VIDEO: When Should Home Sellers Get Municipal Inspections?

While many real estate agents have their clients wait to get required municipal inspections until they get a contract, I encourage home sellers get municipal inspections before they put their home on the market.

One reason for getting the municipal inspection up front is so you can advertise that the house has already passed the city inspection. Or maybe you want to know what you will have to fix before getting a list of repairs from the buyer under the inspection contingency.

Either way, getting the municipal inspection before hitting the MLS can help you get your house sold and minimize expensive repairs.

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One of the big advantages of getting a municipal inspection BEFORE the buyer has their inspections, is that municipal repairs can be done by the seller (or friends/family). Unless the work involves a permit, you don’t need to hire someone if you can get it fixed yourself.

You can save a lot of money by changing the outlets yourself, or hiring a handyman instead of an electrician. But if you wait until the buyer has had their inspections, the buyer will usually want specialized contractors to make the repairs.

More importantly, if your municipality is going to force you to make expensive repairs, don’t you want to get credit for them (possibly even getting a higher sale price)?

One of my former clients was getting ready to sell her home in University City MO. The municipal inspector required her to get the entire plumbing system pressure tested. She also had to get rid of some peeling paint and broken windows on her detached garage.

She wasn’t planning to do any of this before she got the city inspection. But since she was forced to do these items to sell, the house was able to be listed for a higher price rather than discounting it due to a run down garage. Plus, I included the plumbing pressure test in the advertising of the house. While we would have preferred that she didn’t have to do it, it was something that let us stand out compared to the other homes in this historic neighborhood.

If she had waited until after getting a contract to bring in the municipal inspector, the house would have been listed for less money and she would have been hit with expensive repairs AFTER she negotiated the price.

Are You Thinking About Moving?

I specialize in selling St. Louis homes regardless of whether they will be the hot listing to hit the market or if they have a challenge that makes it much harder to sell.  I also work with buyers who want to find the home of their dreams, but don’t want to overpay.

If you are thinking of buying or selling a home in the St. Louis area, give me a call at 314-265-8073 and let’s talk about your options.

When Home Buyers and Sellers Should Get Started for the Spring Real Estate Market [VIDEO TIP]

Are you wondering when you should get started if you want to buy or sell a home in the St. Louis spring market this year?

I recorded this video for Facebook and YouTube a few months ago. As I mention in the video, the real estate market is already hot and I’ve been so busy taking care of clients that I haven’t had time to post the video here on the blog until now.

But everything I talk about in this video is even more true today than when I recorded it in January!

Moving forward, I’ve got more behind the scenes help so you will start seeing more video tips shared right after I record them. Just be sure to subscribe to the Arch City Homes weekly email and the video tips will be delivered directly to your inbox.

You also should watch the video I recorded last spring as I talk about some more details that I didn’t cover this time.

Currently there 3,675 homes and condos that are under contract in St. Louis City, St. Louis County and St. Charles County.

If you are thinking of selling this year and can get your house ready quickly, waiting until spring to list your home means you miss out on buyers who want a house now.

There will be more buyers in the spring, but there are tons of buyer right now who are complaining that there aren’t enough homes to choose from. They are snatching up homes as soon as they come on the market. If you wait a few months to list your home, there will be more homes for buyers to select from and they will get more picky about what they want…taking it longer to sell your home.

Are You Thinking About Moving?

I specialize in selling St. Louis homes regardless of whether they will be the hot listing to hit the market or if they have a challenge that makes it much harder to sell.  I also work with buyers who want to find the home of their dreams, but don’t want to overpay.

If you are thinking of buying or selling a home in the St. Louis area, give me a call at 314-265-8073 and let’s talk about your options.

Real Estate Marketing Done Better

If you have every bought a home, you know that home sale marketing varies dramatically depending on the agent representing the seller.

The best marketing looks professional and shows off the home in the best possible light. On the other end of the spectrum, you may find terrible MLS photos, homes that haven’t been decluttered or cleaned, and nothing but an MLS printout sitting next to the agent sign-in sheet.

Real Estate Marketing Done Better | Karen Goodman

All of my listings get a cohesive professional marketing package. Buyers and agents who walk into my listings know that the seller hired a professional to sell their home. It makes a difference in how the home presents during showings and how your buyer treats your actions once you are under contract.

My special feature cards scattered throughout every listing don’t insult buyers by pointing out the obvious. Instead, they give buyers information they wouldn’t know just from looking around.

You might find me sharing that the flooring is Brazilian Cherry with lifetime warranty. I also like to explain why something is important rather than just naming the facts. Many of my listings have special feature cards to share things like Brand new windows will lower your energy bills or Gas fireplace means you can have a fire even if you are only home for an hour. 

