First impressions are huge! Staging Tips

Maximize your condo’s appeal by putting your home in order. Your property should be ready for the market before you begin showing it. If necessary and possible, put some of your items in storage.

A furnished classic bedroom format
A tastefully staged bedroom

It’s important to be flexible about showings. Home selling is often disruptive to daily life and it’s no different with a condominium. Of course, it’s a lot of work to have your house ready to show on the spur of the moment. But prospects that can’t see your house won’t buy your house. The more often your home is shown the greater your chances of selling the property.

For more information or to set up an appointment call Stuart at (703)765-0300.

Properties in Fairfax

Tips for Pricing your Home or Condo

Consider comparables.

Julie Nesbitt
Julie sold another!

What have other homes in your neighborhood sold for recently? How do they compare to yours in terms of size, upkeep, and amenities? If you live in Old Town Alexandria, it’s important to look at what homes have sold for in Old Town Alexandria. If you live in Kingstowne look at sales prices of similar homes in Kingstowne. Also, understand the distinction between sales price and listing price. When looking at comparables, the sales price is what the home actually sold for.

Consider competition.

How many other houses are for sale in your area? What condos are for sale in your building? Are you competing against new homes? Are they building a brand new condominium across the street? In this case the listing price is what other people are asking for their homes. I hate to be the one to tell you, but no one cares what you paid for your home. Whether you paid too much or too little, the price is still governed by homes listed for sale now and homes that have sold.

Consider your contingencies.

Do you have special concerns that would affect the price you’ll receive? For example, do you want to be able to move in four months? The more hoops you expect to put your buyer through, the lower price you can expect. This is true for buyers moving to the area to work at the Pentagon or for tech savvy buyers working in Tysons Corner.

Get an appraisal.

For a few hundred dollars, a qualified appraiser can give you an estimate of your home’s value. Your Condo Alexandria REALTOR® can make some recommendations, or if you prefer at no charge we can prepare a comparative market analysis to see what you home might sell for. We’ll take a look at homes that are for sale now and similar homes that have sold recently.

Be accurate.

Studies show that homes priced more than 3 percent over the correct price take longer to sell. This is probably even more true now that we are in a buyer’s market.

Know what you’ll take.

In the end, it’s critical to know what price you’ll accept before beginning a negotiation with a buyer.

For more information or to set up an appointment call Julie at (703)765-0300.

The Art of the Price

Pricing is an art form that requires experience, a delicate touch and an understanding of what sets the price in your condominium community. If you need to sell your condo quickly: don’t reach for the highest price you could expect. Aggressive prices rarely sell quickly. On the other hand, there is no need to panic or become desperate. Don’t price too low and walk away from your equity. Price is very important, but if there is no market for your condo, you won’t get more market by giving away your equity. In a slower market, it’s a good idea to remain patient.

Your Condo Alexandria agent can help you price your condo right. It’s true that price is often is the biggest differentiator in a tight market. But, your Condo Alexandria agent has proven strategies to move your condo quickly if you need to pull out in a hurry.

 

Properties $1,000,000 to $1,200,000

For more information or to set up an appointment call Nesbitt Realty at (703)765-0300.

Sellers: Make a Better Offer, Without Contingencies

As the inventory of for-sale homes remains at low levels, sellers are getting more comfortable at the bargaining table and telling buyers to cool it with the contingencies. In competitive situations that attract multiple bids, some sellers are even telling buyers they want an offer without mortgage contingencies.

A mortgage contingency, often included in sales contracts, provides buyers with a safety net of being able to get out of the deal without forfeiting their down payment in case they are unable to obtain financing within a certain timeframe.

Some sellers are telling buyers they want non-contingent offers — and better yet, make it all-cash too.

“When you have a market that’s heating up, sellers feel emboldened to say to buyers, ‘I’m not going to give you this clause because I don’t want to take the risk that you can’t get your mortgage,” Marc Israel, the executive vice president of the title insurer Kensington Vanguard National Land Services, told The New York Times. “The last thing sellers want to do is tie themselves up with a buyer for some extended period of time just to have the buyer cancel the contract.”

This has put some buyers in a risky spot. If their financing is delayed or denied for any reason — which isn’t that uncommon in a tight lending environment — buyers may be left with having to turn over their down payment.

Peggy Aguyao, an executive vice president of Halstead Property, says in New York it’s not uncommon for even higher bids to be passed over by sellers in favor of lower bids because they are non-contingent or all-cash offers.

