Tips To Sell Your Home For Top Dollar In A Slow Market

How long is too long? In a dry market, a sales period of six months to one year isn’t unusual. Look at recent sales reports of similar homes nearby to determine a reasonable selling interval. In a hot seller’s market, a house that hasn’t sold within one month indicates a problem. In either case, there are several steps you can take before putting up the white flag.

  • Videotape your house, inside and out, and watch the tape as if you were a prospective buyer. Is the lawn weedy or the garden bare? Is your home uncluttered and spotlessly scrubbed? Sparkling-clean houses sell faster than those that look too lived-in or show an abundance of the owner’s personality.
  • Take a second look at your listing price. Visit open houses in your neighborhood. Are similar homes priced lower? Selling prices may have dropped since your first comparative market analysis. In a hot market, if you haven’t sold your home within one month, chances are good that you’ve overpriced it. If you do lower your asking price, consider a figure slightly below those of other comparable homes if you are interested in a speedy sale.
  • Do whatever it takes to be away from your home during showings and open houses. The presence of sellers makes it difficult for prospective buyers to take their time or talk openly with their partner and agent. Leave some treats out to make potential buyers more comfortable: beverages, nuts, cookies — anything that won’t lose freshness or be too messy.
  • Pay close attention to feedback from showings. The feedback can guide you in making home repairs, toning down your décor, making landscaping improvements and the like.
  • You can offer perks to buyers, such as cash bonus, closing costs or buy down their interest rate to lower monthly payments. You could also consider owner financing.
  • Neutralize your color scheme. Most buyers prefer pale, neutral colors that make it easier to imagine a new home as their own. Houses with white exteriors are the highest sellers; for interiors, try whites, off-whites or pale grays.
  • Expose Hardwoods and buff them until they shine. It’s amazing how many buyers will not even look at a house without hardwoods.
  • If you have dogs, cats, old carpeting, mildew or smoke problems chances are that a potential buyer may offended by the odor. Ventilate the home and invest in an air cleaning and deodorizing product to remove odors. Another option is a cleaning product with living enzymes that consume the odor causing agents and remove the smell permanently.
  • Staging your home is one of the very best ways to sell your home the quickest and for top dollar. Staging sets the scene throughout the home to create immediate buyer interest in the property. The way you live in your home and the way you sell your house are two different things. One idea is to pack up several large pieces of furniture and as much clutter in each room as possible. Don’t just shift to another room or garage, rent storage space and get it out of the house before showing.
  • Pay attention to lighting. Make sure light sources are clean. Cleaning them isn’t enjoyable, but the sparkling lighting will pay off. You may even increase the brightness factor of your rooms by adding brighter bulbs, or by placing accent lamps or cabinet lighting. Be sure and pull back the curtains and lift the blinds. For the best effect, use a balance of natural, overhead, and table or floor lighting.
  • Try readjusting your sights. Determine the lowest price you find acceptable, and consider anything more as icing on the cake. In a longstanding dry market you may even have to sell at a loss, so it’s important to take every offer seriously. You don’t want to alienate a potential buyer who has solid financing because you’ve set your sights unrealistically high.
  • If the market is underwater, consider offering an increased commission or a bonus for your listing agent as extra incentive. If you do sweeten the pot for your agent, amend your listing contract to reflect the change, and be sure it’s added to the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) book — buyer agents will also be inspired to give your house extra attention.

Top 10 FSBO Tips to Selling Your Home by Owner

By using some simple FSBO (For Sale by Owner) tips and techniques, the average homeowner can sell his or her own home without the assistance of a real estate agent. Just as many others have done in the past. You can sell your own home and save thousands, but it takes work and commitment.

Below you will read some simple strategies that can stack the odds in your favor, greatly increasing your chances for success when selling on your own.

FSBO Tip 1. Understanding the real estate market.

Getting an idea of your local market conditions makes good sense. Just like any other product getting a feel of what’s hot and what’s not can help you make decisions that affect the sale of your home. Consider your neighborhood and the features that distinguish it from others. If you’re comfortable, contact a real estate agent to discuss what the current market environment is like.