If you are ready to sell your St. Louis home, the agent you choose really makes a difference.

Let's Talk

Custom Floor Plans for St. Louis Homes for Sale

Most buyers have a hard time imagining homes decorated differently or with needed updates.

If you have pink paint in your living room or out of style furniture throughout the home, most buyers won’t be able to imagine themselves living there.

But seeing how the rooms are laid out and where the steps to the 2nd floor sit is different than imagining the pink living room repainted. 

Today, almost all buyers study homes for sale online before they decide which homes to go see. My marketing targets buyers most likely to be interested in your home, showing them what want to see.  The results are more showings from the RIGHT buyers who might actually want to buy your home.

Custom floor plans are one of those things that really make a difference in getting buyers into a home for sale. Whether the house is big or small, floor plans make a difference.

 

Click on the custom floor plans below to see larger images of some of my property floor plans.

If you are ready to sell your St. Louis home, the agent you choose really makes a difference.

Let's Talk

St. Louis Real Estate Market Trends INFOGRAPHIC

Every real estate agent working in the St. Louis area will tell you that the local real estate market is hot.

Homes in popular areas that have the features buyers want and are priced right sell fast.

Many properties are selling at full listing price or even over asking price if there are multiple offers. New listings are coming on the market every day, pushing up their neighborhoods with prices never before seen.

But I like to back up anecdotal impressions with real facts. Impressions aren’t always accurate.

The St. Louis Association of Realtors started publishing snapshot infographics for the local housing market trends this year. I missed posting the report last month, so today I’m giving you both January and February 2016 housing market trends.

St. Louis Real Estate Report – January 2016:

St. Louis Real Estate Market Trends INFOGRAPHIC - Jan/Feb 2016 | Arch City Homes

St. Louis Real Estate Report – February 2016:

St. Louis Real Estate Market Trends INFOGRAPHIC - Jan/Feb 2016 | Arch City Homes

Takeaway:

The facts back up what agents in the trenches are feeling.

St. Louis home sales are strong. Homes are selling faster and sale prices are up compared to last year.

The vast majority of buyers are purchasing homes under $200,000, so there is a big opportunity if you want to sell in this price range. While there are fewer buyers for more expensive homes, there are also fewer options available for these buyers. Higher price buyers can be picky, so these homes need to be in pristine condition to make them sell fast and for top dollar.

Homes that need work or lack something buyers want still sell, but they need top notch marketing and realistic listing prices.

Hire Me to Sell Your St. Louis Home:

I specialize in selling homes regardless of whether they will be the hot listing to hit the market or if they have a challenge that makes it much harder to sell.

I have a track record of successfully selling challenging homes. I’ve sold homes in flood zones, homes without basements and homes that need a lot of updates.

In the last 3 years, I have sold 92% of the homes I was hired to sell. Not a single client fired me and then hired an agent who was able to get the house sold. Compare that to only 75% of the listed homes selling in the overall market, and you have a much better chance of success if you hire me. Especially with a challenging home.

If you are thinking of selling a home, give me a call at 314-265-8073 and let’s talk about your options.

Hard to Sell Homes: Getting Them SOLD

Any agent can sell the beautiful home that is priced right.

I’m not suggesting that having an agent isn’t important for beautiful homes. There is a lot more to selling a home than just finding the buyer.

A top notch real estate agent will help you:

  • set the right price
  • present the home so it looks as good as possible
  • negotiate a contract that takes into consideration all of the terms, not just the price
  • deal with situations that arise related to the loan approval, appraisal, survey and title
  • understand what are repairs you really should do, and which repairs it’s ok to say no when the buyer asks

Plus a dozen other things that come up between listing a home and when the deal closes.

Hard to Sell Homes: Getting Them SOLD | Arch City Homes

Hard to Sell Homes:

It is even more important to choose the right agent if your home has a challenge that will turn off a lot of buyers.

In a market where about 25% of all homes that are listed FAIL to sell at all, there isn’t a guarantee that putting your home on the market means you will sell it.

4 Things that Keep Homes from Selling:

When a home is listed but fails to sell, usually at least one of these 4 things is to blame.

