"As Is" What?

Sometimes homes are placed on the market in "As Is" condition. This usually means the home has some things that need to be attended to, but the seller has no intention of fixing anything, so don't ask!The seller may not have an interest in fixing anything in the home or may not Have the funds to do so. 

Typically, an As Is sale will pull the ultimate price of the home down a bit to more than cover expected fix up costs.So, should you list your home As Is? Well, the best answer in real estate is, it depends. It depends upon what the issues are, how fast you want to sell, funds you may or may not have available to you to spend, and more. 

The best advice is to consult with a professional real estate agent to determine your best course of action. 

Reverse Prospecting

Our MLS system has a really cool feature called, Reverse Prospecting. It works like this, when an agent enters a search for a buyer, they use specific touch points like price, area, bedrooms, baths, etc. These get matched up with properties on the market that meet there requirements and properties are sent to the buyer for review. 

Reverse prospecting is used by listing agents. We can go into the reverse prospecting system and actually see the agents who have searches entered where their criteria meets our listing. I will then go and email each agent and give them a brief paragraph about my listing and a link for more information. I do this for every listing I have. 

I send out emails each morning to the new searches that come up overnight. Two things amaze me about this system. 1) That these emails prompt agents to bring their clients to my listings, and 2) that so few agents in our area take advantage of this system. 

Reverse prospecting is just another way den Boer Homes markets our seller's homes. If you would like to hear more about our marketing, give us a call today. 

Your house isn't worth it...NOT!

I have many conversations with agents regarding the marketing of listings. Many times I get asked at what price point does my marketing kick in? You know, how expensive a home must I list before they get all the "Good" marketing?Without a second thought, my answer is usually $1. 

ALL my listings get the full complement of marketing. I have listed a single wide trailer before and put a post and sign out front along with fliers. Inside this home I also placed home books for buyers to take that showcased the professional photos I had taken. My question is, why would you not do this? Cost? Come on, the commission money I receive for my services far out weighs the cost of the marketing I provide. 

Besides, you never know who, other than your sellers, you might impress with your marketing skills. Maybe, just maybe, these sellers know more people who need to sell as well.My marketing is available to all sellers (And Buyers too). If someone tells you your home is not worth it, give den Boer Homes a call. 

Just go with the flow...

Interestingly, one local county, Dekalb, in the Atlanta area has enacted a "Low Flow" policy wherein any homes sold within the county must be certified as having all low flow plumbing fixtures. 

This policy came about during the last local drought and is an effort to conserve water.The actual maximum flow rates are 2.2 gallons per minute in the Kitchen, 2 gallons per minute from other faucets, and toilets that use 1.6 gallons per flush or less. 

These all have to be certified by a licensed plumber, home inspector, or Department of Watershed Management inspector. All well and good, but what happens if the fixtures are not low flow?The Buyer is on the hook to bring these items up to code, at a cost not to exceed $1,000 per toilet. Wow, the Buyer?

I would think the Seller should have these items brought up to code before selling their home, but that's just me.

I will get to it, OK?

No, actually it is not OK. As a matter of fact, not getting to it could cost you a bunch of money. 

Once a buyer is under contract to buy a home, the clock starts ticking on several important time lines. For instance, the lender will start asking for lots of different paperwork. The Buyer will need to get this paperwork delivered to the lender in a timely manner. 

I have a current client who has dragged their feet getting paperwork back to his lender. As a consequence, we will not be able to close on their new home as we expected. I have managed to delay the closing by 5 days in hopes that the lender gets what they need. This delay was possible because we have a good agent on the listing side. 

What happens if the seller decided not to delay? Well, with one exception, an 8 day unilateral delay, the Buyer could possibly lose their $1,700 earnest money deposit and the house. Really? Yep.So, when you go under contract to buy that dream home, don't let it become a nightmare by not following your lender's instructions. 

Is It Worth It?

When discussing repairs and updates with clients, I find it useful to be able to tell them whether or not the expected return on investment makes sense. I am able to do this by employing the Cost Vs. Value report available at www.costvsvalue.com. 

In essence, this report gives expected returns for many repairs and upgrades you might do to a home. For instance, I just had my deck rebuilt on my home and added black aluminum balusters and low voltage lighting. While the report says I probably paid too much, and I would agree, it also says the expected return on this investment is around 81%. Good to know. 

