3 Things to Keep in Mind When Negotiating a Home Purchase

By Kevin Reid Shirley

Negotiating tactics. It’s a topic that business authors adore. This is perennial best-seller territory…so much so, you could probably fill a moderate-sized home library with titles like The Art of the Deal and Getting to Yes.

When it comes to negotiating a home purchase in {Your Region}, fine-tuning your offer — finding the balance between writing a winning offer and writing the most advantageous offer — can present a real challenge. Add to that the national headlines that tell us that there are more bidders out there vying for the same properties, and it makes sense to listen to what the experts have to say about the most successful tactics. When you’re negotiating a home purchase in {Your Region}, some of the most repeated generalities are applicable:

  • Keep your cards close to your chest. Kenny Rogers sings about it, and every poker player agrees: when you’re negotiating, it’s almost always prudent to volunteer as little information as possible about yourself and your home search. If you aren’t considering any other properties, don’t let the sellers’ agent in on the fact. Never lie, of course; but find a polite way to be vague. The less you say about personal connections to the property, the better. Stick to the numbers and terms.
  • Keep Your Paperwork Smart. Likewise, if you are approved for, say, a $350,000 loan, but are writing an offer for $325,000, instruct your mortgage broker prepare a pre-approval letter with the amount of your offer — not your full buying power (that’s just asking for a higher counter offer!).
  • Negotiate for the win, not just to win. If you get caught up in negotiation, it can cause you to lose sight of the big picture, which is winding up owning the property you want. If a seller won’t budge on price, ask yourself if the property is actually worth the price they are asking. Canny buyers keep in mind that this isn’t about “winning” by getting sellers to come down to your bid, it’s about winning by getting the home purchase that makes sense for you. If the comps support the price (and you know you’ll be delighted with the house) do be open to weighing the merits of the deal…even if it’s not as rock-bottom as you had hoped.

A home purchase is a complex, sometimes emotional process — but going in with the right mindset can make all the difference. Good luck hunting! If you’re looking for an agent to help you every step of the way, I’m standing by all summer waiting to lend an experienced hand!

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Kevin Reid Shirley is an associate real estate broker licensed in Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virginia. You may reach him at 202-320-6634 or kevin@RealAstute.com.

Buying a Home Takes a Team of the Right Professionals

By Kevin Reid Shirley

I’ve written about the professionals who are on call to help anyone who sets about selling their house — but there is another team of pros who can be called on when it comes to buying a home. Buying a home is not quite like any other purchase — even those with high dollar amounts. Buying a new Audi or Dodge Viper, for instance, can run you well over $100,000, but you don’t need much more than a fat savings account and willing car salesman to complete the deal.

Buying a home is just different; you need to be able to count on the help of a number of professionals from a number of different fields of expertise. Before you are handed the front door key, you’ll need to secure the necessary funds, acquire the property in a legally-bulletproof manner, and diligently investigate various aspects of the home’s plant and history — all the while protecting you against any kind of fraudulent representation. Here are four of the professionals whose assistance will greatly facilitate the process.

The most basic requirement for buying a home is the substantial amount of money involved. Most often, the actual cash is pledged by a third party — bank or other financial institution — which supplies it in exchange for your promise to repay it over time. There are several financing options, with mortgages being the most popular: that makes the Loan Officer the person to consult. The loan officer will advise you on the types of mortgages available, the amount you qualify for, lay out the chosen payment plan — and take you through a substantial amount of paperwork.

A great REALTOR® contributes a lot more to buying your home than just selecting which of the current listings will be the most suitable. That REALTOR will arrange showing schedules that make the best use of your time and energy, will be a trustworthy key player when you are evaluating and negotiating the price of a potential home, and sometimes will unearth possibilities that are only available to one who is plugged into the ongoing real estate market 24/7. Your Realtorcan also help you identify other members of your team.

Your Inspector is the professional who will give you the go-ahead on the condition of the property. That inspector will use a lifetime of experience to go over the physical plant and prepare a comprehensive report on its every critical aspect. It’s often the prime determinant that guides your decision about whether it truly fits the price you are agreeing to pay.

When you’ve reached the final stages in buying a home, it’s the Title Attorney who facilitates the actual transfer of the property. He or she will prepare the legal documents that legally record the transfer of ownership from the seller to you, as well as oversee the proper and timely deposit and disbursement of funds.

This summer will be prime time for buying a home. It all starts with a phone call — if you’re looking for a top-notch professional, I hope you’ll be making that call to my number!