FSBO Tip 2. Timing is everything.

Timing the decision to sell and gauging the current market conditions could be two of the most critical decisions you make. If you need to sell your home quickly, the less flexibility, you’ll be able to have. Conversely, if you’re not in a big hurry you can sit back and wait for the perfect buyer. Just remember the real estate market is a cyclical environment. If it’s a slow period now and you’re in a position to wait it out then it might be a good idea to wait for the next upswing.

FSBO Tip 3. Assemble a team of professionals to help you.

While it’s nice to think that you can handle things on your own, selling a home takes specialized knowledge. It’s more than just writing up a sales agreement. Depending on what part of the country you’re in you’ll either need to find a real estate attorney or a title / escrow company to help with the legal details. As a rule of thumb, if you’re east of the Mississippi it’s usually a real estate attorney. If you’re west of the Mississippi, it’s a title company. Either way they’ll be an indispensable part of your home selling process. Another important partner to consider is a reputable mortgage banker/lender. They can assist in helping you prequalify buyer prospects. We’ll talk more about qualifying prospects as you read on.

FSBO Tip 4.How to determine the fair market price of your home.

This always seems to be a real tricky one. For many home sellers this typically reveals itself as a major point of contention. When trying to decide on a price guessing or basing your asking price on hearsay or nontraditional methods immediately reduces your negotiating advantage. Basing your price on what the house down the street sold for or what media outlets perceives as increased market value is not the way to get a legitimate price either. There are only two legitimate and well-recognized ways of determining a fair market value. One way is to contact a real estate agent or broker to provide you with a CMA otherwise known as a comparative market analysis. The best and most accurate way of determining price comes from a full-blown appraisal done by a professional real estate appraiser.

FSBO Tip 5. You’re selling a house not a home.

While it’s important to become emotionally detached, you don’t have to become a robot. After all this is your home, be objective but don’t be cold. Keep in mind that people are going to perceive your home differently than you do. Either way remain positive and ultimately the right person will walk through the door and buy your home.

FSBO Tip 6. Preparing your home for sale.

Today’s real estate market rewards those homeowners that place a high-value on neatnessas well as cleanliness. It not only adds value but alsogenerally promotes a quicker and more profitable sale. Once again the depersonalizing of your home helps your prospect with such an emotional decision. Decluttering the inside of a home is also key to your preparation. If necessary, rent out a small storage space and store some household items there. Just as a side note, having a garage sale is also a great way of getting rid of items that clutter up the house. Not only do you get rid of the items but also you make a little money in the process.

FSBO Tip 7. Start spreading the news.

It should be understood if you’re going to sell your home and you’re going to do it yourself, the easiest way to get the word out is to put a sign in your yard. This will immediately get the attention of anybody that happens to ride by. Naturally, this is the essence of selling on your own. Coming up with a highlight sheet to outline the key features of your home is a must. With the readily available use of word processing programs putting together a simple highlight sheet is easy.

FSBO Tip 8. Knowing a few, negotiating skills will get you a long way.

It’s not necessary to become the next great diplomat. You will want to keep in mind that it’s necessary to keep your emotions and personal feelings regarding the negotiating price of your property in check. When discussing the selling price it’s important that your calculations and numbers are correct. This allows you to have greater flexibility and leverage and you can negotiate from a position of strength.

FSBO Tip 9. Qualifying buyers and stopping the lookie loos.

So what’s a lookie loo? A lookie loo is a person that comes to your house and looks in everything. They,look in cabinets,closets and drawers check everything out but never make you a serious offer. You need qualified buyers looking at your home or it’s going to get very discouraging. One of the best ways of getting qualified prospects is to have them referred by your mortgage broker/lender. You can also take the direct approach. If you’re arranging a showing over the phone, go ahead and ask them if they are pre-qualified. Don’t be too shy when it comes to your prospects. If you’re holding an open house and someone expresses interest in your home go-ahead and ask. Most of the time if they’re pre- qualified they love to tell you. So don’t worry about asking, it’s the right thing to do.

