their priceing and therefore can't sell because they may owe too much or won't sell at the market price because they don't have to.  The buyer just moves on to the next house.

Let's say your house is priced right, you get lots of showings, and no offers.  Sometimes the feedback from other agents say it all such as:  "Nice home but buyer put in an offer on another house".  That sentence tells me that 1.  The buyer found a home in better condition for the same price  2.  The buyer found a larger home in the same condition for the same price.  It all boils down to PRICE in the end.  

But sometimes Price alone won't make a buyer make a move unless it is a drastic price reduction.  The buyers don't have the money to fix or update a new house, or they just don't want to, OR, in a good market, there are other homes to buy and they just move one.

If you are unsure how to proceed as a seller to get your home ready for market, just give us a call.  We'll show you what you need to focus on to get you that sale on your house for the best price!!!

How TRID Affects Your Closing - in Baton Rouge

by Pat Wattam

When purchasing a home, the new TRID rules are supposed to make settlement statements easier to read and understand.  The closing documents need to be signed by the purchaser 3 days prior to closing.  This is all well and good EXCEPT - what do you do when you have sold your home, and are planning to purchase your new one on the same day - back to back as we say, and your buyer's CD is not ready timely.  Now you can't close until they do.  And what is happening with the seller of the house you are purchasing?  Is your seller willing to wait?  This is a question we face daily in real estate - and a prime reason you need a REALTOR when purchasing a home as we make our clients aware of the possible problems due to TRID.

The real solution to this problem is doing a lot of your homework BEFORE making an offer on a house.  If you have already met with the lender and provided them all the information they need, and the LENDER has given you the worst case scenario of how many days they need to close the loan, then you can easily write an offer and pick a closing date and be confident that you can meet that date.  If you haven't done this, then don't try to make a 30 day closing.  Select 45-60 days instead.  It isn't fair to your seller for you to select a closing date that your lender truly can't make - or will maybe just make it in time.  

AND the pittfall for you, as a buyer, in a hot real estate Market - as in some areas of the Greater Baton Rouge Real Estate Market - is you can't be sure that your seller doesn't have a better offer in a backup position.  Remember, the seller does not HAVE to extend the purchase agreement closing date just because the buyer's lender can't meet that date.  You ask for an extension to finish your loan, the seller declines and puts the back up offer in play.  AVOID THIS SITUATION by doing your homework first.  And, if you are in a multiple tier situation with buyers and sellers, make sure all buyers have done their homework up front or make sure you extend the closing date in your counter so that there is time to make all the closings coincide.

Is My House Ready For It's Closeup? -In Baton Rouge

by Pat Wattam

One of the first questions my sellers ask in the greater Baton Rouge Real Estate Market is "Is My Home Ready For Pictures"?  Here's a quick tip so that you know if your home is ready or not.  Remember, the marjority of buyers use their smart phones to look at houses.  That means, on a small screen, your house needs to look inviting.  Take a photo of each room with your cell phone camera and what jumps out at you?  You will quickly see how cluttered the house looks - even after you have removed most of the clutter!  What's the first thing you notice - BE HONEST!  Can you see the purpose of the room - or is all I can see in the guest bedroom is your furniture?  The buyers need to see how big the room is.  Are all your collectibles taking up the room?  The buyer doesn't want to see your but wants to be able to visualize theirs.  What about the color - is it something that would appeal to most people?  

I think if you are honest with yourself you will see what needs to be removed and changed to make the home inviting.  And by the way, if you have a beautiful outside, be sure not to block the view from the window!  If you have a nice big patio but not furniture, borrow some, rent some, buy something used - stage this area to make it inviting.  

Call on any of us at the Pat Wattam Team anytime and we'll be happy to look at your house and give you tips on getting it ready for us to sell!

Steps in Selling a House - Baton Rouge

by Pat Wattam

It came to my attention a couple of times this week that the sellers don't really understand the steps in the home selling process and I suspect it is because we all assume that a home seller is more knowledable than a first time buyer because they have been through the process.  And yet, if you only sell a house every 10 years or so, you really don't remember the steps.  So, here is my simplified version of what happens!

1.  Select your REALTOR

2.  With REALTORS suggestions, stage and price the house

3.  REALTOR markets house

4.  Buyers come with their REALTOR to see the house

5.  Seller receives feedback from those showings and makes changes based on comments, if necessary

6.  Sellers accepts offer on house - When this happens, the house is considered PENDING and is basically off the Market

7. Buyer makes loan application and orders inspection and lender SHOULD ORDER APPRAISAL

8.  Home inspection takes place

9.  All parties agree to repairs on home inspection and sale moves forward.  If no agreement, then sale falls through and house goes back on the market.  (On a 10 day inspection this whole process can take up to 16 days)

10.  Appraisal should take place (If you let you lender wait until AFTER the inspection process to ORDER the appraisal, the appraisal can delay your closing as it can take up to 2 weeks to get this done, especially in the summer)

11.  Final underwriting approval

12.  Closing docs avaiable 3 days prior to closing.

13.  Closing - this is where the buyer gets key and the seller gets their money

14.  Move out

It is so crucial to have a good REALTOR and a good LOCAL lender to make sure that things stay on schedule.  