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Kevin Reid Shirley is an associate real estate broker licensed in Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virginia. You may reach him at 202-320-6634 or kevin@RealAstute.com.

When Selling a Home, Which Upgrades Matter Most?

By Kevin Reid Shirley

For owners who are contemplating some major upgrades with an eye to eventually selling a home, there’s always the question of where to do the upgrading. Last year, the National Association of Home Builders weighed in with a study of what today’s home buyer “really want” — which supplies some guidance that may be helpful.

Although the findings aren’t directly applicable for every home, the concepts that were cited as most popular can be informative, particularly to creative-minded homeowners ready to take a fresh look at how they might add allure and value to their property.

While the kitchen remains the top location for upgrades, there are several other valuable options for adding appeal in other areas of your home.

“Drop Zone”

A Drop Zone is designer-speak for any area that conveniently serves as a catch-all utility area. As such, it can be just about the most cost-effective upgrade for owners selling a home because many prospective buyers recognize their value. Such spaces can be customized for use as laundry rooms, mudrooms, or areas where children can store backpacks and coats.

Open Plan Family Area & Kitchen

While many upgrade preferences are regional, one that continues to hold appeal across the board is the creation of an open area where family and friends can congregate. Whether it’s part of an eventual campaign for selling a home, or simply to accommodate your family’s appreciation of the property, it’s worth considering an upgrade that would result in creating more of an open, airy multi-use area.

Master Bedroom as Retreat

When it does come to selling a home, one of the most alluring investments an owner can make is to transform the master bedroom from a ho-hum bed-and-dresser into a welcoming sanctuary. Some design specifics to help achieve that effect:

  • Lighting improvements, like recessed fixtures and wall sconces
  • Upgraded ceilings and moldings
  • Hardwood flooring
  • Walk-in master closet
  • Custom-designed storage multipliers (like tilt-out bins and pull-down racks)

Master Bathroom as Spa

Transforming a master bath to include spa attributes is increasingly popular (when you think about it, it’s really a continuation of the master bedroom/retreat idea). Selling a home today means anticipating the value many buyers place on bathroom upgrades—like separating bath and shower, and upgrading tile floors.

If you are weighing remodeling choices — especially if you suspect you’ll be selling your home in the future — give me a call. I’ll be happy to consult about the alternatives, and which are most likely to maximize your property’s resale appeal!

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Kevin Reid Shirley is an associate real estate broker licensed in Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virginia. You may reach him at 202-320-6634 or kevin@RealAstute.com.

Thinking of selling? 5 reasons to do it now
Thinking about buying a home in the next year? Now’s the time! Don’t wait …

Thinking about buying a home in the next year? Now’s the time! Don’t wait …

Selling a Home — Little Things Can Be a Big Deal!

By Kevin Reid Shirley

This summer, success in selling a home in will depend upon the same factors as always: location; quality; buyer appeal.

A home’s location — short of calling in the house movers — is pretty much what it is. The structural quality of workmanship and the level of maintenance that it’s received though the years can be gussied up where it shows (and should be), but that, too, is largely a done deal.

Which leaves that other factor in selling a home — the little things that reach out to appeal to buyers. The difference between receiving a swift offer and not can hinge on what makes your home more desirable than others in its price range.

A good example is with closet space. Any property with a closet organization system will carry great appeal to a large number of prospective buyers. Likewise, advanced technological touches can stick in buyers’ memories at the end of a long day of house tours. They don’t even have to be expensive or whole-house systems: a simple programmable thermostat that can be accessed on a smart phone can be an interesting selling point that sticks in the memory. It’s the kind of touch that isn’t a great deal of trouble to install — but it can provide the edge that makes selling your home that much easier.

More extensive tech-savvy features, like tricked-out media rooms or home offices wired to the hilt, are also very hot right now (especially for today’s younger homebuyers) and can provide the edge you’re looking for — if.

What’s the “if”?

If when you are readying your home for showings and open houses, you —

  • prep to emphasize each of these special features (like leaving that system-organized closet door open with the light on);
  • you make sure your agent is in the loop, ready to showcase key elements; and
  • stage to bring out less visible features — whether it’s printing up a list of newly-refurbished utilities or setting out a wine bottle and glasses with a note to “be sure to check out the killer wine cellar downstairs”

It’s also possible that some appealing features are ones that you take for granted; you’ve simply gotten used to them, yet they ought to be emphasized. Often those are details that your agent will be helpful in pointing out. Whatever is unique and desirable will make selling your home that much easier.