Gea Elika, a principal broker at Elika Associates, an exclusive buyers’ brokerage, says his brokerage never advises clients to proceed without a mortgage contingency. For those clients who insist, “we’ll try to go to a major lender that’s preapproved the building in the last three months. Then we may try to find a portfolio lender as a backup.”

Source: “Mortgages: When a High Bid Isn’t Enough,” The New York Times (May 9, 2013)

Marketing a Home for Sale

We love helping clients
Nesbitt Realty sold another

Marketing a home for sale involves several important steps. First, Nesbitt Realty orders professional quality photos of the property from both the exterior and the interior. We also take 3-D imagery and prepare a floor-plan. Nesbitt Realty will create a virtual tour online. The photos and flooplan are used in online and print advertising to make home buyers aware that the property is on the market. Nesbitt Realty handles all the details of arranging showings. Nesbitt Realty also holds open house events to allow potential buyers to view the property without scheduling an appointment. We utilize both print and online advertising, and have one of the largest Internet footprints in the area. Finally, we of course don’t forget to place a sign out front to let passersby know that the property is for sale.

[Read more about selling your home]

Tips for Home Sellers

When it’s time to sell your house, townhouse or condo here are a few simple tips for realtors and home sellers alike.

Turn on your heart light.

Turn on the excitement by turning on all your lights – both inside and outside. Whether you are showing your home in the evening or in the day, lights add color and warmth. Prospective owners feel welcome in spaces that are bright and airy.home buyers dreaming of a home

Don’t crowd your buyers.

Potential buyers often feel like intruders when they enter your home. Rather than giving  your house the attention it deserves, prospects are likely to hurry through. When the  homeowners are present people often feel uncomfortable looking in closets and laundry rooms an other private areas. Additionally, rooms filled with people give the impression that the space is small.

I love pets … but not your pet.

Dogs and cats are great companions, but not when you’re showing your home. Pets have a talent for getting underfoot. Some prospects are allergic to some animals. Sadly, many people love their pets, but they don’t like your pet. It’s in your best interest to keep the animals outside or out of the way of potential buyers.

Don’t create distractions

Rock-and-roll will never die. But it might kill a real estate transaction. Most of us love music, but not all of us love your music. When it’s time to show your home, it’s time to turn down the music. Turn off your TV because the last thing you want is for one of your buyers to watch the game while his wife falls in love with your house.

Give a wide berth.

A smiling seller is a welcome site, but a pesky seller will chase a home buyer away. It’s important to be friendly but avoid being conversational. Anything you say could be construed to imply a warranty or could cost you thousands in negotiations.

Put things in perspective.

Some buyers will point out shortcomings or flaws in the property. It’s best not to respond orally to these challenges. Utterances like these are seldom personal in this context. So, never take offense. Understand that these statements might be an indication of the buyer’s ignorance, but sometimes the buyer attempting to frame negotiations with these statements. To engage the comment is to agree with the premise of the utterance.

For more information or to set up an appointment call Julie at (703)765-0300.

 

What is the MLS?

Most people have heard of the MLS, but many are unclear as to exactly what it is. MLS stands for Multiple Listing Service.

MLS
The MLS is a database of homes listed for sale.

The Multiple Listing Service is probably your best tool as a home buyer and your best friend as a home seller.

But what exactly is the MLS?

The MLS is a database.

In the old days MLS databasing was done on filing cards and notebooks. Today that information is aggregated on computers. MLS data includes information about what properties are for sale and certain details about those properties such as condo amenities, number of bedrooms, garage parking. Almost everything you’d want to know about a given property is cataloged on the MLS.

Much of that information is public, such as the selling price and the address. Some of that information is private, or reserved for those who have professional access to the MLS. For example, real estate agents know which properties are vacant. The general public doesn’t need to know this information as sharing that information might pose a risk to some property owners.

Yes, the MLS is a database, but it is also something more.

The MLS is a marketplace.

The collection of information on the MLS serves as the primary repository of details about real estate for sale or rent. MLS data is the foundation for most websites, and it is the primary reference point for most real estate professionals. As properties are contracted and sold, the data is constantly updated. Today, most agents and websites have data that is practically up to the minute.

The MLS is not free, but it’s free to you the consumer. Agents and brokers pay fees for access to MLS data and to fees to maintain and improve the system. Professionals like me make that data available to the public for the purpose of helping buyers and sellers connect.

The MLS is a tool.

Like all tools, the MLS gives the best results when wielded by a professional. (More on this below.)