Why Do I Have To Reduce My Price? Baton Rouge

by Pat Wattam

Why do I have to lower the list price of my house?

First off, as a home seller, you do not HAVE to lower the price of your house but you may need to in order to find a buyer!  When REALTORS list a house there are many factors that are considered.  We rely most heavily on the most recent sales around the house - homes in the same subdivision, same size, and same amenities.  Many times a lot of weight is placed of the living area square footage.  Other times the seller insists that their house is better than any others that have closed so their house should be priced higher.   And sometimes the house has more amenities than the others in the subdivision so we want to give those updates some extra value.  However, in the end you just make a judgement call together based on the information you have.  BUT, by the time you have had 10-15 showings and you don't have an offer, then price becomes the issue.  Remember, Price and Location attracts buyers but once they see the house it is all about Price and Condition.   So, if you have showings and no offers you have to do something - or you will continue to get the same results!  You have to change the price to find the sweet spot where the buyers for YOUR house are shopping. 

The next possible issue is that the real estate Market starts declining and the price you started with is no longer in line with the most recent sales. That's why you have to look at the market monthly to see where the market is headed.  You want to jump ahead of a downward trend instead of chasing it down and always being behind. 

If the condition of the property is not as updated as the homes that are closing, then that might be the best option - spend a few dollars updating and make it sell! 

Keeping things the same with price and/or condition with generate the same results!  So, what's your best course of action?  Give me a call and together we will look at the market and determine the best price to start with - and if the market rejects it - then we move on to a different price to REPOSITION your house in the market.   That's how you get your house sold!  Call me anytime for a free consultation.

Many people in the Baton Rouge Real Estate Market ask me why can't they just sell their house in it's current condition - just sell it 'as is'.  You know, they have lived for years with the house in this condition and it worked fine for them.

Let me explain a couple of terms.  To sell a house in 'as is' condition in Baton Rouge real estate  typically refers to the buyer accepting the house AT CLOSING in the condition it is in, giving up their recourse against sellers for problems the seller did NOT know about.  That is customary and typical here.  What it is NOT typical is selling the house with NO REPAIRS at all - which is what most sellers think of when they think of AS IS!  

When a seller sells a house in AS IS condition, even if the condition is excellent, it sends a red flag to a buyer and they will generally pay much less for a home like this.  We will see this mainly in estate sales where the heirs are not going to come in and redo a house just to sell it.  A seller can save thousands of dollars by first of all, putting the home in good condition, and then selling it but not selling it without any repairs.  Want to know how that makes you money as a seller?  Just give me a call and I'll show you how!  I also have several videos available for you to view - all are under 18 minutes long.  

5 Things To Make Your House Sell Faster - Baton Rouge

by Pat Wattam

Here are the 5 things you can do to make your home sell faster and for more money:

 

1.  Kitchens and bathrooms sell homes.  Make sure both your kitchen and your bathrooms are as up-to-date as your budget will allow.  If you only have a small budget, this pays big dividends when selling.

 

2.  Paint freshens up a home in amazing ways.  It can make a worn, live-in home look almost brand new.  Repainting your rooms will do wonders to making prospects love your home.

 

3.  Make sure your carpets are completely clean and stain-free ... or replace them with new ones.  If you have hard wood floors, make sure they look dynamite.

 

4.  Fix everything.  Prospects notice the smallest things, and it's usually the small things that kill a sale.  Leave nothing to chance:  replace all burned out bulbs, screw in all handles and knobs, repair cracks in tiles or in your driveway, etc.

 

5.  Get rid of the clutter.  Prospects want a big, spacious home to put their stuff.  So get rid of "stuff" in your house so the rooms look bigger and more spacious.

Unsure of where to start? I have a set of free videos available for you to watch.  Or give us a call at the Pat Wattam Team and we'll help you sort out what needs to be done and in what order!

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 49

Syndication

Categories

Archives

Share This Page

Contact Information

Photo of Pat Wattam Real Estate
Pat Wattam
RE/MAX First, Independently Owned and Operated
4750 Sherwood Common
Baton Rouge LA 70816
Office Direct: 225-298-6900
Office Main: 225-291-1234
Fax: 225-295-1234

RE/MAX First
Each Office Independently Owned and Operated
Main: 225-291-1234

Licensed by the Louisiana Real Estate Commission