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Staging For A Faster Sale

by Allen Duhé

Most people think their houses are special.  And they are - to them.  But you aren't purchasing your own house; a stranger is.  Someone who wants to feel as though it can be their home.  So that means depersonalizing your property so others can imagine themselves living in it.  There are some basic rules that should be followed to enhance your sales possibilities:

1.  De-clutter!  Give your house a Spartan look; only leave whatever is absolutely essential for day-to-day living exposed on your counter tops.  Remove excess or over-scaled furniture (rent a storage unit, or ask Grandma is you can store some things are her place, but get it out!).

2.  Make your house age-attractive.  Recently I met with a lady in her eighties about listing her house.  It was absolutely pristine - but the furniture and accessories virtually screamed "sweet little old lady."  She had a collection of bisque babies which were beautiful, but are the type of thing mostly seen in houses occupied by - you guessed it - sweet little old ladies.  Given its size, price range and location, this pristine property's most probable purchaser was a young or younger couple (perhaps a down-sizer, but more likely a younger couple).  Not only did the collection make the house age-specific, it offered a very real temptation for children to want to "play" with the fragile dolls, thus giving the possibility of damage to the owner's collection.  To her credit, she had them boxed up and put away in record time.

3.  Get rid of "specific" colors.  That barn red kitchen might have fared well for brightening your day, but something more neutral will more likely appeal to a buyer.  Neutralize everything when it comes to paint - personalized colors limit your buyer pool.

4.  Pressure wash walkways, porches, and eaves, and do exterior paint touch-ups, if needed.  First impressions can't be recaptured with an "oops, now it's fixed" when they've already seen your house in poor presentation condition.

5.  Plant some seasonal "color" in front - especially near the entrance; even bright potted plants, like red geraniums flanking the door, will help say "hi folks, come on in!"

6.  Mulch the beds.  Again, first impressions can't be regained, so make that first impression count!

7.  Paint or re-stain the front door if it's faded.  First impressions.  Where have you heard that before...

8.  When you know your house will be shown, open all blinds and draperies, turn on all lights, even on a bright and sunny day.  And, most important - leave well before the showing is scheduled to take place, and don't come back till it's all clear!  People feel constricted to talk freely when the owner is present, and also it gives them an opportunity to ask the owner questions without the owner's REALTOR hearing the conversation, so any controversy or misunderstanding later becomes he-said, she-said and your agent can't help because he or she wasn't present for that conversation.

 

Competing In A Down Market

by Allen Duhé

 

 

When real estate is rocking and rolling, selling a property is easy.  Give it a dust-off, put it on the market, and sit back and watch people try to out-bid each other.  But when the market goes south - whether due to national or local setbacks, selling becomes more of an art form.  Inventory usually increases, prices often have dips, and properties are all competing for the same paucity of buyers.

First, let's talk about appearance.  First impressions can make or break the interest in a property.  If the front door is faded or mildewed, potential buyers are turned off, and there is no taking back that first impression.  Buyers interpret neglected entrances as a sign of more far-reaching deferred maintenance.   Power wash the entrance, touch up paint or stain, pot a couple of potted plants with a pot of color - red geraniums make a splash - and create a welcoming environment.

Ever Seller thinks their property is special.  Especially in down markets, it's essential for a Seller to think like a Buyer - look at your property as though you were buying it.  Nail holes where pictures once hung, or flat, listless finish on your flooring?  Perk it up!  Don't just try to patch walls and "touch up" the paint - even when applied from the original paint can, the paint will not match; the paint on the wall will have faded, while the paint in the bucket stayed fresh.  Paint the entire wall - quick fixes can work against you.

Don't spend money uselessly.  Ask a professional REALTOR which items will bring you a return on your investment, and which will be wasted money.  Kitchens and bath usually have the great return, while things like swimming pools return perhaps a fraction of their original cost.

Price competitively.  Yes, you do need a little "wiggle room," but pricing considerably above market price is counter-productive.  Instead, stick to your price.  Pricing considerably above market value is a huge mistake.

How do you price your house.   NOT with a "Zestimate" from Zillow or any other free website; most Multiple Listing Systems don't allow such sites to have their "sold" data, so the companies "estimate" what a house might have sold for - more like a guesstimate.  Licensed professional REALTORS have access to that data, and can help you price the house competitively - and have the resources to market your property.  During a down market, it's important to have not just exposure, but the right exposure.  Want that great exposure and the correct pricing?  There's one ready source:  Just Ask Allen.

 

 

 

Should I Buy a Home Now?

by Allen Duhé

I'm often asked if this is a good time to buy a home. Some clients are concerned that home prices may fall down the road, while others are convinced that home prices will go up.

Home prices are one factor in determining your cost of ownership, but so are interest rates and financing availability. Even though interest rates have fluctuated, they are still near historic lows. Since your monthly mortgage payment is a combination of paying down your principal and paying the interest owed, a one point rise in interest rates could cost tens of thousands of dollars over the life of your mortgage!

While a home is a major investment, it is also the center of your personal life. It's important to live in a home that reflects your taste and values, yet is within your financial "comfort zone." To that end, it may be more important to lock in today's relatively low interest rates while they are still available.

Please give me a call if I can be of any assistance in determining how much home you can afford in today's market.

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Allen Duhé
Van Eaton & Romero, LLC - A Latter & Blum Company, ERA Powered
2000 Kaliste Saloom Rd, Ste. 101
Lafayette LA 70508
337-254-7812
337-233-9700
Fax: 337-456-2124