I know that this newly rebuilt and updated deck does add value to my home, but I would not have had a clue about a starting point without this report. While you may disagree about some of the numbers in the report, at least it gives you a starting point when discussing needed repairs and upgrades with clients.If you are looking to market your home this Spring and are not sure where to start, give den Boer homes a call. We can help. 

Free Advice?

Let's face it. We all have a friend or neighbor that is a Plumber, Doctor, Nurse, Attorney, or any of the other thousands of job holders that may have information the rest of us need. How often have you caught yourself calling a friend who is a Nurse and asking him/her about a fever or rash instead of going to the Doctors office? Or checking with your CPA or Attorney friend about a question that you swear will only take a second for them to answer? Happens all the time.It also happens in Real Estate. 

We agents get asked all the time from friends, relatives, and neighbors, questions about all sorts of things. What color should I paint my living room? Should I renovate or sell? And these I love, I am selling my home to X investor company. I don't have to pay a buyer agent! Can you help me with the paperwork? Many questions are simple and easy to answer. Others, not so much. 

Honestly, I really don't mind helping when I can. But as agents, we have to be careful how far we go in giving help without representation. Did you know that most agents carry a special insurance that helps if errors in contracts are made? Its called E&O insurance. Did you also know that this insurance probably will not cover the agent in a situation where they are not representing legally the aggrieved party?It's true, in a lawsuit happy society, we agents have to protect ourselves. 

So, when you ask an agent a real estate related question, just know there may be limitations on their answer to you unless you engage that agent in representation. 

Now, any questions? 

It's All About Location...and Price

It's interesting to me to see how differently properties are received by agents and the public. For instance, I have homes listed at $169,900, $315,000, and $395,000. As you might expect, the lower priced property is getting 3-5 showings a day, and we have received 5 offers that the seller is looking over. 

The $315,000 home was just listed, and we have gotten several showings already. What I didn't tell you is that this listing is also a rare ranch home over a basement. I expected it to do well, and it is starting out great. 

Then there is the $395,000 listing. It is in a great established neighborhood, with a great location, and priced well. In just over 30 days, the crickets are the most notable activity we have had. The reason? Several. This time of year is typically slower for home sales in this area. Also, price point.Interestingly, the $400,000 and above price points in our area have really slowed. 

Those homes in the sub $200,000 price points, we can't get enough of them.And so it goes. Sort of a tale of two, no three, cities. 

Subliminal Color Pops

I use a professional photographer to photograph all my listings. It really pays off with spectacular images of the home. However, some homes I list are pretty bland when it comes to color. The walls are "Agreeable Gray", the kitchens are earth tones, etc. In order to catch a potential buyer's eye, I use a little subliminal help. 

Notice the picture at the top of this post. The cabinets are white, the appliances are black. Not much color in between. I add the Reds to the photo. Notice the Tea pot on the stove. The red towels on the oven door. The red bird on the counter. These are all added to the picture to make it "Sticky". I want to make potential buyers linger on a picture. Not just glance at it and move on. The red color does just that. 

To complete the set I also hange red towels in the master bath and secondary baths. I also have a red napkin holder I place on the kitchen table as well.I have found that by adding these Pops of color, people do stop on the picture and often say how pretty the room is. 

If you are looking at ways to spruce up you home pictures look at adding in some color! 

Did we miss the market?

I have a listing going live in a week or so that I started talking to back in May of this year. Since our first meeting, the Sellers have been trying to close on a new build home that for many reasons kept getting delayed. Had it closed on time, we would have been able to list their other home right in the Spring-Summer busy season. Alas, it was not to be. 

So they asked, have we missed the selling season? Short answer, yes. Longer answer, it really does not matter. Other than taking a bit longer to sell, as long as the home is ready for showing and is priced right, the season really does not concern me. What we will do is what we always do when we market a home. We follow a pretty rigorous marketing plan that gets homes sold. 

Every season for real estate offers opportunities and challenges. Look for an agent who understands these nuances when deciding to sell your home. 

Should I wait till Spring to sell?

This time of year in Real Estate tends to be a bit slower than in the Spring for sales. However, we have sold homes in every calendar month. In fact, about 60% of our home sales have been in the last 6 months of the year.So, are there negatives about placing our home on the market this late in the year? 