  1. Pricing the house too high – buyers look at a lot of homes and quickly get a sense of what homes are worth. They also have agents who will confirm that a home is priced appropriately before they make an offer by looking at nearby homes that sold in the last year. If a home is priced much more than 10% from what the buyer thinks it is worth, they will rarely make an offer.
  2. Poor presentation – sellers need to remember that living in a house and selling a house aren’t the same thing. When your house is on the market, every time you walk out the door the dishes need to be done, beds should be made and everything should be clean. Dog poo in the yard should be picked up and the litter box needs to smell clean. Furniture often needs to be rearranged and excess belongings need to be packed away. And don’t forget to set the thermostat at a comfortable temperature. You want people to dawdle, not rush out because it is more frigid inside than it is outside.
  3. Access isn’t easy – whenever possible, sellers need to let buyers come see the house when they want to see it. Saying no to a showing might mean they never see it at all. Or if they do come back, they immediately think that the seller will be inflexible during negotiations. The worst thing, however, is when sellers are home during the showing. Buyers will not feel comfortable when sellers are home (even if they go sit outside). They won’t spend the time talking about where they would put grandma’s hutch or the wall they want to take down. If they don’t have those conversations while standing in the house, they won’t buy it.
  4. Deal breakers – many homes have something about them that will eliminate the majority of buyers. It might be the outdated kitchen, wallpaper, a lot that isn’t very usable or backs to a busy street. When a home has a deal breaker for a large percentage of buyers, it’s even more important that the house is priced to reflect that challenge, has great presentation and easy access.

What About Marketing?

While I’m a big believer that quality marketing is very important, we see homes with terrible photos sell all of the time. If the house is great and it is priced right, it will sell.

However, it might not sell as fast, and that almost always means a lower sale price. In a hot seller’s market with limited inventory, the best homes that have great marketing often have multiple offers which drive up the sale price. Poor marketing means that buyers will trickle in one at a time and it’s unlikely a bidding war will occur.

The agent who doesn’t put an emphasis on marketing also is more likely to run into the other problems I mentioned earlier. They are less likely to be problem solvers who look for ways to deal with the challenges that come up in a contract…which can often lead to a deal falling apart.

Feedback is Critical with Hard to Sell Homes:

While there are homes that sell as soon as they hit the market, most do not.

The feedback provided by buyers who have seen the home but opted NOT to make an offer is critical in understanding if changes need to be made.

When the majority of buyers seeing the house say the house is overpriced or say it just is average, it’s time to talk about a price drop. When 10 people come through the home and give it a 3 star rating, the odds are you probably won’t find someone who thinks it’s a 5 star and will make an offer.

But feedback is more than just finding out if buyers think the house is overpriced. It’s important to know what they like and what they don’t. If they don’t like the size of the kitchen, there isn’t anything you can do to change that. But if they don’t like the red jacuzzi tub, you can have it painted.

 

Hard to Sell Homes: Getting Them SOLD | Arch City Homes

As soon as this tub was refinished in a neutral off-white, all objections about the bathroom stopped and we had an offer quickly.   Hard to Sell Homes: Getting Them SOLD | Arch City Homes

I also want to know if the buyers are local or relocating. Relocating buyers aren’t usually prepared to take on updating. They don’t know any local contractors and they have enough on their plate just finding softball leagues for the kids and finding new friends.

I want to know if my listing is at the top, middle or bottom of their price range. Buyers rarely buy something at the bottom of their price range. They do buy homes at the top of their price range, but only when the house is so much better than what they could get if they spent a little less.

Knowing more about the buyer helps you decide how much weight to place on the feedback. If I know that the buyer is relocating and I’m selling a home that needs a lot of work, I’m less concerned with negative feedback than if that buyer was local.

What Questions Do I Ask Buyers Who See My Listings?

Most agents use default feedback forms with questions that don’t drill down to the information needed to use the feedback constructively.

I have created a custom feedback questionnaire which gives me the information I need so I can understand who is seeing my listings and if changes need to be made in the price or home presentation. While every buyer agent doesn’t answer every question, patterns in the responses can tell us a lot.

Here is the feedback on one of my current listings:

Hard to Sell Homes: Getting Them SOLD | Arch City HomesHard to Sell Homes: Getting Them SOLD | Arch City Homes Hard to Sell Homes: Getting Them SOLD | Arch City Homes Hard to Sell Homes: Getting Them SOLD | Arch City Homes Hard to Sell Homes: Getting Them SOLD | Arch City Homes Hard to Sell Homes: Getting Them SOLD | Arch City Homes

I also ask open ended questions:

  • What would you consider the home’s best features?
  • What would you consider the home’s features that need the most improvement?
  • What do you think the home will sell for?

Hire Me to Sell Your St. Louis Home:

I specialize in selling homes regardless of whether they will be the hot listing to hit the market or if they have a challenge that makes it much harder to sell.

I have a track record of successfully selling challenging homes. I’ve sold homes in flood zones, homes without basements and homes that need a lot of updates. 

In the last 3 years, I have sold 92% of the homes I was hired to sell. Not a single client fired me and then hired an agent who was able to get the house sold. Compare that to only 75% of the listed homes selling in the overall market, and you have a much better chance of success if you hire me. Especially with a challenging home.

If you are thinking of selling a home, give me a call at 314-265-8073 and let’s talk about your options.