FSBO Tip 10. If all else fails go to where the realtors hang out.

If after a while, you’re not getting the results that you were hoping for you can always go to the MLS option. This doesn’t mean that you have to list with a real estate agent or broker. As a private party, you can list your home with your local multiple listing service. Usually this cost a fee but by doing this you automatically expose your house to thousands of potential prospects all over the country. The upside is that you should be able to sell your home in short order. The obvious downside will be that you will have to pay co-op to an agent. Only in unique situations would the cost of co-opting be virtually impossible, due to low equity or some other extenuating circumstance.

These FSBO tips should give you a solid foundation to successfully selling your own home. There’s many specific ideas and recommendations that are beyond the scope of this article when it comes to pricing, preparing and staging your home, and all of the items previously outlined. You should definitely research and prepare yourself for the selling of your own home process. In the long run,it will make things easier and could either save you or even make you thousands of dollars.

7 Tips for Staging a Successful Live Event

In this age of online connections, live events continue to be an essential part of brand and business-building. Hosting a live event gives your brand and business the opportunity to stand out from your competitors. In this way you can have a deeper and more meaningful brand-building effect on your consumers that is more effective than indirect and media-centered marketing efforts.

Yet, with so many groundbreaking events happening all over the world, businesses and events professionals need to increase their efforts to make sure the event they stage will be engaging for their target audience and deliver their target objectives.

The live event industry is booming, so much so that the US Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the event industry will grow by 44% from 2010 to 2020, exceeding most growth predictions for other industries. Even so, there continues to be a lot at stake when organizing a live event. They are very expensive to put on and necessitate a substantial amount of planning – even if they only last a weekend.

Here are the tried and tested best practices for staging a successful live event.

Audio

Audio is the number one component when it comes to staging a successful live event. No matter what size, or type of event, the top event companies know that you must always strive for great audio; otherwise, you will lose the interest and attention of your audience.

More often than not, microphones will be part of the setup, so plan to test each and every one of them early enough that your audio engineers have time to deal with any problems that may arise, paying special attention to wireless frequency interference.

Additionally, get in the habit of using fresh batteries for wireless microphones for every single event. If you are utilizing a webcast audio feed, make sure it is clean and audible.

If your event is going to include remote presenters, schedule a test round with each of them, as most won’t be using a high-tech setup and, instead will be using a basic headset microphone or even a telephone connection.

Video

In the past few years, live video has proven itself to be the dominant form of marketing, and when used correctly at events, increases audience engagement. Live video at events offers brands and businesses the opportunity to tap into this engaging tool, bringing you and your customers together.

Just like in a TED Talk video, plan to have multiple camera angles to create a cinematic experience. Capturing raw moments and different perspectives helps everyone feel closer to the action.

The power of video is elevated by the fact that you can stream your events to audiences around the world, enlarging the live audience and furthering the results of the event you are staging. Filming any speakers, panels, or performers can later be turned into content (such as webinars) to promote your next event.

Visuals

In addition to the power of audio, visuals add an extra component to the story you are telling. The level and intricacy of the visuals are going to vary based on your brand’s aesthetics and the nature of the event; however, in all cases, some form of visuals should be used.

Motion backgrounds are a fantastic way of adding an extra dimension, as the subtle movement lightly enhances everything else that is occurring on stage. For a more extreme visual experience, LED lighting rental is the way to go.

Another idea is to incorporate your brand or business’s logo into the look of the event. All in all, you want the space that your event occupies to turn into an immersive environment.

Processing Fees

When selling tickets for your event, you may encounter ticket or credit card processing fees. Depending on the company, these can vary from 2.5-3.5% and may have an additional flat per-ticket fee.

Make sure that you are building these extra charges into the price, instead of adding them on at the end. Psychologically, customers would rather see a slightly higher ticket price than have a load of additional fees added at the end.