If you will be selling your own home in this summer, I hope you will give me a call. There’s never an obligation, but if you wish, we can go over your property to uncover the marketing options that will make it a stand-out: the one with the edge!

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Kevin Reid Shirley is an associate real estate broker licensed in Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virginia. You may reach him at 202-320-6634 or kevin@RealAstute.com.

Moving Up: Was it Worth Waiting?
If your family plans on moving up in the next twelve months, it may make sense to move now rather than later. Prices are definitely still appreciating and, unlike the last year, interest rates are also projected to increase. 

Moving Up: Was it Worth Waiting?

If your family plans on moving up in the next twelve months, it may make sense to move now rather than later. Prices are definitely still appreciating and, unlike the last year, interest rates are also projected to increase. 

"For Sale by Owner" Signs: 5 Reasons They’re Rare

By Kevin Reid Shirley

When you determine to sell your house, one of the first choices that comes up is tactical: do you try to sell it yourself as a “For Sale by Owner” property — or do you enlist a real estate agent? Since your object is to maximize your profit, you might think that most thrift-minded home owners would decide to eliminate the agent’s commission and do the work themselves. But that’s not the case.

The majority of sellers ultimately team up with a estate agent. Sometimes they go the For Sale by Owner route first, but after testing that method, change courses. The statistics show that the selling price of Realtor®-assisted home sales is higher (a $40,000 difference, according to the latest study) which certainly would explain part of the reason. But other factors come into play, too:

  1. Pricing: If you aren’t immersed in the real estate business five to seven days a week, there’s no way you can have the intimate knowledge about the current market that comes with daily work in the field. A real estate agent comes armed with extensive knowledge of the local market and all the changes that have brought it about. It’s extremely important to price your home correctly to sell it on the first go-round. It’s a demonstrated fact that the longer a home sits on the market, the lower its final sale price. 
  2. Time and Energy: A For Sale by Owner sign in the front yard means you are in charge, 24/7! That’s despite any other demands on your time — for example, your job! One of the benefits of using a real estate pro is that selling your property is our singular focus: our job! It means marketing, networking, working with buyers. Doing whatever it takes to get your house sold is our first priority. Lacking the same kind of time and resources, a For Sale by Owner seller is at a clear disadvantage in the competition to sell houses. It’s a marketplace where one missed buyer can mean the difference between a listing that turns into a sale…and a listing that turns stale.
  3. Objectivity: The house is yours: you designed or decorated it; you’ve fixed and painted and mowed and swept it. If you took your work seriously, you feel at least some pride in how it’s presented. Unfortunately, that’s a problem. Lacking objectivity in the sales milieu can be one of the biggest hindrances to actually selling your house. It makes it hard for you to negotiate—to see and acknowledge the flaws a buyer sees. And it can make buyers wary of even wanting to negotiate with you in the first place. Either factor can prove costly. Separating owner from sales agent opens communication. It’s a relief for everyone.
  4. Paperwork: This is the most obvious point. If you choose to wade into the paperwork/deadline process yourself, you’d be wise to count on needing a bit of extra attention from a good real estate attorney — if only to avoid potential litigation down the line.
  5. Security: It’s unfortunate, but putting your house up For Sale by Owner can make you a target. Less-than-honest folks are out there — creeps who may specialize in sellers who might not follow the proper measures for letting people into their homes.

If you are looking into selling your own home this summer, I’d like to offer you a complimentary property evaluation. Whether or not you decide to go the For Sale by Owner route, it’s sure to be well worth discussing what to expect from today’s market!

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Kevin Reid Shirley is an associate real estate broker licensed in Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virginia. You may reach him at 202-320-6634 or kevin@RealAstute.com.

How a Home Buyer Can Make the Most of a Seller’s Market

By Kevin Reid Shirley

Wasn’t it just yesterday that we seemed locked into a classic home buyer’s market? Bad economy, bad job numbers, tanked real estate values were all we heard about … until it eventually shifted. Over the past year or so, it’s become a very different landscape. If you’ve been out looking to become a home buyer, it’s possible that you’ve found yourself putting in offers on multiple houses  … and also possibly watching from the sidelines as another home buyer walked away with a deal. If this isn’t a true seller’s market, to you the difference may not be apparent. 