Well, if your home is show ready and priced right, it will sell, no matter the time of year. In the slower months it might take a bit longer to sell, but sell it will!By not selling in the midst of the Spring madness, you will have less competition for your home. If the neighborhood averages 10 homes for sale in the Spring, it is very conceivable that there could only be 3 homes for sale in the Fall. This is not a bad thing at all. 

So, if you are looking to buy or sell a home this Fall, give us a call. We can help you navigate through the process. 

Fun in Kennesaw Ga. - Part 2

I posted yesterday about a great museum in Kennesaw devoted to the Civil War and the part trains played. However, that is not everything the town has to offer. 

Just a few miles outside of the Kennesaw Town limits is a jewel of a park. The Smith-Gilbert Botanical Gardens. Read more here. I must admit that I had never heard of this before and it has been open to the public for 10 years now. 

The 15 acres of this garden contain a butterfly house, Rose Garden, quiet forest walks, Sculptures, Koi Ponds, and a neat Bonsai display.There are dozens of cool sculptures scattered around the gardens and lots of places to sit and reflect on the beauty that surrounds you. 

If you are looking for a pleasant way to spend an afternoon or morning, check out the Gilbert-Smith Botanical Gardens in Kennesaw Ga. 

Fun in Kennesaw, Ga.

The city of Kennesaw, located NW of Atlanta was the site of a famous Civil War story. In essence, a small band of Union soldiers infiltrated from Tennesee to Kennesaw in order to steal a locomotive. They would race back north to Chattanooga, burning railroad bridges as they went. This would stall any advance from Atlanta and protect Union forces as they attacked Chattanooga, an important railway junction. 

This museum is a terrific place to find out all about this adventure!The museum also has the restored locomotive here, called the General. Also available to see is a special train car gifted to Georgia by the French after WWII. It was filled with gifts from the French people. There were 49 of these individual train cars given to various states by France with their appreciation for the US and their help during the war. 

Very kid friendly as well with a learning center just for them. I enjoyed it too!Just a block from here is a terrific restaurant called Trackside. If you go, ask to sit upstairs in the open air part of the restaurant. If you have never been to Kennesaw Ga. it is definitely worth a look for the great downtown area with shops and apartments, as well as lots of places to see.Posted by  

Top Gun Activities in Marietta Ga. !

There is never a dull moment in the are unless you specifically want one! Marietta Ga. is home to a very large Lockheed plant. Right next to one of the main gates in the Marietta Museum Air Wing, an outdoor parking lot (15 acres) of really cool planes! 

For $5 per person, my wife and I went on a guided tour by a retired Navy flyer and ex-Lockheed employee. This 2 hour tour took us inside and around many Vietnam and later era planes. The picture above is from the cockpit of a C141b Starlifter. 

We also enjoyed seeing an F14 Tomcat, and speaking to the retire airforce guy who flew them. He was also an instructor at the famous Top Gun school in Miramar.All-in-all we had a great time, If you find yourself in the Marietta Ga. area, look this place up. You will not be disappointed. 

Persistence and Preservation Pay Off

Luckily, in Real Estate transactions, the vast majority of closings go off without a hitch. There could be a document needed at the last minute, or something pops up that needs attending to, but all-in-all most closings are happy ones. 

Then there are the ones we agents talk about over and over again. Like the closing where buyers and sellers had to be separated in different rooms so that no one would get hurt. Or the time the attorney disappeared from the table for awhile. She was doing drugs in her office! Or the time buyers refused to show up at the closing table until a feud with the Home Owners Association was resolved. I had to threaten legal action to get them to the table, 4 hours late! 

Yes, closings can be fun, but good agents strive to make sure that the closing for our buyer or seller goes as smoothly as possible. 

Give us a call to find out what we at den Boer Homes do to try and assure smooth closings. And if you ask, we might tell you about some of our more adventurous closings! Names will be changed to protect the no-so-innocent!! 

We can save money by not using a buyer's agent, right?

Over dinner this past weekend, I listened to the story of a buyer who was told that they could save 1/2 the commission fees by not using an agent in their transaction. Who told him this? The listing agent. When I asked if this was put into the contract, the answer was no. They just "Assumed" this would happen. I assume it won't. 