Venue

Selecting a location and venue for your event is a question that may require a lot of brainstorming. First, take into consideration the niche your event falls under and what (if any) characteristics your venue should have for that niche.

Once you have selected a venue, don’t solely focus on the positives, but also consider its limitations. Ask about power capabilities, if certain things will set off the smoke alarms, the weight capacity of the ceiling, etc. – go over all the small things that could potentially turn into big problems.

In the days and weeks leading up to the event, make sure the core team members know their way around the venue. When everyone is running around trying to get everything in place, knowing the quickest routes from A to B will feel like a blessing.

Wherever you decide to host your event, make sure that there are plenty of charging stations. You want everyone to be tweeting your event #hashtag all day long!

Technicians

When dealing with product and service suppliers, the most important tip of all is to hire the right attitude. You want to ensure that the people you are going to be working with are the creme de la creme of the industry.

Organizing and hosting these events can get slightly messy and intensely stressful, which can only be made worse if the people who are in charge of your audio, lighting, stage and rigging have not been listening and can’t remember what to do. A good, energetic, motivated attitude goes a long way.

Don’t forget to make sure you are rewarding your crew with good food! It is amazing how much more motivated people can get when the reward for hard work is a tasty snack or meal.

Feedback

After your live event has wrapped up, make sure to ask attendees to provide you with post-conference feedback. This is the key to ensuring that the next event runs more smoothly and is more impressive than the last one. If you don’t ask, then you may never know that the chairs were uncomfortable, that too many panels overlapped, or that the coffee machine was never full.

Pro Tip: As you will probably need to sleep for three days once the event is over, prep your post-event emails and surveys before the event even starts. Check that all the links are working and leave space for pictures that you can add from the event before you hit send.

By hosting a successful and engaging live event, potential customers can begin to develop a relationship with you, increasing the chances of them purchasing from you in the future.

Wall Art – Tips For Proper Placement

Nothing can finish a room’s décor like the effective use of wall art. But people are often perplexed about what to put where. Some of the most common mistakes I see are: art hung too high, size of art out of proportion with the size of the wall and art disconnected from the furniture beneath it.

Here are some tips to help ensure your wall art enhances, rather than detracts from, the overall look of your room.

1. The right height

Most people mistakenly believe that pictures should be hung at eye level. But whose eye? A 6’2″ man or a 5’4″ woman? A better way to gauge the correct height is by looking at how the picture relates to the furniture below it. A good rule of thumb is to hang a picture so that the bottom is 6-8 inches above a sofa back or 8-10 inches above other furniture. Higher than that and it becomes disconnected from the furniture and makes the room look out of balance.

2. The right balance

Another mistake people commonly make is hanging a small picture behind a large sofa. A picture should be one half to two thirds the width of the piece of furniture below it. If a picture is too narrow for the spot, you can flank it with two smaller pictures to fill the space.

3. Think of groupings as one picture

If you don’t have a large enough piece of art to adequately fill a big space, you can use groupings of smaller pieces. The individual pictures should be framed in similar materials (metal, wood, etc.). They don’t have to be identical, but they shouldn’t “fight” with each other.

Before you hang your grouping, work out a pleasing arrangement on the floor. You can also cut out pieces of paper in the same shapes as your pictures and tape them on the wall with painter’s tape until you are happy with the arrangement. For a cohesive look, the frames should not be more than about 3-4 inches apart.

4. Mirrors do triple duty

Mirrors not only have a functional and decorative use, but they can also become an architectural element. Placed where it will reflect a window and its view, a mirror can act almost as an additional window, increasing the amount of light in a room and making a room seem larger.

Placement of mirrors should follow the same rules of thumb as art, but make sure a mirror is high enough that people can see their reflections without having their heads cut off.

And don’t lean a mirror on the mantel, as it will only reflect the ceiling.

If you follow these guidelines when hanging your art, you will see how much more cohesive and balanced your room will look.