In any case, when prospective home buyers find themselves vying for one of the plum homes that are now appearing in this summer’s listings, there’s no need to passively watch as others get the nod. If you are sure of the value of the property you are going for, there are straightforward tactics for improving your chances of winning the day:

  • Offering at or above list price is the time-tested way to give you the best shot of getting your contract accepted over bidders who offer less than list. Real estate prices are again on the rise, increasing your likelihood of being able to recoup the extra money if you decide to sell several years down the road. Look at the comps with your agent to determine what an aggressive — yet realistic price — will be.
  • Ask your real estate agent what the recommended earnest money amount would be; then double or triple that deposit amount. It’s a sure way to signal that you’re a serious and financially able home buyer. This tactic has the advantage that it doesn’t really cost you anything in the long run, assuming you hold up your end of the contract. It is a way to stand out from other home buyers without actually spending more.
  • Include an escalation clause in your offer. An escalation clause allows you to telegraph to the seller that you’re willing to pay a certain amount more than any other bona fide offer, up to a disclosed maximum. In order to exercise your escalation clause, the seller would have to provide evidence of the other offer.
  • In a buyer’s market, it’s almost expected to ask for add-ons like fixing a staircase or leaving the swing set. But in a seller’s market, you can beat the competition by not asking for extras beyond what is offered in the listing. Home sellers may be fully occupied with many outside details (like looking for their own next home!) and often assign high value to an offer that looks uncomplicated.
  • Along the same lines, another way to set yourself apart from every other home buyer is to offer to give the seller more than the usual time to move out of their house. Many other bidders won’t think of this — but it can make the deal if the sellers are having to cope with difficult deadlines for their own move.
  • If you will be making a large down payment (say, more than 20% of the sales price),  consider eliminating your appraisal contingency.
  • Ordinarily, in many markets, the seller includes the buyer broker’s fee and is included in the seller’s charges that are deducted from his or her proceeds. Consider offering to pay your buyer broker’s fee yourself.
  • If you simply can’t forego a home inspection, consider conducting an inspection prior to writing an offer (if there’s time, and it’s feasible). That way, you can eliminate a home-inspection contingency while also eliminating the risk of discovering a hidden defect after closing.
  • Reduce the time frames of any contingencies in your offer. For instance, instead of a 10-day home-inspection contingency, reduce that down to, say, a 3-business day contingency period.

Above all, don’t let yourself get discouraged. The right house is out there, and you will get an offer accepted! Particularly in a seller’s market, any home buyer will be rewarded by just remaining patient and cool-headed. First step if you will be looking to buy this summer: call me today to get started!

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Kevin Reid Shirley is an associate real estate broker licensed in Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virginia. You may reach him at 202-320-6634 or kevin@RealAstute.com.

Rental Property: An Investment Idea Worth Pondering?

By Kevin Reid Shirley

When any investor first begins to mull over the idea of acquiring a rental property, it’s usually in competition with an array of other investment types — each with its inherent plusses and minuses. Some of them are new ideas (new technology company stocks; new forms of commercial exchange) — but real estate is definitely not one of those. It may not be innovative, but being a landlord has always been one of the leading sources of passive income.  

What is exciting about rental property is why it has always been recognized as a sound investment. When the income from a rental property is able to pay for its own underlying mortgage, it self-propels its growing equity. The rental property’s investment value grows as the loan is paid down month by month, year after year. Added to that is any appreciation in its market value.

And with the best rental-property scenario, when rental income exceeds mortgage and other expenses, it will even throw off an extra income stream. Needless to say, choosing the right rental property is worth the effort! Much of that effort involves making a serious effort to map out and project values, income and expense:

  • Neighborhood: Consider how the overall desirability of the neighborhood is likely to affect its appeal to tenants. Are there attractive amenities like parks, shopping and entertainment venues? What do the local classified ads reveal — is the area’s vacancy rate high or low? How do rental prices compare with adjacent neighborhoods?
  • Project Ancillary Expenses: Determine the historical property tax rates, and what future rate changes are being proposed. Likewise, investigate insurance costs and roll both expenses into your total monthly expense projections. You want to be sure that they are low enough that you can still make a profit from the rental.
  • Local Dish: Expert advice from Investopedia is for prospective landlords to speak with renters as well as homeowners in the neighborhood. It’s a good point: “Renters will be far more honest about the negative aspects of the area because they have no investment in it.”
  • Schools: Rental homes featuring two or more bedrooms will attract families — and that means they will likely have children in school. If a school is nearby the home, it’s likely to be that much more popular with family tenants.
  • Crime: Crime-prone neighborhoods can have higher turnover and longer vacancy rates, so a bargain purchase price may be less of a bargain than you’d hope.
  • Commute: Is the property a long commute from the commercial center of town, or a quick drive? Is there public transportation? Many prospective tenants begin their housing search with their workplace as the center point. Renters will consider this before signing a lease — and you should before signing your offer!