There are unscrupulous people in the world that will tell you something and then not follow through with what they tell you. I know this is hard to believe, but it happens. Oh, and the listing agent was related to the sellers and would receive a cut of the profits from the sale of the home. Can anyone say conflict of interest?The truth is, buyers are usually not charged for their agents time and efforts. The seller pays this. 

Yes, this is in the price of the home, but there is no separate charge for the buyer's agent. Unless something is put into the contract contradicting this, when a listing agent sells a home to an unrepresented buyer, they get to keep all the commissions. They are not generally given back to the buyer or seller.The most important issue though is lack of representation of the buyer. 

Most buyers really need someone to represent them and be there to answer their questions. Don't just assume that by purchasing a home unrepresented that you will save some money. The odds are that you won't.To learn more about how the real world of real estate works, give us a call at den Boer Homes. 

Not so Secret Agent

There area a few trades around where you will see a person's name on their shirt or a badge with their name on it. It is, however, still fairly rare to see. I am an agent that wears a name tag everywhere I go during the work week. 

I once had a very successful agent deride me for wearing my name tag. She even went so far as to try and make me feel stupid for doing so. Didn't work though! My name tag has allowed me to connect with people while I pump gas for my car, while I walk to my car from a store, and yesterday, at a fast food restaurant where the cashier asked me if I could help her find a home.You see, I am proud to wear my name tag and announce to the world that I am open for business. 

The only confusion it might cause me is when people I don't know greet me with my name, and momentarily I wonder how they guessed my name!So if you see me around town, stop me and ask me how the local Real Estate market is doing, or just say, Hi Pete! 

If you were to stay, what would you do next?

I really like asking this question to my potential seller clients. Along with my suggestions of what the seller should do to make their home ready to sell, I like to ask them what they themselves would do to the house if they decided to stay. Things like paint the living room, or recarpet the upstairs, or replace some shrubs around the house that were on their last leaves, or fix some rotten wood around the windows. These are, coincidentally, the same things that potential buyers will be saying about your home. 

When the seller thinks about this question, it helps them understand better what the potential buyer will be thinking as they view their home. These unaddressed issues can become costly to the seller during offer negotiations as well. For instance let's say a room needs to be painted. The seller can paint or pay someone to paint. Let's say the opt to have it painted for $500. More often than not, if the seller does not paint, the buyer will ask for money to cover the cost of painting once they move in. And magically, their cost estimate can be many times the actual cost, when negotiated. 

So, when thinking about repairs around your home, the money you invest in making your home nice could be much less than what a buyer will ask you for to complete the same task. 

Talk to your favorite Real Estate agent to find out more about getting your home ready for sale. Or call den Boer Homes and let us become your new favorite Real Estate professional. 

New Office!

Atlanta Communities opened up their new Woodstock office last week and it is beautiful! We took a bank building on the main drag through Woodstock and converted it to a great new 18000 sq ft office space. First floor is reception and agent offices as well as conference areas. 

The second floor has a full kitchen, agent offices, and a great training room that holds over 100 agents at a time.The third floor has more agent space as well as a full video studio and separate pod cast area for the agents to use free of charge.Outside, under the old drive through, 5 new eight seat picnic tables are arranged for agents to enjoy some fresh air. 

If you find yourself in the area, please stop in and look around. This new space provided by our terrific management team is sure to fire up the 380+ agents working from this facility. 

We need to sell first, but let's go look!

There are many times that home sellers need to be looking for the next home. If there home sells before they find the next one they could end up homeless and/or in an expensive hotel until they can find and move in to the next home. This dance of trying to have back to back closings is always a bit stressful for everyone. 

But what if the potential sellers are not even thinking of selling their home for 6 months and want to start looking for the next one? Well, if they are amenable to putting their home up for sale quickly once the next home is found, and the market will support a quick sale , then fine. But what if these conditions don't exist? 

I am afraid these folks might be wasting everyones time. What if you do find that perfect next home? Do you really believe it will still be there waiting for you in 6 months? Probably not. I would suggest waiting until you are a bit closer to the date you wish to list your home before hitting the streets looking for the next home. This will save you, and everyone else the heartache of watching that perfect next home go to another buyer who is ready to pull the trigger. 

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