The MLS is for sellers.

Home sellers want access to the maximum number of buyers, in the most cost effective manner. When compared to the expense of newspaper, radio or other ads, the MLS is incredibly targeted and very affordable. The professionals who use this data will only bring qualified buyers shopping for property in your price range. It doesn’t get better than that.

When a seller chooses a real estate agent with MLS access, the seller’s sales force is equal to the number of agents who are using the MLS. The larger pool of prospective buyers the greater the chance that the property will sell quickly and for a fair market value.

The MLS is for buyers.

The MLS makes home shopping extremely convenient. MLS data does not cost the buyers a dime. Thanks to the internet and sites like NesbittRealty.com you can search MLS listings 24 hours a day 7 days a week. Many consumers find that a “self-search” through the MLS is a good starting point for finding the right home.

A real estate agent is for you.

In the old days consumers needed an agent to help them look through the data. These days its easy for the public to access most of the data available. So, you can do it yourself.

But if you try to find a home on your own or you try to sell without an agent, you’ll quickly discover why most people choose to employ a professional. It’s true: you could probably cut your own hair, change your oil filter and fill your own cavities. But why would you?

These days the problem isn’t that the data is hard to find. The data is often up to the minute. These days, the problem is that there is too much data. Buyers are overwhelmed with choices. Sellers are drowned out by the noise of available information.

That’s one reason why when it’s time to get serious about buying or selling, a real estate professional can help guide you through the process.

Most agents know the tricks and secrets of the MLS.

As an agent, I have access to more complicated tools and search processes not available to the consumer. I work with the MLS every single day. The MLS is one of the most important tools in my toolbox. Once you have an idea of what you want to accomplish, I can employ the MLS in ways that you haven’t imagined.

Recent Listings

For more information or to set up an appointment call Julie at (703)765-0300.

Basic Condo Selling Tips

It should be obvious, but start by choosing a selling agent that cares about you and your condominium. The agent you choose should also understand the benefits and challenges of the condominium lifestyle.

Halstead
Halstead at the Meto

An agent who has never lived in a condo or owned property in a condo might not appreciate the benefits of life without guttering, lawn care or exterior maintenance issues. Your Condo Alexandria agent knows how a condo community functions and just how great it is to own a condominium. A Condo Alexandria agent understands why some units are more than others. A Condo Alexandria agent can help others understand what a great view you have or how nice it is to be close to the parking lot.

Each condo has its own benefits. We find your unit’s benefits and make them obvious so that the buyer who wants your condominium can find it.

Properties in Arlington

For more information or to set up an appointment call Nesbitt Realty at (703)765-0300.
Northern VA real estate agents
Nesbitt Realty sells real estate, fine homes & condominiums in Northern Virginia

Negotiations

In a tight market, there will be offers. Be ready for all offers and don’t be offended if someone tries to lowball you. You know what your condo is worth. Sometimes a lowball offer is just a buyer’s way of asking you if you’ll negotiate. Your reply should be, “Sure I’ll negotiate, but I’m not stupid.”

For this reason, decide in advance what price and terms you’ll find acceptable.Then, respond with a counter-offer to keep the ball moving.

For more information or to set up an appointment call Nesbitt Realty at (703)765-0300.

Sellers Who Delay May Miss Out

Some would-be move-up home sellers are eying home prices carefully. They’re waiting to see how much home prices appreciate more before they consider selling their home. But they may be missing their perfect opportunity, some housing experts say.

The best time to move may depend on when the home owner purchased their current residence, says Daren Blomquist, vice president of RealtyTrac. Blomquist says that home owners who purchased their home during the sluggish market the last two to three years may find moving up in 2013 may be their prime opportunity.

“Because they bought near the bottom, these home owners should have built up some good equity that can go toward the purchase of a new home, and waiting longer to build more equity likely won’t provide much advantage given that other homes that they might want to move up to will also be appreciating at roughly the same pace,” Blomquist told HousingWire.

Home owners who wait much longer to sell their home may miss out.

“If you’re selling one house just to move up to another, it does you no good to wait for prices to rise — the price of the move-up home will increase faster than the price of the place you’re leaving behind,” says Redfin CEO Glenn Kelman.

Plus, mortgage rates are expected to come off the 3.5 percent range and reach 4.4 percent in the next year, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. That will increase the costs of financing your next home.

Source: “The Time to Sell Is a Waiting Game for Some,” HousingWire (March 21, 2013)

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