If you are thinking of looking at rental property this summer, they’re definitely out there. Call me today to discuss some of the many opportunities!

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Kevin Reid Shirley is an associate real estate broker licensed in Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virginia. You may reach him at 202-320-6634 or kevin@RealAstute.com.

Buying a Home with No Disclosures: Caution Rules

By Kevin Reid Shirley

Suppose that in the course of buying a home, your eye is drawn to a bank-owned home, or a home held in a trust. There are many reasons why you could find yourself buying a home that’s currently vacant — which can also mean that the usual owner disclosures are not to be had. There are perfectly innocent reasons why this situation develops. Suppose the sellers of the property have just inherited it. How would they know that water tends to pool under the house during a strong rainstorm? Or that unpermitted repairs were made to the electric wiring in the kitchen? 

If thoughts like these cause beads of sweat to pop out all over your forehead, don’t fret. This summer we can find you plenty of alternatives in the traditional housing market. But before you automatically pass on a vacant home because of unknowns in its history, you should know that, with due diligence, you can still end up with a home that is worth your money and a safe place to live!

When you consider a vacant home, the most reliable information will come after you’ve arranged an inspection. The inspector’s report will let you learn what you’re getting into before you buy — and whether it’s in safe and livable condition. Most homes that fall vacant due to circumstances like divorce or a move are well cared-for and in decent shape; others, long abandoned, are more likely to have fallen into disrepair. Without any owner disclosures, you’ll be on your own to discover potentially major issues like leaking pool equipment or pest problems.

Even after you’ve had a thorough inspection, there is still a good chance you will encounter at least some surprises. There are some elements of a home that can’t really be properly inspected — like what lies under the floorboards or behind attic walls. Since there is no former owner to sound a warning, there is always a chance that you could run into unplanned-for expenses. Truth to tell, though, this can also hold true for a traditional home if the sellers have no prior knowledge, either.

Although buying a home with no disclosures can be a great way to get a wonderful deal, it’s still a good idea to leave some extra budget for the most likely potential costs. In addition to things like insurance, unexpected repairs, and maintenance, there are other costs you might also need to cover — such as a vacancy endorsement on your insurance policy if the house will continue to stand vacant for more than 30 days after the sale.

The bottom line? If you’re considering buying a home with question marks in its history, be sure you apply some energetic diligence before signing on the dotted line. You’ll be a lot more relaxed after the fact.  

Thinking of buying a home this summer? Then it’s time to give me a call!

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Kevin Reid Shirley is an associate real estate broker licensed in Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virginia. You may reach him at 202-320-6634 or kevin@RealAstute.com.

Real Estate Marketing: Online Virtual Tours & Video

By Kevin Reid Shirley

More and more often shopping of all kinds has become a virtual affair. Instant information is at everyone’s fingertips  — nowhere truer than in real estate. No sooner has today’s buyer made the decision to start looking than — boom! — the laptop/tablet/iPhone is out and virtual tours are underway.

What’s most surprising is the key finding of the joint Google–National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) study of the growth of the web in home buying. “90% of home buyers searched online during their home buying process," was the headline highlight. That’s 9 out of 10!  

What’s surprising about that?” you might be asking yourself. The answer: those are data more than two years old! And we know online searches and virtual tours have skyrocketed since then.

To capitalize on the online home search juggernaut, real estate agencies increasingly bring video to their virtual tours. Many video formats are being used, but the even the most basic use zooms and pans that draw prospects into the picture in a way stills cannot.

First-rate virtual tours, whether they include video or not, augment the buyer’s search experience. Motion makes it feel as if you’re right there, touring the house in person.

But … the negative aspects of some virtual tours using video are, unfortunately, just as clear. Slow download time and lagging video streams can lose otherwise interested prospects. In some cases the property itself forces awkward angles that make filming complicated and viewing uncomfortable. It’s simply true that virtual tours are not a good idea for every property. They are, however, a great idea for some.

How can you tell the difference? It’s usually a question of the spaciousness of the property itself. Usually, the bigger the home, the easier it is to film a tour — and the better impression it will make on viewers. High-end REALTORS® gain from producing and sharing video virtual tours on their websites, but others get strong results by just sticking with high-quality photos. Sometimes the best impression of a small dwelling will be made by a talented still photographer. When selling your home, in a well-rounded marketing plan, the unique aspects of your property should determine the appropriate media.

If you’re looking for an agent to represent your home in its best light, you’ve come to the right place. Call me today!

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Kevin Reid Shirley is an associate real estate broker licensed in Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virginia. You may reach him at 202-320-6634 or kevin@RealAstute.com.

How Does the Assessed Value of My Home Affect Its Market Value?

By Kevin Reid Shirley

The answer to this question depends on the market. If the market is appreciating as most are now, our answer would be, “Sure!  As long as you are comfortable with selling your home for less than what it is worth and thereby leaving money on the table.”  If it is a declining market, we would say, “Sure! If you are okay with not selling your home.”

This may sound a little flippant, but in the vast majority of cases like those above, that is exactly what will happen. In order to fully understand this, we need to fully understand how your tax assessment works. Your property tax assessment is a value put on your home by your local government. This value is used, based on the tax rate, to compute how much you owe the local government in taxes. Most localities divide this tax amount into two payments broken out over the course of the year. These funds are used to pay for the services your government provides.

What most people do not know is that the assessed value of your home is typically computed every other year, and in some cases less or more often.  So how does this relate to where to price the home you are selling?

When a buyer buys your home, their lender is going to require an appraisal of your property to determine what its current value is. An appraiser will only use comparable sales from the last six month or less. This is where the condition of the local real estate market comes into play.

In an appreciating market where the values are rising, home sales will most likely sell above their assessed value. If you remember, the assessed value could be as much as two years old. If the homes have been appreciating since the last assessment, a seller who sells at the assessed value may be leaving a lot of money on the table.

Conversely, if the market is depreciating and home values are dropping, home sales will most likely sell below their assessed value. In this scenario, a home seller who prices their home based on an old assessment takes a major risk in not selling at all. Buyers will base their offers on current market conditions, not an old assessment that might be currently inflated.

When it comes time to pricing your home for sale, please take note that your tax assessment will typically run behind the current market place.  Pricing a home is truly an art.  When interviewing agents, ask how they came up with a price for your home. Using the assessed value is only one very small part of determining home value. If an agent uses it exclusively to price your home, find another agent.

If you’re looking for the right agent to help direct your sale every step of the way, I hope you’ll give me a call!

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Kevin Reid Shirley is an associate real estate broker licensed in Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virginia. You may reach him at 202-320-6634 or kevin@RealAstute.com.

How Listing Your House Can Work … the Second Time Around!

By Kevin Reid Shirley

Listing your house anew after it’s lingered on the market for a while can bring surprisingly quick success … with the right tactics. The truth is, if a home hasn’t sold in today’s market, there is usually an identifiable reason. Here are some tips that can reverse what happened when listing your house the first time failed to strike pay dirt:

  • Compare prices of comparable homes that have sold in your neighborhood, and use those as the benchmarks. If your area listing was priced to allow 10-20% for negotiating room, that’s the likely culprit. Consider listing your house at 1% to 5% below your competitors — it’s a proven way to get more feet through your entryway. The more prospective buyers who seriously consider your home, the better your chances for receiving an offer.
  • A well thought-out marketing strategy with multiple advertising channels can be a necessity in a competitive area. Discuss taking advantage of social media platforms like Facebook and YouTube with your real estate agent. Is there a way you as a homeowner can help? Consider holding mid-week open houses in the evening hours so visitors can drop by on their way home from work. Being extra flexible and accommodating can make the difference in getting qualified buyers through the door.
  • If you are listing your house for a second time, you will want to make any deferred repair and cosmetic décor change you may have put off the first time ‘round. The vast majority of today’s homebuyers are looking for a home that’s 100% “move-in ready.”
  • Patience is never more critical than when negotiating a price for your home. Refuse to be put off by offers that are lower then what you were expecting. You don’t need to accept such offers — but rather than just rejecting them, consider offering incentives (such as paying the buyer’s closing costs, or a point on the mortgage) when the price difference is too great. Other ideas: offer to pick up moving expenses, or include excluded appliances in the bargain.

When a home doesn’t sell the first time around, finding details you can change to encourage a better result is the kind of positive approach that works most often. You should also be conscious of the fact that the market is constantly changing. Reduced interest rates alone may sell your home faster — just as higher rates may require adjusting your price or adding more incentives. Being informed and prepared when a prospect comes along will put you at a competitive advantage.

If you’re considering listing your house this summer and want an agent with the vision needed to get your home sold, call me today!

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Kevin Reid Shirley is an associate real estate broker licensed in Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virginia. You may reach him at 202-320-6634 or kevin@RealAstute.com.